Macbook, Netgear and the WEP Key


There has been a very common issue with new Macbook users and wireless internet. If the user has a Netgear router (in my case a DG834G wireless router) and uses a WEP key, when setting up a new connection they simply cannot connect to the internet as their WEP key isn’t accepted, no matter how many unsuccessful tries.

What’s amazing is that the “fix” is actually quite simple, but something almost no-one could figure out on their own. All the user needs to do, is just put a $ in front of the WEP key when they type it. No hacks, no drivers, just a simple $.


115 Responses to Macbook, Netgear and the WEP Key

  1. Phil says:

    That “trick” is applied in many routers, not just the Netgear one’s… it is a little odd isn’t it?

  2. Dimas says:

    Can anyone tell me where i can locate the WEP on my Netgear?

  3. Matt Lew says:

    Go to your browser and type in and you’ll be asked to enter a user-name & password. Then under Wireless Settings you should see it.

  4. siristar says:

    My MacBook asks for a password when I attempt to connect to NETGEAR. I have no idea what this could be and it is becoming quite frustrating. I apologize if my problem has already been answered somewhere but I could really do with a simple explanation. I’m a first time Mac user!

  5. Matt Lew says:

    Is it your router? If it is, use the steps I provided above.

  6. siristar says:

    Right, im putting my WEP into the password box with the $ infront and it still won’t connect. Which Wireless Security option should I be on?

  7. Matt Lew says:

    Tried it without the $?

  8. siristar says:

    i’ve tried it on every option with and without the $ :s

  9. Matt Lew says:

    Made sure your settings are all correct on the router? Log in and double check your wireless settings.

    If you have a Windows PC, can you use your router with that?

  10. rikske says:

    Hello, just bought a Mabook Pro and I have the same problem.
    I tried to put the $ in front of the WEP key but the Macbook don’t accept the $ character in the field were we must digit the key (hexadecimal 128 WEP key).

    Any suggestion?

  11. Matt Lew says:

    Does it have to be WEP 128 hexadecimal? If you can, try changing it and see if it works. Also, is it the same router?

  12. Ric says:

    Thanks! The $ trick worked a treat

  13. blushful says:

    hi thnx matt
    i am a new mac user and i have a netgear wireless router and it have been saying “there was an error joining the airport network” whenever i try to connect
    i tried putting the $ sign in front of the password..and still the same 😦

  14. Matt Lew says:

    What router do you have? Can you connect with other computers?

  15. Arnie says:

    I was able to get my daughter’s macbook to connect to my Dlink di-614+, but cannot browse the internet. When I look at the router’s home page, it shows that it is connected to the internet, but my macbook won’t browse. Does anyone have any suggestions?

  16. Matt Lew says:

    Hi Arnie,
    Unfortunately I have some pretty bad news. That router you mentioned has been said to not work with Macbooks. I look and found someone who posted a solution. It’s pretty advanced but here is an extract from the site.

    So finally what did the trick was upgrading the firmware of the wi-fi router. In the admin page (default is the section is reached by going to the “Tools” tab and then “Firmware”. There’s a link there to D-Link’s TechSupport and after some navigation you can download the latest firmware (Current Firmware Version: 3.44 Firmware Date: 16 Nov 2005) and flash the router.

    In Advance -> Performance I lowered the beacon interval range and that seemed to improve the wireless data rate.

    For security I’d recommend besides the WEP encryption (of course) setting in Advance -> Filter a MAC filter and in Advance -> Performance checking the “Disabled” for SSID broadcast.

  17. Felicity says:

    Adding the $ infront worked for my MacBook but now the 2 pc laptops in my house won’t connect. Any suggestions?

  18. Matt Lew says:

    Hi Felicity,
    Did you add the $ into the Macbook when you entered the WEP key or did you add it to the WEP key itself?

    If you did entered it into the WEP key itself, then you’ll need to change the key on all the laptops. If you entered it on the Macbook, I don’t think it would be the Macbook that’s affect the inability of the pc laptops to connect, as all you’re doing is simply adding another laptop to connect.

  19. Eka says:

    does anyone know how to change wep key setting in MAC? at the moment i am using netgear and key no 4 as my router wireless setting default. I need to change setting in MAC to amtch key no 4 setting.

  20. Matt Lew says:

    Hi Eka,
    To INPUT the WEP key into your Mac, you need to connect to the wireless connection and it will prompt you to type in your key. There you put it in and it should work.

    To CHANGE your key, you need to do this within your router. Open up a browser and type in and type in your username + password. Then go to wireless settings and you will see your WEP key there.

    Hope that helps. =]

  21. marco says:

    Thanks loads for the tip; it is saved me from going nuts and starting to doubt my and the laptop’s sanity. 🙂

  22. Andy says:


    Looks like you are very good with resolving all the issues that has been posted here. I have a new problem which I am not sure if anyone have encounter before.
    My have a Netgear RangeMax Router DG834PN. Currently my router setting have no security except for ‘selective access list’ turn on. When I tried to connect to the network at home with my Macbook, it ask me for WEP password (which I must remind you that I definitely have ‘none’ setup for the security. By default, it souldn’t have asked me for any password at all.

    I have tried many other options, and the only way it could work is by setting up my router as complete open access for all.

    Can you please help me …. as I do not want to leave my personal wireless access open for hackers.

  23. Matt Lew says:

    Hi Andy,

    So you definitely have “None” under “Security Options” selected? And under Selective Access you have your computer set up with the correct Mac Address added and when you go to connect it asks you for a WEP key? Is this correct?



  24. Andy says:

    Yes Matt

    Thank you for prompt response.
    I definitely have ‘none’ selected under the ‘security options’ selected. And I definitely have my correct Mac address added under Selective Access List. And yes, it ask me for WEP password as soon as I turn on the selective access list. Actually, the router will kick me off the network first and when I tried to connect through the network diagnosis, the WEP password is prompted.

    I have also tried using the WAP setting….no luck there either.

  25. Andy says:


    I have moved on from using the WEP. I am hearing that WEP is not a very good security when compare to the WPA. However, this still pose a new problem for me.
    My new setting are:
    Selective access list: None
    WPA: On

    When I tried using this, it worked once at the beginning. But now, after I typed in my WPA password, it constantly show ‘time out’. I think there is a bug with the new mac operating system. Have you find a solution on this issue.


  26. Matt Lew says:

    Hi Andy

    Try and check if Printer sharing and file sharing is switched on. If so, switch them off and try again.



  27. Andy says:


    What I do not understand is that my Powerbook work perfect… but my Macbook does not work.
    I will try the printer file sharing tonight. Apparently I think there is alot of recent macbook user experiencing the same problem.

    Will let you know how I go.


  28. Andy says:


    I have set all my file sharing (including the printer sharing) off and on. Nothing seems to work. I did, however, realised a pattern when if I change the security configuration at the router, my macbook connects automatically. but after I restart my macbook, it fails to communicate with my router again. This happens every time when I change any setting on my router.

    I am feeling that Netgear might not be a very good router for my new macbook. Has anyone had any experience with Apple router? Maybe I have to get one of those….


  29. Matt Lew says:

    Do you have the latest firmware Andy? I had to upgrade mine to the latest when I got my Macbook. Also, resetting the router doesn’t work does it?

  30. Andy says:


    I have do already installed the latest firmware. Resetting the router allows it to work, however, as I restarted my laptop, it losses connection after that.

    I am loosing confident and patient with netger.

    I must admit, I felt like I have tried everything I know. Maybe there is a creative solution out there. I will keep searching.


  31. Anonymous says:

    hi I am having exactly the same problem and cannot get it to work, same netgear router as well

  32. Anonymous says:

    I have 2 macs with leopard osx they connect after 100,s of attempts but like andy as soon as you restart the macs you have to go through it all again,if I disable the encryption they connect every time, however I have a windows xp of and that connects every time as does my iPhone but the macs won’t,updated the latest firmware also,
    any help would be really appreciated

  33. Matt Lew says:

    Hi Keith & Andy,

    This is a long shot but try and trash this file.

    /Library/Preferences/system configuration/

    This would reset your wireless preferences and you’ll be able to start fresh.

    Also, try using “Locations” instead of just automatic. Create a location with everything you don’t need switched off. Maybe that might help.



  34. keith says:

    that was a quick reply thanks
    Just to let you know I have freshly formatted the hard drive and reinstalled but it was still the same 😦
    I have been on with it for days now

  35. Andy says:


    I share your pain. I have tried my best to resolve this problem for weeks. Here is what Netgear recommandation to our (global) problem.

    “…Please make sure that the macbook is using the most recent version of the wireless drivers and software, however if other computers connect fine then this may suggest that the issue is an incompatibility with the chipsets in use …”

    Currently my netgear has found a new job …. paper weight. And it seems to be good at doing it.


  36. Justin says:

    If you guys open safari, hit network diagnostics, and then follow the steps to connect, (choose network, enter password, etc) I believe it will resolve the issue until the next time you restart or come back from sleep. An annoying workaround, but at least it works.

  37. leonard says:

    this WEP – Netgear – Macbook problem also vexed me for a few days.
    I persisted with WEP because it was already working with a PC notebook.
    thanks to the blogs out there like this one – i managed to get it working.

    with my particular combination of hardware i found the “trick” to be as follows:
    it seems that the Mac AirPort WEP settings will only “recognise” the FIRST WEP key which you have entered into the Netgear router (My Netgear allows you to enter up to 4 WEP keys).

    strange but true … good luck

  38. Matt Lew says:

    That’s interesting Leonard. I always thought it was only the first WEP key that could be used anyway. Thanks for the tip.

  39. Bryant says:

    Hi, I am currently using a 3Com (3crwe52196) router at my office and I can not connect. There is an laptop running microsoft vista that sets it to KEY Index, and it works. I tried everything including the “$” sign and it still did not work. Any help would be appreciated! thanks!

  40. Rene says:

    I have a macbook pro and airport extream. I’m trying to connect an HP photosmart c6100 but I don’t know where to find the WEP code.

  41. sunny says:

    can anybody help me i changed my wep key and then i forgot it and now i need to put the internet on wii and it asks for my wep key so what shall i do ?

  42. Matt Lew says:

    To find the WEP key, you need to type in into your WEP browser, type your user name + password and look under the wireless settings. It should be there.

  43. Kate says:

    My Mac will connect to the internet if I plug into the modem directly. Airport says it is connected to the internet (accepts my WEP key) but I cannot open any web pages (they say I am not connected). Have you ever heard of this happening? I am hitting dead ends everywhere.


  44. Shannon says:

    I’m a new MacBook user and after about 4 hours of trying to figure out why I can’t get the wireless to work, I’m ready to give up. I am using a NetGear MR814 v3 wireless router and can connect if I use the ethernet cable directly, but just cannot get the wireless to work.

    The network is found, but I continually get a can’t connect error. I have used both the assistant and diagnostics tools, but get nowhere. The router *does not* have WEP or WPA enabled, access is controlled by MAC address and my MacBook MAC address is appearing in the available list. I tried to enable WEP, but that didn’t work either. I can’t figure out if I can disable the MacBook from asking for a WEP password.

    I’ve searched and searched and followed all sorts of directions, but as I’m new to Macs, I think I’m probably just missing something. Any assistance?


  45. Matt Lew says:

    @Kate – Have you set up your router so that a MAC address needs to be added when connecting?

    @Shannon – Try changing the channel or “mode” (G or B or N) of your router and see if it connects then. Also, try removing the need for a MAC address to be entered and see if it works then. If it does, it means we’ve found the error and can work from there.

  46. Shannon says:

    Thanks for such a quick reply, Matt. I changed the channel (mode can’t be changed as far as I can tell) and removed the need for MAC address. Initially I got a connection on the MacBook, but it died quickly and I haven’t been able to get it back up. I’ve restarted the MacBook twice now, but no joy.

  47. Shannon says:

    I’m now able to stay online, but have to run network diagnostics several times at start up/wake up. Also, my router is now completely unsecure… off to do more searching

  48. Alex says:

    Hey Matt.

    Just purchased a Macbook and have been told to enter WEP code..I have tried everything but it still doesnt work. I cannot check my wirless settings because I am uncertain about my username and password. Is there anyway you could help me???


  49. Henk says:

    Cheers mate. $orted me right out.

  50. JAY says:

    Hi Guys, this had me pulling my hair out for days, put the $ in front and hey presto…absolute mustard.

    Thanks guys


  51. Monty says:

    Hey im having the same problems as mentioned above with a DG834PN and a new macbook (Access list not WEP). Even though the access list is working fine the mac will not reconnect after a shutdown/restart as the mac believes that a WEP password is needed. I can confirm that the network diagnostics will fix the problem but its not a workable solution doing it every time one powers up. Hope someone can get to the bottom of the problem, at the moment I’m just assuming I’ll have to change routers.


  52. Doug says:

    Thank you sooooooo Much. This helped out in the best way. You just saved me a desktop pc, a laptop, a modem, and a router from being chucked out the window.

  53. Microbike says:

    Thanks a bunch, no idea how you figured that out, but after an hour or 2 I was getting frustrated ’til I found this – and it fixed my Macbook Netgear connection problem instantly!

  54. GK says:

    I also heave this Netgear problem. I tried with the $ and with 0X and 0x but if I do I cannot type the whole password in… I tried to change from WEP but than I cannot add the network…
    What can I do, does anyone have an idea?
    Thanks a lot!

  55. Rick G says:

    I have purchased a Macbook and trying to connect wireless to a Netgear MR814 router. The macbook will see the router for a short period of time. I try to select the Netgear network from the macbook and it tries to connect then I get a Message “Connection Timout”. I have gone through the testing with Safari.

    The router is connecting to the internet (I have my desktop running through the router). I have configured the router settings: Authentication to Automatice and have tried the Encryption type with both disabled and 128bit. I am not sure what else to do. Thank you for any help you can give me.

  56. JS says:

    I’ve tried this fix I don’t know how many times and it still does not work. The “$” trick doesn’t work, nothing works. I even tried to make a “new” network on my PC for the MacBook to recognize but the Mac still doesn’t even pick up the network.

    What gives? Every time I try to have my Netgear router create a new WEP key the Mac says there is an error.

    I’m almost to the point where the Mac is going to be retired or traded to a friend for something that will at least work with my network.

  57. batduccio says:

    Thank you so much Matt, I would definitely went mad without your help. You’ll be in my bookmarks forever! 🙂

  58. JSinger says:

    Thanks!!!! That was the last piece of the puzzle (along with setting the router to use the computer’s MAC and setting the DNS servers) to getting a Netgear WGT624 to work with a TiBook and Comcast.

  59. Nick says:


    I work in a company that has a lot of visitors coming in and out. We have a Netgear Wireless-N router, which works absolutely fine with our PC’s; one of which is hardwired, and the other is wireless.

    However, the Mac’s in our office cannot connect to the internet. They show full signal strength, but will either not display a web page, or will have the page load in 5-6 minutes. We have a WPA password set up on the router, but we have reset it to WEP, and WPA-Personal passwords, none of which work.

    Any suggestions? Thanks for your help

  60. jsc says:

    After waiting for 45 minutes on NETGEAR great support I was able to google this response and it fixed my problem!!!!! THanks so much. Last NETGEAR Purchase!

  61. njh says:

    Have a new MacBook and connects to Netgear router, I think. Connection goes in and out and goes only about 1kb/s if I am lucky. Not any use for browsing. Any ideas?

  62. dismoi says:

    hello, I’m trying to configure wireless security on my macbook by entering the default access address: but every time I do that it says that the server is taking too long. I can’t get to the page where I begin to enter the user name and password so that I can continue to set up the password for my wireless internet access. Any help? Thanks (I have a netgear router by the way)

  63. Prawn says:

    Hi there –

    I have this problem with my netgear wireless router (which was working until i added a WEP password – now it won’t work; keeps asking me for the WEP password but won’t accept the one I’ve created. I’ve tried with the $ symbol and ox in front of it, but still nothing doing…… ).

    When I’m connected on the ethernet and everything is working, I can’t access the Netgear IP address…. so I can’t go back to try to change my settings….. it’s driving me nuts…..

    I wanted to try Matt’s suggestion above – but can someone explain what he means by trash this file? Sorry to be such a numpty…..

    I notice most of these posts are a while ago but has anyone come up with a perfect solution yet?


    Matt Lew Says:
    February 6, 2008 at 9:44 am
    Hi Keith & Andy,

    This is a long shot but try and trash this file.

    /Library/Preferences/system configuration/

    This would reset your wireless preferences and you’ll be able to start fresh.

    Also, try using “Locations” instead of just automatic. Create a location with everything you don’t need switched off. Maybe that might help.



  64. Clarissa says:

    Hi all. I have the same problem. Been a PC user all my life, bought a new MacBookPro and tried to connect to my Netgear DG834GV router. Tried all of the suggestions above like:

    1. Putting $ in front of password
    2. Tried all security options, WEP 128bit, WPA
    3. Even tried having no security on my router

    I am stuck. Can anyone please help or give any suggestions?

  65. Frank says:

    Thank you! It works.

  66. Clarissa says:

    Well, I figured it out. I tried re-setting the manufacturer’s settings and it worked the treat. So tried that before you try anything else.

  67. Kellie says:

    I have netgear WPN824v3 with my macbook. I can connect to the network but the page will not load. I am able to get on to the network with other non-apple computers. I have tried to reset the wireless over and over again.

    I can connect to other networks, but not my own.

    Any suggestions?

  68. David Diaz says:

    Hi the problem is incompatibility of the airport and the max speed of the wireless router. follow the steps published before to login into the router and change the mode to 54 mbps, you will be able to use a WEP encryption and keep the wireless secure, the only problem is the speed for multimedia content.


  69. Jeff G. says:

    my macbook seems to work with my Netgear router but it has a tendency to crash the network all the time. The time I can be on the Network varies but it happens about 15 times a day and I have to unplug and replug my router every time. I am using a WEP password and was wondering if I should change it to WPA.

  70. ryan says:

    Ok. I am only having trouble when I try to set up the WEP secured connection. It is driving me crazy. I am using a Netgear WGR616 V6. The Macbook works fine with an unsecured connection but then when I try to set up a passord and connect the it gives me a session timeout. I had a friend set it up before and I am not sure if she used her Dell laptop to do so or if she used my Macbook. I remember she had problems before, but she can’t remember what she did either.

    Like I said the connection is fine WITHOUT the WEP security set.

    please get in touch.

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  72. Anonymous says:

    OK, after hours of searching, I discovered that when Mac asked for a password, it really wants the WEP key – a 10 digit code – AND put the $ in front of it as posted here. Same thing with IPOD and Iphone. Frustrating!

  73. Trevor says:

    I am attempting to set a password on my netgear wireless router. But it then comes up as invalid password when I enter it from computer. (Mac OSX).

  74. Trevor says:

    Thanks – I entered the 10 character code from key 1 (without the $ sign) instead of the passphrase and it worked. BTW entering $ blocked further entry in the password field.

  75. SIVA says:

    I purchased Mac Pro two months back and setup Netgear wireless router. I installed the router successfully and was able to conect to router and internet.

    But the issue is, it is asking me to enter the password every time even though I checked to add to key chain.

    Let me know what other setting I missed

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