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iPad 3G cellular vs. wi-fi -- which takes precedence if both are active?
April 5, 2011 9:02 AM   Subscribe

iPad 3G cellular vs. wi-fi -- which takes precedence if both are active? If I have 3G cellular turned on, while sitting at home with my home wireless, does it use the faster home wireless? Or does the 3G just clobber everything and gleefully rack up data charges? I've been turning it on and off as needed, but that's just annoying, so I'd like to get the question settled once and for all.
posted by Cool Papa Bell to Computers & Internet (7 answers total)
 
I've had a 3G iPad for nearly a year. It switches to, and uses, my home Wi-Fi automatically. It uses Wi-Fi preferentially. In fact, if my ISP is down and I can't connect to the Interwebs via Wi-Fi, I have to turn Wi-Fi off in order to connect via 3G.
posted by mcwetboy at 9:07 AM on April 5, 2011


It uses the Wi-Fi
http://manuals.info.apple.com/en_US/iPhone_iOS4_User_Guide.pdf

"How iPhone Connects to the Internet
iPhone connects to the Internet using either a Wi-Fi network or a cellular data network. iPhone does the following, in order, until connected:
Connects over the last Wi-Fi network you used that’s available.
If no previously used Wi-Fi networks are available, iPhone shows a list of Wi-Fi networks in range. Tap a network and, if necessary, enter the password to join. Networks that require a password show the lock icon next to them. You can prevent iPhone from automatically showing available networks. See “Wi-Fi” on page 192.
If no Wi-Fi networks are available or you choose not to join any, iPhone connects to the Internet over a cellular data network ( , , or ). You can prevent iPhone from using cellular data in Settings. See “Network” on page 196.
If no Wi-Fi networks are available and a cellular data network isn’t available, iPhone cannot connect to the Internet."
posted by Mad_Carew at 9:08 AM on April 5, 2011


With default settings it will prefer wi-fi by default if you have that radio on, and attempt to automatically connect to any "known" networks to which you've previously connected. If no known networks are present, it will ask you whether you wish to connect to any other wi-fi access points in range.

Only after all of these fail (it can't connect to anything, or you've asked it not to do so) will it default to 3G. You can always tell by glancing at the status bar at the top of your screen. The upper-left column will read either "3G" or show the usual wi-fi symbol to indicate the type of connection.
posted by owls at 9:11 AM on April 5, 2011


The network icon at the top left tells you what kind of network it's currently using.
posted by mkultra at 9:17 AM on April 5, 2011


Got it, thanks. I was confused in that it shows both the 3G and Wi-Fi symbols when both are active, but now I know which is preferred.
posted by Cool Papa Bell at 9:28 AM on April 5, 2011


I mean, it shows both "AT&T" and the wi-fi symbol.
posted by Cool Papa Bell at 9:28 AM on April 5, 2011


The AT&T should be persistent, but the 3G/WiFi symbols should be exclusive.
posted by mkultra at 10:12 AM on April 5, 2011


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