Several universities in the USA and the country of Israel have banned iPad use within their borders. While reasons are varied and have changed over time, all have centered around the iPad Wi-Fi implementation. As reported by MacRumors, Princeton University came out with the reasoning for their iPad ban. While the items sited are completely transparent to the end user, they could be a headache for any large scale IT department.
The problem arises with the way the iPad interacts with DHCP. The Dynamic Host Configuration Protocol (DHCP) is the primary mechanism most large scale enterprises and IT infrastructures keep some semblance of order in their networks. Instead of each device being assigned a static IP address, DHCP provides a mechanism where a device that enters the network leases an IP address for a preconfigured length of time. When the lease is up, the device either renews the lease if it is still in the network or the lease expires if its no longer present. IP addresses associated with expired leases are recycled and leased to new devices entering the network.
The issue with the iPad is it allows the DHCP lease to expire even when it continues to communicate on the network. The DHCP controller believes the iPad has left the network and recycles the IP address. Since the IP address the iPad has is still valid it can continue to operate on the network. The problem arises when a new device comes along and leases the IP address. Then you have two devices on the same network with the same IP address and that can cause a lot of issues for a network administrator. IP address conflicts can be a nightmare to solve. According to the report, Princeton has developed a workaround for the issue and is working with Apple to provide a solution for all iPad owners.
Apple often has problems with first generation hardware; in fact, they’re famous for it. One of the many points I heard in the buy / don’t buy debate leading up to the iPad debut was that people didn’t want to be Apple’s guinea pigs. Like it or not, there is a grain of truth in this position. There are usually issues with first generation Apple devices that aren’t found until they get out in public. Early adopters usually have a high tolerance for this type of behavior. The average person who may have some knowledge of Apple products and history may have been dissuaded from buying an iPad for this very reason. While not exactly proving the naysayers right, it is a valid point and issues like those found at Princeton are proof of it.
Was your knowledge of Apple’s history with first generation products enough to put you off being an early iPad adopter? Will you buy a second or third generation iPad once all the kinks have been worked out? Did you have a high enough tolerance for these issues to be an early adopter? Leave us a comment and let us know.