Finding Opportunity in Apple iPad Connectivity Problems

By Ericka Chickowski  |  Print this article Print

WiFi problems marred the release of Apple's iPad tablet computer for some users when the device was first released. But for IT solution providers the problems showcased an opportunity. Solution providers who can help high-value users fix their connectivity problems will not only gain knowledge of the devices that are sure to eventually infiltrate the enterprise, but they will also impress those users with their Apple expertise.

As anecdotal evidence of Apple iPad WiFi connectivity issues continues to mount, experts within the reseller channel believe that partners who make the effort to learn about workarounds stand to gain. The homework they do now will add to their iPad expertise which will lead to greater opportunities down the line when the iPad gains more traction in the enterprise.

Apple's early success with iPad – the company says it has sold one million units already -- has been clouded by reports within Apple forums and online technology communities of iPad users experiencing connectivity issues. Apple has acknowledged the issues, claiming that the trouble occurs with third-party (read: non-Airport) routers when the iPad tries to rejoin a WiFi network after a reboot.

According to Michael Oh, founder of the Apple-centric reseller Tech Superpowers, even though the iPad's penetration into the typical business network is still miniscule, channel partners can help customers and their high-value, iPad-toting executives by finding workarounds until Apple offers more concrete fixes.

"I think the way channel partners can help to address is to use their networking expertise to get to the root of the issue," Oh says.

"The most popular explanation for the problem backed up by various research organizations is that the iPad as well as the iPhone doesn't handle DHCP leases as network standard devices should," he says. "There are workarounds that can happen in the firewall level, there are things that you can do to avoid the problem, but ultimately it's going to be up to Apple to research the issue, admit that there's a problem and create a firmware fix for it."

Even though Apple currently blames third-party routers for the issues, Oh believes the company will endeavor to fix the issue in order to keep the business community optimistic that the iPad is a viable enterprise tool.

"The way I look at it is that Apple's not stupid," Oh says. "They realize in order for this to be popular with the enterprise -- even if it is a fringe issue and it’s only affecting various small percentage of users -- from a perception standpoint they have to resolve the issue."

And Oh is among many that do have faith that the iPad will eventually make its way into the enterprise. In many ways, the iPhone stands as a testament to how the cool factor Apple develops into its devices eventually washes away the resistance enterprise IT initially puts up against them.

"I think that the introduction is going to look and feel from a corporate standpoint very similar to what happened with the iPhone," says Andrew Rubin, CEO of Cymtec Systems, an IT security vendor.