Wifi only iPad, a hit and miss in public places.

Finding a wifi hotspot is really not that difficult in Singapore. Any fast-food restaurant, mall or cafes like starbucks or coffee bean would give you access to one or more of available wifi hotspot for anyone to use. Depending on whether you are a singtel or star hub or m1 user, you will definitely get to enjoy any of their wifi hotspot services. Even if access is limited, your wifi only iPad can still be used to surf in public places if you have an iPhone with a 3G connection. Simply tether the 3G network, by allowing your phone to act as a wireless modem and your iPad would be able to access the internet by tapping to that 3G network.

However my experience today doing that was less than desirable. Sitting at coffee bean cafe at ion orchard gave me very weak connections to wireless@sg network, since the cafe provides starhub connection rather than the singtel one. Being a singtel user, I only have access to the wireless@sg connection so that means the hotspot is somewhere outside the cafe, giving me subpar connection to it’s singtel network. I experienced frequent dropouts from the network.

Tethering was a hit and miss as well. For some reason, the 3G network in town is painfully slow. I have tried tethering at other locations and it seems decent when you are doing light surfing. However, in town you can pretty much forget about using 3G tethering. Whether it is because im underground or the human congestion in town as a result of overwhelming demand for 3G bandwidth in such a small area, I do not know the root cause.

While having a wifi only iPad may reduce your capability of internet surfing, nonetheless, choosing a right cafe or public space can make the experience a far more pleasant one than one might expect. Therefore for me personally, all I need to make sure is that you choose a spot where there is readily available wireless@SG network. Maybe if I want to choose a cafe to sit and relax with my iPad, I need to first test the network before settling in. As I’m writing this entry at coffee bean ion orchard, it would be nice to know next time and coffee bean may not be the best place to surf with my iPad.

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