Thursday, August 4, 2011

Apple IPad wireless connection problem at WIFI hotspots and hotels

IPad has problems connecting to WIFI hotspots that throw an authentication page upon first HTTP request from the browser. Such WIFI hotspots use http page redirection in-order to read login credentials from the user. On IPad, the WIFI gets connected, the IP-address is leased, but the browser does not allow surfing, neither does IPad show the WIFI logo on the top left corner.

The problem is Apple's foolishness in doing the Internet Connectivity Test. Whenever a IPad gets connected to WIFI, it does an Internet Connectivity Test, by trying to fetch, "http://www.apple.com/library/test/suc". If the HTTP response is 404 Not Found, IPad assumes that it has been successful in reaching Internet. In case of WIFI hotspots, the http response returned is HTTP 200 OK, or HTTP 302 redirection. Upon receiving this non-404 response, IPad foolishly assumes that it is not able to reach to Internet.

Until IPad, rectifies this problem, the solution is that the WIFI router should whitelist "http://www.apple.com/library/test/suc".

Another ugly solution is to add "apple.com " in /etc/hosts file. This will take apple.com to the wifi hotspot's web-server and assuming that there is no file like "/library/test/suc" on the WIFI hotspot webserver, you will get a 404 not-found, and IPad will foolishly assume that it has got connected to internet.

PS: Just found a router called Cyberoam Netgenie which has a workaround for this problem.

Rejoice!

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