iPad Can’t Connect to WiFi – WEP

April 3, 2011DavidiPad2

Q: I have a first generation iPad and I cannot get it to connect to my wifi network. The iPad can see the network but I just can’t connect. How can I fix this?

A: The iPad has been known to have some WiFi problems. One of the issues you may be having is with the security settings on your router. As an aside, you should at this point not be using WEP as your protocol for wireless network security. Instead you should be uisng WPA or (even better) WPA2.

In terms of troubleshooting the wireless connection for the iPad, first turn off the security for your router (temporarily). Sometimes a security setting can be the source of the problem, but if you have a connectivity problem, then having security enabled can make the connectivity problem harder to diagnose. So first turn off the security for your router and see if you can connect.

If you can now connect then you know that the problem is likely with your security settings. Turn security back on and check that your other devices (e.g. laptop) can still connect with security now enabled. If the other devices can connect and the iPad can’t, then you’ve narrowed it down to a security settings problem on the iPad. At this point you may want to double-check your iPad settings — or consider upgrading your network to WPA or WPA2 as you may find that the iPad does better with WPA or WPA2 security.

Note that some older machines and older network devices may NOT support WPA and/or WPA2 encryption, so check these devices first before you make the move to WPA or WPA2. You can always go back from WPA/WPA2 to WEP, but you can save yourself a headache if you know ahead of time that a certain device (e.g. network card) will only support WEP

Now if you still cannot connect to the internet from your iPad once you’ve disabled security on your wireless router, check to make sure that other devices (e.g laptop) can get on the internet via this router. Clearly if other devices can get on the network but the iPad can’t, then it may be a problem with the iPad or the iPad settings. To rule out the iPad as the source of the problem, take the iPad to an area where there is free public wi-fi and test it there. If you still can’t get on to the internet, then it may be time for a trip to the Apple Store to see if there’s something awry with the iPad.

GEEK NOTE: As an obscure aside, for security purposes, some routers are configured to allow only a certain maximum number of devices to connect at once. If you have never touched this setting (or don’t know what I’m talking about) then this is most likely not the source of your problem. Similarly, if you’ve set MAC address filtering to on, you may have forgotten to add the iPad’s MAC address to the list of permitted devices.

Good luck. Let us know how it goes.

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  • Derek Williams

    I too have a new first generation iPad purchased 6 weeks ago.The wi fi connection operated first time and has been operational until 2 days ago when after a recharge it failed to work.My laptop functions OK so it would seem not to be the network albeit I am in a weak signal area.I have taken my iPad to a friends house and it works fine via his router.He has tried to get his iPad in my house without success.On a previous occaison he had no problem connecting.I have tried most if not all of the remedies suggested without success.Confused and perplexed.

    • That is a tough one especially since it works at a friends house — yet your laptop/router works at your house. Just for the heck of it I would temporarily consider disabling security on your router to see if there’s some issue there, and also to make sure you didn’t set a limit on the # of active connections. Just make sure you remember to turn security back on when you are done on the router!

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