iPad network issues scare off schools

IP address 'bug' makes the iPad a bad network citizen

While Israel has grabbed many headlines for its wi-fi-related iPad import ban, several US universities are also approaching the iPad with caution.

Universities are known for taking much more of an anything-goes approach to IT than corporations, all in the name of academic freedom, but some schools are concerned about the impact the iPad could have on network performance. Though none are indicating any sort of ban will be permanent: it's clear from the fact that Apple said it sold 500,000 iPads in the US during the device's first week on the market that the iPad is going to make its way onto all sorts of networks.

Princeton University, for instance, has issued an alert: "Network monitoring has shown that many iPad devices are causing a problem on the campus network. These devices are continuing to use an IP address they have been leased well beyond the time they should. (In technical terms, the device's DHCP client software stops renewing its lease, but the device keeps using the IP address after the DHCP lease expires. This is not a wi-fi issue.) This behaviour causes a disruption on the campus network."

Princeton has logged this behaviour from half of the iPads connected to the campus network and believes thit is caused by a bug within the iPad operating system. Princeton network administrators and Apple are working together to resolve the issue, the alert says.

"Until a fix is provided by Apple, [IT] recommends not connecting your iPad device to the campus network as it is likely it will malfunction. iPad devices that malfunction in this manner while connected to the campus network may need to be blocked to maintain the stability and reliability of campus network services."

The Wall Street Journal has also reported that Cornell University has seen network and connectivity issues with the iPad and is seeking to head off the sort of bandwidth hogging issues it saw when the iPhone arrived on campus. George Washington University cited incompatibilities between the iPad and the school's security system.

There's also been some discussion about iPad network issues on an EDUCAUSE mailing list for wireless network administrators at academic institutions.

Meanwhile, other schools, such as Seton Hill in Pennsylvania, recently said it is issuing next fall's freshmen iPads and MacBooks.

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