Something fishy is going on.
One of the first complaints heard about the iPad was that it was failing to connect, or to maintain a connection, to wifi.
Apple acknowledged there is an issue, mainly blaming dual band routers:
My router is the older style single band Airport Extreme which I run at 802.11b/g shared mode at 2.4gHz. I cannot run it at 5gHz ‘n’ only as I then lose wifi on my 3G iPhone, which only works with ‘g’. The latest dual band AEX simultaneously broadcasts both ‘g’ at 2.4gHz and ‘n’ at 5gHz to work around this issue and provide the highest speed broadband to ‘n’ capable devices without disconnecting slower ‘g’ machines.
As I mentioned recently, seated at the same location as my desktop, where I consistently get speeds around 10-11 mb/s, the iPad delivered a very credible 4.3 mb/s and whatever that measurement means, the reality is that web surfing speed feels almost as fast as on my massive and immensely capable desktop. I have never had the iPad fail to establish a wifi connection whether at home or at any number of neighborhood locales, the latter consistently delivering far faster surfing speeds than on my iPhone. So I’m not complaining.
Still, curiosity being what it is, I have run Speetest on the iPad a few times in the past few days and the results are all over the place, as the following shows:
The oldest result above is the one featured in the link. The highest speeds seem to occur very late or very early, yet even that is not always the case if you scan the above table. Further, if I place the iPad within 5 feet of my router the speed drops to the 3,600 mb/s rate, whereas in my office, two walls and thirty feet away, it rises to anywhere from 4,000mb/s to 11,000+ mb/s. Meanwhile, the desktop machine fluctuates in a narrow range between 9,500 mb/s and 10,500 mb/s. The strangest data pair here are the readings on 4/14/10 at 20:39 and 20:40, respectively, where the download speed jumped from 6,732 mb/s to 9,676 mb/s in the space of one minute.
So clearly something funky is going on here. While I remain a happy camper, there is an issue, and I look forward to hearing more from Apple about what is going on here.