While it may be an exaggeration to state that an iPad without WIFI is nothing more than a stylish paperweight, it is true that the utility of the device is drastically reduced without wireless access to the net. The same is true for WIFI dependent laptops, other tablets and smart phones. While I use a mobile hotspot (Virgin Mobile MIFI Card) or my Verizon iPhone Hot Spot for access on my WIFI only iPad, I have found that in many locations, the WIFI signals are inadequate to support video and sometimes even audio. In other words, I often need a more robust WIFI signal that my mobile wifi hotspots can provide.
When I give legal technology presentations or am using wireless devices in court proceedings, my preference is to have hardwired internet connection (coupled with my own router) to ensure “snap and pop” in my wireless presentations. When that is not possible, I test the WIFI signal at the venue before the event. If the signal is weak, I often use a WIFI range extender to ensure that the signal is adequate for the presentation at hand. These extender devices are inexpensive and easy to set up. I use a NETGEAR extender (WN20000RPT) that currently retails for approximately $70.00. It was easy to set up and has extended the range of my router by approximately 50%.
The extender is placed approximately ½ of the distance between the router and the receiving device. Keep in mind that the extender will only “extend” the quality of signal that it receives. Thus, it is typically necessary to arrange with the clerk of court or venue manager (or domestic partner in the case of home use) to install the extender at the appropriate half-way point between the router and the area you expect to use the wireless device. These devices are generally equipped with security features that make them as secure as your main router.
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