I've just experimented with three 3G-less iPads and they all were much faster than this one iPad 3G that just never goes through my 128mb download, all over the same wifi. They're also all 16gb, if that matters.

Then I went on to find if this had something to do with the iPad models and the only thing I could find is more people curious about it, but no conclusive evidence or reasoning.

So I came up with this simple testing procedure, which I hope people can replicate. This is not meant to be a complete benchmark - just some data points to analyze:

  1. Get 2 iPads of same model, one with 3G the other without it.

    Then, proceed with the following steps in both of them:

  2. In each one, go to Settings > General > Reset > Reset Network Settings

  3. Connect to the same, good wifi.
  4. Download something big from a LAN server. Measure how long it takes.
  5. Optional to (4): On apple store, download Speedtest X and use it 6 times.
  6. Share results.

Here are mine, in Mb/s. Again, this is a wifi simplistic test on different iPad models:

  • no 3G: down 6.39, 9.70, 1.45, 7.24, 11.59, 13.77 - up 0.68, 0.53, 0.52, 0.52, 0.52, 0.68
  • w/ 3G: down 1.01, 2.17, 11.45, 11.47, 4.77, 0.43 up 0.68, 0.75, 0.67, 0.67, 0.15, 0.15

No mistake there, my down stream is pretty unstable, but I think this still shows my 3G is a lot worst, given it would probably keep consistently lower if I kept testing, because that's how it's been feeling like. I was even surprised I got 2 high peaks on the 3G iPad, because generally my experience with it today rely exclusively on the other results - vastly inferior.

So, the question here still is: is there any rationale for the iPad 3G to be so much slower on wifi? Or maybe is it my device that's defective?

edit: I'll be adding my results with step 4 as soon as I can do it. It is a new idea from Gerry.

  • Interesting. Never noticed this before. – duci9y Dec 13 '12 at 17:48
  • 2
    The variations in your tests for the downstream speed with the same device are just too big to draw any conclusions comparing the two devices and to me it doesn't show the 3G one is significantly slower at all... It's also unlikely your Wifi's bandwidth is the bottleneck over your ISP connection. Maybe try running an internal webserver and download a large file from there? – Gerry Dec 13 '12 at 18:04
  • I'll add you probably should create a stable test environment which results in comparable results for the same device, before you can go benchmark two different devices. – Gerry Dec 13 '12 at 18:13
  • @Gerry I'll edit my question to reflect your input, but I never meant to imply I'm drawing conclusion from my test. It's the other way around. I've been having problem with it and did a brief test that does point in the same direction. Great idea on the internal webserver, tho! Will do. – cregox Dec 13 '12 at 18:47
  • What version of the iPad are you referring to? I will assume you're not looking at the latest one since it now has LTE/4G. The iPad 4 does have a faster wifi subsystem than the previous models. – TomUnderhill Dec 14 '12 at 1:38

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