iPad 1 vs. iPad 2 – WiFi Performance Tests

Since the launch of the iPad 2 last Friday, the iOSnoops team has run several iPad 1 vs. iPad 2 tests, to see what improvements the iPad 2 offers over its predecessor. Previous tests included processor benchmark tests, graphic engine benchmark tests, memory cache tests, and this time around, we focused on WiFi performance. To keep it simple, we focused on average download speeds sustained by both first generation iPad, and iPad 2. Spoiler alert, the iPad 2 is again the clear winner. Hardware
  • iPad 1 – WiFi-only model – iOS 4.3
  • iPad 2 – WiFi-only model – iOS 4.3
  • Test 1: Indoor, iPads-routers distance: 25ft, no obstacles
  • Test 2: Indoor, iPads-routers distance: 40ft, 1 wall
  • Test 3: Indoor, iPads-routers distance: 50ft, 2 walls
  • Test 4: Indoor, iPads-routers distance: 70ft, 3 walls
Three different routers were used for this shootout (Netgear WNDR3700, D-Link DIR-655, Belkin N600), and all tests were performed using 802.11n only (both 2.4 GHz and 5.0 GHz bands were used, consecutively). Each test was performed 10 times, to minimize misreadings. Results Both iPads offered similar throughputs when tested 20 ft away from the routers, but as soon as obstacles were introduced, the levels of performance offered by the devices diverged drastically. While the iPad 2 was able to sustain good throughput, even when far from the routers, the WiFi performance of the first generation iPad degraded much more quickly.

iPad 1 vs. iPad 2 – WiFi Test 1 – 20 ft away from the router

iPad 1 vs. iPad 2 – WiFi Test 3 – 50 ft away from the router, 2 walls

Overall, the iPad 2’s WiFi performance proved to be better, when compared to its predecessor. While the performance gain is negligible at short distances, the iPad 2 shines when used far from its wireless access point. Note: Your mileage may vary, depending on your location, your house layout, the location of your router, and the amount of interference from other WiFi networks.