If you’ve ever spent time reading through release notes for software updates, then you know they can sometimes be vague and wonder if updating will really benefit you. When reading through the recently released iOS 8.3 update notes, one line item especially caught our eye, “Addresses an issue where some devices disconnect intermittently from Wi-Fi networks.”
Part of the iOS Support Team’s testing of iOS 8.3 was to challenge this known Wi-Fi issue as we have encountered it in schools across the district—iPads spuriously dropping off the network or the Wi-Fi speed reducing to a crawl. It appears the issue was a software bug in the iOS and how it communicates with wireless access points (WAPs).
Most WAPs, including the ones in our schools, have two radios. One radio broadcasts at 5GHz—this is the “fast lane”—and the other radio broadcasts at 2.4GHz—this is a “slower lane”. What was happening with the iPads, before this update, was that they were only choosing the fast lane and overwhelming the WAPs with the number of connected devices. Normally, if a device cannot connect to the WAP’s first radio (the fast lane), it would move over to the other radio (the slower lane). The iPads would not move over to the slower lane, causing them to either completely disconnect from the WAP, dropping off the network, or search for and attempt to connect to another WAP—even if it was almost out-of-range.
The iOS 8.3 update has resolved this “network lane switching” issue and iPads will move over to a WAP’s 2.4GHz radio thus alleviating traffic and reducing devices disconnecting intermittently from the Wi-Fi network!
So the big question, should I update? Short answer is maybe. This update would be immediately beneficial for schools with either a high density ratio of devices to WAPs or devices being used in wide open areas.
NOTE: This update can not fix any structural issues like bricks and concrete that affect Wi-Fi connectivity.
The two wild cards we have to consider are additional iOS updates from Apple and testing windows.
Apple is releasing new products next week which will probably prompt an increase in the frequency of iOS updates that ITS would have to test. PARCC testing starts back up again at the end of the month and NWEA is right around the corner. If you lift the Apple Block to update the iPads on a day while your school is testing, the school could experience Wi-Fi issues—disrupting testing.
Please consider scheduling any iPad iOS updating for a time that works best for your school’s environment and don’t forget to put in a ticket, 24 hours in advance, to have the Apple Block lifted during the update day.
If you have any specific questions about updating the iPad iOS, please feel free to send them to iPads@cps.edu
Written by Samantha Miller, iOS Device Management Administrator - Team Lead
Often when a major iOS upgrade is released we rush, filled with excitement, to install it on our devices—instantly our iPads feel new again! There is a thrill that comes with trying out the new features or app additions designed to improve and deepen our user experience. But, should we be so quick to upgrade? Is there any potential downside or issues that could arise with immediately upgrading to a new iOS? The answer is: it depends.
An important question to consider is, will all of my mission critical apps—the ones I rely on and use on a daily basis—still function and perform as expected after this upgrade?
iOS is the foundation that enables a iPad to manage and run all apps that reside on it.
For an app, upgrading to a new iOS can be like relocating to a new office. We expect that necessary work items will still exist, but the location of these items and the layout of the building could be very different. A bit of reorienting might be necessary.
After an iOS upgrade, an app could experience problems functioning in the new iOS environment— and might need to reorient. The developer of the app would need to release an update addressing these problems or "bugs" as they are commonly called. This is nothing new to developer community; often developers of very popular apps need to release an update within days of a new iOS upgrade being made available to "confirm compatibility" (ensure that they continue to functioning optimally). Not all apps are updated immediately following an iOS upgrade; and at times, some of these "un-updated" apps can experience unexpected behavior. If apps that you use regularly have yet to receive a developer update "confirming compatibility" with iOS 8, consider upgrading only one iPad to iOS 8 to and then verify if the "un-updated" apps still function as expected.
The below PDF guide provides a quick "how-to" on verifying whether apps are "confirmed compatible" with iOS 8. Please consider taking a few moments to verify that your mission critical apps will continue to function as expected prior to upgrading the iPads.
NOTE: Any websites that have been saved to the home screen as a "web clip" should not be affected by an
iOS 8 upgrade.
Written by Gerald Proctor, iOS Device Management Administrator
Written by Gerald Proctor, iOS Device Management Administrator
Apple has announced that iOS 8 will be launching on Wednesday, September 17, available for iPad 2s and above. ITS are very excited for this highly anticipated release and we know you are too!
In light of this announcement, the Apple firewall blocks will remain in effect 24 hours a day, 8 a.m. Tuesday, September 16 through 4 p.m. Wednesday, October 1 while ITS performs critical testing to ensure that no CPS systems will be compromised due to this upgrade.
No tickets or requests to lift the Apple blocks will be granted by the Network Operations team during the above window.
The following actions should not be attempted and will not be will not supported during the testing window:
Once ITS has verified the new software, we will make the iOS 8 upgrade files available for download on the Compliance site, comp.cps.edu.
We appreciate your patience while these files are prepared. After 4 p.m. Wednesday, October 1 the Apple firewall blocks will return to normal schedule: Monday - Friday, 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Please forward any questions regarding the iOS 8 update to firstname.lastname@example.org. For all technical issues, please call the IT Service Desk at (773) 553-3925, option 9.