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iPad in Academic Institutes – II

April 19, 2010

Message to iPad enthusiasts – step back a bit, there is some discouraging news from college campuses. Today WSJ reported on iPad struggles at some College campuses. This is in addition to the news of Israel continuing the iPad ban.

The tablet, lauded by many as the next wave in education technology, is having difficulty being accepted at George Washington University and Princeton University because of network stability issues. Cornell University also says it is seeing connectivity problems with the device and is concerned about bandwidth overload.

All these high profile schools are working with Apple to resolve the problem. However, GW has said “it could take until next spring before the iPad operating system is fully supported on its network”. The problem doesn’t seem to deter certain other schools in fully opening their networks for the device. Few schools are even endorsing the device – Abilene Christian (see my earlier post), Seton Hill, and George Fox Universities (nevermind if the names are not immediately recognizable) are the earliest ones, offering a choice of iPads to freshmen students. As with anything at these institutes the cost is being passed to the students, almost $800 for the device including network support.

For now the important questions to look into, as pointed out by ZDNet, are :

Did Apple rush this product out too fast without testing it enough? Or do the universities need to step up their Wi-Fi networks to handle growing traffic?

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2 Comments leave one →
  1. Wonder permalink
    April 29, 2010 9:39 am

    Two comments here, there is a problem with the Wifi driver on the iPad. It does drop connection from time to time, and I am sure they will handle it in an update very soon. It is the only technical glitch I have found so far BTW.

    Second, asking if “Did Apple rush this product out too fast” in the context of the institutions not being able to handle the network load is analogous to saying that the Mozilla browser shouldn’t have been released when it was because the Internet wasn’t ready for it yet! Really?

    The fact that network are overloaded and usage is high is simply proof positive that the platform works and is wanted in the community. The reason AT&T’s network is dead is due to the popularity and the high usage of the iPhone. If it works, people want it and you had better be ready to scale appropriately. AT&T didn’t and continues to struggle.

  2. Aravind Akella permalink
    April 30, 2010 8:35 am

    Good point. Also Israel has now lifted the ban (http://www.reuters.com/article/idUSTRE63O0C220100425).
    Lets see how the Academic Institutes solve their network problems, I will keep an eye on developments in this area.

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