The iPad is designed to be a wireless device, so it lacks an Ethernet port for connecting directly to a router or network port. However, there are ways to get around this limitation and hook your iPad into an Ethernet network port or the back of a router.
An easy way to accomplish this is to go wireless. If your primary need is to hook your iPad into a network where there is a port available but no Wi-Fi, use a portable router and an Ethernet cable as an alternative. These pocket-sized routers can be a great solution because they don’t require a lot of other adapters to work. Simply plug in the wireless router and connect to the network. The ASUS Portable Wireless Router is about the size of a credit card and can turn a network port into a Wi-Fi hotspot. The ZyXEL Pocket Travel Router is also designed to be ultra-portable.
These routers have a quick installation process that starts with finding the router in the Wi-Fi settings of your iPad. Once connected, you go through a setup process that allows you to create a secure connection.
Use Lightning Connectors for Wired Access
If you must go wired, use the Lightning-to-USB-3 adapter. Apple refers to this adapter as the Camera Connection Kit, but it can connect any compatible USB device to the iPad. This adapter supports wired keyboards, MIDI devices, and USB-to-Ethernet cables.
There are two significant differences between the newer Lightning-to-USB-3 adapter and the old Camera Connection Kit. First, the newer adapter uses USB-3, which allows for much faster transfer speeds. Also, the adapter includes a Lightning port for the purpose of plugging into an electrical outlet to charge the iPad while you use the adapter and deliver power as needed.
Ethernet Cables Require Power to Work
This solution works best with Apple’s USB-to-Ethernet Adapter with model number MC704LL/A. You may experience problems using adapters from other vendors, although you may be able to use a workaround to get other cables to work properly.
Connect the Lightning-to-USB-3 adapter -to your iPad. Plug the adapter into a wall outlet using the Lightning Outlet Adapter that came with your iPad. After you have power, hook the USB-to-Ethernet adapter to the USB-3 adapter and then connect it to the network using an Ethernet cable.
How to Connect to Ethernet Using a Powered USB Hub
As for a workaround, the main problem getting the iPad hooked into Ethernet is the need for power. The iPad does not supply power if it is running on battery power, so the Lightning-to-USB-3 adapter solves that problem. If you have the old Lightning-to-USB adapter or your USB-to-Ethernet adapter doesn’t work well with the Camera Connection Kit, you need a powered USB hub in addition to the USB Camera Connection Kit and the USB to Ethernet adapter. These materials may end up costing more than buying a travel-sized Wi-Fi router.
WARNING: This workaround can be a little wonky. If everything is hooked up in the right order, it should work, but because this process involves doing something the iPad wasn’t designed to do, it isn’t guaranteed to work.
After you obtain all the requisite hardware, connecting your iPad is relatively simple. Before you start, turn off Wi-Fi for good measure and plug the USB hub into a wall outlet. The process does not work without the hub supplying power.
Hook the Lightning-to-USB connection kit to the iPad. (If you have an older iPad with the 30-pin connector, you need the 30-pin USB adapter.) Next, connect the iPad to the USB port using a USB cable. Attach a USB-to-Ethernet adapter to the USB Port, and then connect the Ethernet adapter to a router or network port using an Ethernet cable.
If you experience any problems, try restarting the iPad and going through the steps again.