Expert Says iPad Wi-Fi Issues May Be Caused By Bad Power Management

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After ripping into the new iPad when it finally landed in their hands on March 16th, a sizable number of customers began to notice their tablet experiencing issues with Wi-Fi. Worse, it’s not an isolated problem with a few bad iPads: in fact, there are enough people complaining that they’ve managed to fill up a huge thread on Apple’s official support forums.

So far, Apple’s remained mum on what’s causing the issue. However, a repair expert thinks that the issue with the iPad’s Wi-Fi may be caused by bad power management to the Broadcom BCM4330 chip that handles Wi-Fi on the device. While it’s a hardware issue, though, the expert says Apple could probably fix it with a software update. 

Expert Aaron Vronko explained the issue to ComputerWorld.  The Broadcom BCM4330 chip was first introduced with the iPhone 4S, and features an array of power saving features. In order for this same chip to support the new iPad’s beautiful mew Retina display, though, Apple had to juice it up and let it draw more power from the battery. It’s this super-charge that has has caused weak Wi-Fi connections for some users, Vronko explained:

[The Broadcom BCM4330 chip] boasts a new design including several new power-saving features. Wi-Fi can be a hungry customer in mobile devices and Apple knew that the new LCD and its requisite monster truck GPU would be guzzling battery juice. They had to go aggressive on performance per milliwatt on every other component.

But it’s fixable. The solution that Apple could employ is to use adjust how much power is fed to the Wi-Fi and Bluetooth chip through a software update. As a temporary measure, Apple told customers last week to reset the network settings to factory settings to try to address the issues.

For users that have been affected and find that Apple’s temporary solution isn’t working, Apple is replacing broken units at its retail stores.