If you don’t have the budget necessary to buy an iPad with 3G capabilities, it doesn’t mean you need to say goodbye to data connections until you can afford to trade your Wi-Fi only iPad for a 3G version. That’s because inquisitive minds have made it their business to discover a method that you can apply in order to turn a Wi-Fi iPad into a 3G iPad.
The solution that will help you take care of the conversion process is a device known as the Novatel MiFi. This portable wireless router is capable of receiving 3G signal and broadcasting it as Wi-Fi signal. Taking care of the setup is not difficult at all. After you power on the MiFi box, the Wi-Fi iPad you own will automatically recognize the signal and will list it along with the other Wi-Fi signals it detects in the area in the Network Settings submenu. After you select as source of signal the MiFi connection you will also have to enter a password, just like in the case of any secured Wi-Fi connection. What you should also know about this wireless router is that it allows you to connect up to 5 devices in the same time and offers a range of 30 feet.
What’s also nice is that the MiFi router offers a control panel similar to those made available by a regular wireless router. In order to access that panel you will have to simply enter the MiFi’s IP address in a web browser of choice. Once you make all the settings of interest you will notice that a Wi-Fi iPad gifted with 3G capabilities via such a router is the source of some advantages that you can’t normally enjoy when using a regular 3G iPad. One of those advantages is the possibility to evade the streaming-video restrictions that many iPad 3G owners have complained about. You will be able to enjoy at any time and in perfect conditions apps like Netflix and ABC. The only downside is that the speeds ensured aren’t as fast as those you can expect from an 802.11n home Wi-Fi connection. A test performed using the Apple App Store app known as Speedtest.net has shown that while a home Wi-Fi connection like the one described can ensure download speeds of up to 14Mbps, the MiFi is limited to around 1Mbps on a network like that provided by Verizon.
What you should also consider before deciding to use this solution in order to turn your Wi-Fi iPad into a 3G iPad is the cost involved. The MiFi device you need to use costs between $100 and $150 and requires an unlimited data plan of around $60 per month.
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