I thought the ipad had an inbuilt wireless thiny bob, like the iphone? You should be able to connect to any open wireless networks or your home wireless. If you want to use it on the go you need an iplan thingy from a mobile phone comany like this, might be wrong though. I don't have one . I am deprived. DH wouldn't buy an x-box with kinnect and an ipad for my birthday
and in answer to second q. no because the dongle doesn't broadcast wfi, only the netbook can pick it up.
There's probably some software you can get to put on the netbook to broadcast to the ipad - but probably more trouble than it's work. YOu can get your phone too broadcast wifi from a 3g connection - but again a bit faffy.
Yes VLB > MiFi < is quite expensive by comparison,
but it is doing three jobs for you, 1 - providing a connection over the mobile network to the net (like the 20 quid dongle you bought) 2 - providing a local wireless network for up to 5 devices to use (laptops, mobiles with no credit, tablets, Kindle etc) 3 - providing the one-to many router function that links (1) with (2)
At 70 quid, the price includes 3 GB of data and unfortunately on PAYG, 1 GB may cost as much as 10 pounds, but even at 5 quid per GB, the hardware (the MiFi) is probably over 50 quid and while numbers of units may be in the tens of thousands, it is still 'fairly new' so unlike home ADSL wireless routers (which link the phone line to multiple devices and have been on the market for a number of years) the savings for 'mass production' won't come along for a few a while (as the MiFi is not going to be used in 50% of homes, at least not for at least 10 years at a guess, because of fibre and cable services... this is still a fairly new and innovative device (otherwise there would be 5 or 6 on the market to choose from)
Incidentally, despite opening the packaging, you might be able to sell your dongle on Ebay for very close to what you paid... You could try listing it for say 17.50 and have a 'buy it now' price of 20 pounds, plus postage (price level to cover sending it recorded delivery).