BT Home Hub – There was an error joining the Airport network

BT Home Hub A couple of times one of our Macs has inexplicably dropped the Airport wireless connection to our BT Broadband HomeHub, and refused to rejoin it (even though the other Mac remained online).

The error message when attempting to reconnect to the network says something like:

There was an error joining the Airport network BTHomeHub-XXXX
[Try again] [OK]

I have the simplest of fixes:
put a $ in front of your password

I’m taking a moment to document this here as I couldn’t find this info anywhere else online. It’s not in BT’s troubleshooting guides or FAQs, and I ended up phoning their helpline for advice.

If you found this page when searching for a fix, please let me know if it works for you!

56 thoughts on “BT Home Hub – There was an error joining the Airport network

  1. I cant thank you enough for your simple help, you dserve everything you get in life thank you thank you thank you xxx

  2. I have got a problem, and I will be grateful if you can help me sorting it out
    5 am a macbook user for more than 18 months
    Ever since i am using the bt homehub without experiencing any problems to access the net wirelessly
    it is fast and reliable specially that we are using another windows based laptop at home
    the problem started 3-4 weeks ago when i kept losing the connection on the macbook book every now and then and i have to click on the airport icon and select my router name every few minutes
    I am sure that it is something related to bt software update
    the apple guys assured that it is not a macbook problem
    I ve contacted the bt tech guys several times but no help till now
    it is very frustrating
    Can someone out there help please
    Thank you

  3. @Terry – Glad this helped out and solved your problem!

    @yasser – I had a similar problem a while back, but it seems to have fixed itself. I’m not particularly techie minded, but there are loads of helpful Apple geeks over in the Apple support forums – if you post your question there I’m sure you’ll find an answer.

  4. Yasser,

    Try going into your homehub wireless configuration and changing the channel number.

    I experienced similar problems with my homehub and MacBook Pro – I’d get a connection sometimes, but it was weak, and kept dropping. My Vaio wireless connection was fine. In the end I used iStumbler to find out how many other wireless networks were around (2 or 3), at least one nearby also operating on Ch.1. I changed channel to 5, and the performance was transformed – solid connections, strong signal, no dropping. It might work for you too.

  5. @Yasser

    My friend has the exact same problem with his MacBook and BT Home Hub. I took my MacBook over and it’s doing the same thing, whereas both MacBooks are fine at my house.

    I reckon it’s a problem with the Home Hub rather than all MacBooks, but as they’ve had it for over a year BT are saying they won’t replace it and they have to buy a new one!

    I gave them a wireless router I had spare, though the Hub Phone won’t work now.

    I suppose the way to try it would be to have a long conversation on the Hub Phone, keeping an eye on the Airport status. If it disconnects the phone at the same time, then you’ll know it’s the hub.

    Good luck!

  6. Thanks SO much for posting this!

    Extreme newbie to Macs and couldn’t connect to the BT hub at all. Tried your trick and worked first time. Thanks again!

  7. Gah! We have now ceremoniously binned our BT Home Hub – Alex couldn’t get a connection at all, and we checked channels etc. That was with a PC, my PC is fine. I think its just rather shonky all round.

  8. @ Yasser

    I have exactly the same problem and have had for around 1 month now.

    I’ve been connecting wirelessly to the BT Home Hub on my MacBook since last January with no problems however BT updated the firmware recently and now my connections keeps dropping and I have to recheck my network from the airport drop down. Its very, very frustrating. There is no problem with the MacBook as I’ve just been connected for 8 hours solid at work on another network.

    I’ve been searching for a fix for a while now to no avail.

    Good luck

  9. I must admit, I have been using BT Broadband wireless connection without any problems for a long period of time.
    I am not quite sure what is going on with them nowadays.
    There must be something that is seriously wrong.
    I hope that they will rectify themselves soon, otherwise ………mmm
    well I am not quite sure what i am going to do.
    any Ideas out there, other than to bang my head in the wall (Coz it hurts)


  10. Fantastic,
    I’ve spent a frustrating Christmas day and Boxing day trawling the BT site for clues as to why my son’s Mac wouldn’t connect wirelessly. Thanks for the $ tip.

  11. thanks so much the dollar sign works! My Internet connection just dropped out but my iPhone still connected to home hub weird? But your trick worked a treat genius!

  12. Hi everyone…i know this sucks but in a way its comforting to know im not the only one with problems. I rang up BT they changed the channel of my internet to 9 from 11
    it worked….for 5 hours
    same problems started occuring again…..rang them next day they changed channel to 7….works fine wait 15 hours later wireless wont even find mac….im actually on hooold as im typing this to right now. sanita waaas a great help though i must say

  13. Worked a trick for me as well. iPhone was having no issue at all. Many thanks Paul for posting this.

  14. I posted a few days ago. They have fixed the problem it seems to be working for well over a day now…ring them up….if your’re using a mca ask for the mca department…then tell them you want to restore hub to factory defaults….then they mess about and then it works fine.

  15. Thank you – I spent 3 frustrating hours trying to connect, but adding the $ prefix solved the problem straight away.


    Thank you. I was sitting on the phone to the BT helpline for about half an hour before i thought to search the web for a fix. So simple, BT are as useful as a chocolate teapot.

    Thank you again.

  17. Oh my goodness. I have been slaving over this problem for the past few hours and unbelievably, your solution worked. I am so relieved. Thank-you for your ingenious advice. How you happened upon this nugget of gold I have no clue. Well done.

  18. Wonderful! Works a treat for O2 broadband in the UK as well. Great job fella – the rest of the interweb drew a blank.
    Cheers friend. N

  19. I’m using a MacBook pro which connects fine using the BT Homehub (as does my iPhone) but my MacBook won’t connect. I’ve tried the dollar trick but when I put a dollar I cannot then type in some of the keys on my password (eg it won’t accept the ‘r’ or ‘u’ but does accept the ‘c)’. Can anyone help please? I don’t have the patience to make another call to BT. Thanks

  20. This was hassling me for 3 days until your simple solution sorted it out – many thanks for that my friend a thousand blessings be upon you!

  21. Hey there,
    This is for all the shu-god-helpuses who can’t make this fix work:

    I was trying that old dollar sign thing and, like one of the contributors above I couldn’t press certain keys. Annoyed by this I called BT and the kind techy suggested I choose WEP ASCII instead of WEP from the drop down menu. I did so and God bless him, it worked!!


  22. The dollar sign trick is a well known fix for joining WEP networks,it is not necessary with WPA networks.

    So if your using WEP you may as well turn off the security altogether as WEP is not secure.

  23. Genius, the $ trick worked after a bit of fiddling. My mac dropped out a month ago after years of faithful service. I had to resort to using a PC (eugh). Thanks a million.

  24. If the dollar trick doesn’t work, definitely try switching channels. My Macbook was fine for a few days then I lost all connection to the Hub and it just wouldn’t connect. All I got was a message saying there was an error trying to join airport network. Spent hours trying everything I could think of. As soon as I switched from channel 1 to channel 5, the Macbook instantly connected with a solid, stable connection. Thanks guys.

  25. Thank you so much! You saved my life with that genius bit of info… have been pulling my hair out trying to get a previously-ethernet connection to connect via the airport, and the $ trick did it first time. Thank you!!!


    I have been trying for 2 hours to get a mate to login to my system – a simple $ sign cured the problem instantly.

    Thanks for the help.

  27. wow your top, why the hell does this dollar sign thing work. are bt hub’s shit. i thought my old white macbook had had its day. but no still going strong flip yeah and thank you genius.

  28. i tried it out but its not seeming to have the desired effect, my ibook is of a later generation have you anymore solution?

  29. Thank you a million. What an easy solution, I have spent more than three hrs trying to fix this problem till I found your marvelous solution. Thank you and God bless.


  30. THANKS a million! It worked on our Mac laptop. Yay!! Appreciate your help very much. Wishing you success.

  31. I have had days of Hell trying to resolve this issue. PCs in the house would connect fine but my Macbook Pro (and occasionally my iPad) would connect intermittently and then just drop out. Nothing I tried put it right. I’m now trying the $ tip to see how it goes. Fingers crossed.
    Incidentally, I’ve been part of a conversation with @BTCare on Twitter for weeks about slow broadband speed and now this issue. Nobody even thought to suggest this solution. I notice that Tim suggests above that it is not necessary for WPA networks but still hoping it solves the problem.
    I’ll be one very happy lady if it works!

  32. If you have installed the BT disc on your Mac, trash it. I had horrors trying to keep connected with the new black hub – no probs with the white one – and when I returned to S. Africa I lost my wifi connection every two minutes to a router I have never previously had problems with. I trashed the BT files and lo! Normal service is resumed.

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