Apple iPad “Unable to join the network” on Verizon / Westell VersaLink Model 327W

Although my desktop, laptops, PlayStation 3, and even my iPod Touch connected to my home network just fine, my new iPad would not. It (stubbornly and somewhat unhelpfully) simply said “Unable to join the network ‘(My Network’s SSID)'”. The options for troubleshooting on the appliance-like iPad are very limited and did nothing for me in any case. I could find nothing on Apple’s site or elsewhere so I thought I’d share what I did and maybe save you some time and effort.

I should point out that I am in no way connected to Apple, Verizon or Westell. Furthermore, no representation is made about the accuracy of the information in this post or elsewhere on this site. I am merely reporting what worked for me so your mileage may vary.

Problem Description and Solution

Problem: Upon choosing Settings > Wi-Fi on your iPad, your wireless network appears in the list of available networks, but upon tapping Join, the error message “Unable to join the network ‘(Network Name)'” appears.

Note – Although the network name (or SSID) appears in the list of available networks, when you tap the blue arrow to look at the network details, everything is blank. The IP Address, Subnet Mask, Router, DNS — everything is totally blank.

Possible Solutions (in order of ease):

  1. Turn off your wireless modem/router/gateway, wait at least 10 seconds, turn it back on and — once the modem re-establishes a connection to the Internet — try Joining from your iPad again.
  2. Go to iPad Settings and select General and then Network Settings and Reset network settings. Try connecting again after your iPad restarts.
  3. Look for devices in your home that may be causing interference in the 2.4-gigahertz (GHz) radio frequency band. Common offenders are baby monitors and cordless phones. Try shutting them off and if the problem goes away, see if the device allows you to change channels. If your device lacks such an option, look for it in your wireless modem/router/gateway.
  4. I tried all of the steps listed above to no avail. I could only conclude that the problem was with the wireless gateway itself. Or my brand new iPad was defective. Not wanting to contemplate that, I decided to update the firmware on my Verizon-provided Westell VersaLink Model 327W (A90-327W15-06). This was the device that Verizon gave me when I signed up for DSL some years ago. If you have a Westell gateway/router, you can find out the exact model (A90-327W15-06,A99-327W15-00, B90-327W15-06, B99-327W15-00, D90-327W15-06, D99-327W15-00, C90-610015-06, E90-611015-06, etc.) by checking the label on the bottom of the device. This is Verizon’s page (updated/corrected in May, 2011 – thanks to modemwizard) for updating these devices. Follow the instructions there to upgrade your gateway’s firmware. Important note – you’ll have to reconfigure your network after taking this  step. After you finish, try again to join the network and if all goes well (as it did for me), your iPad will connect and you’re all set.

Update April 28, 2010 – I am getting a lot of traffic on this page so it seems many people are having similar issues. Help me improve it and help the community by using the comments area below to say what worked for you.  I will amend the article as appropriate.