Does the iPad Work on G or N Wi-Fi?

by Eric Fenton

The Apple iPad was one of the first tablet computers to achieve mass market success. The first iPad was introduced in 2010 and offered a form factor different from the machines available in the market at that time. Instead of using a computer operating system such as OS X or Windows, the iPad used a mobile operating system, iOS, which was originally developed for the iPhone. Wireless connectivity has always been important for the iPad, which sports a minimalistic design with few ports for cables. Instead, the iPad receives content through a Wi-Fi or mobile broadband connection.

Wi-Fi Definition

The term "Wi-Fi" is used to describe a set of wireless data transmission technologies also known as the 802.11 standard. This standard is essentially a set of rules that governs how two wireless devices can transmit data between each other, and it's marketed by an industry group called the Wi-Fi Alliance. There are many subsets of the Wi-Fi standard, which has been evolving to make data transmission faster and more reliable.

802.11 Standards

One of the first widely adopted Wi-Fi standards was 802.11b, where the "b" represents a certain generation of the standard. Wireless-B, as it was also called, transmitted data at up to 11 megabits per second. The next generation, called Wireless-G or 802.11g, supports up to 54 Mbps. Wireless-N, a more recent evolution, supports up to 450 Mbps. Also worth noting is Wireless-A, which is supported by many mobile devices including the iPad but isn't used by most network infrastructures.

Backwards Compatibility

An important component of the Wi-Fi standard is backwards compatibility, which essentially means any two Wi-Fi enabled devices can interact, even if they are from different generations, although there are some rare exceptions. The Wi-Fi standards were created so any two Wi-Fi devices operate on the maximum data rate that both devices share. For example, a Wireless-N device that supports 450 Mbps can still transmit data to and from a Wireless-G device that supports only 54 Mbps, but the maximum data rate between the devices is capped at 54 Mbps.

iPad Wi-Fi

All versions of the iPad, from the first iPad introduced in 2010 to "the new iPad," also known as the third generation iPad, introduced in 2012, support 802.11a/b/g/n. This means that they support all major versions of the Wi-Fi standard, including Wireless-A, Wireless-B, Wireless-G and Wireless-N. The iPad will interface with any A, B, G or N hardware at its maximum data rate.

About the Author

Eric Fenton has been writing for journalistic and scientific publications since 2005. He has previously written for "The Pen," where he was the opinion editor. He now works as a copy editor for the "News-Letter." He is pursuing a Bachelor of Science in biomedical engineering from Johns Hopkins University.

Photo Credits

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