WEP, WPA, or WPA2: What Security Type Does Your Wi-Fi Need?

Monday, Jan 11, 2021 · 10 mins


WEP, WPA, or WPA2: What Security Type Does Your Wi-Fi Need?

Wi-Fi protection is designed to avoid unauthorized access to wireless devices. Most home routers have several security modes that differ in levels of safety. Did you know that your internet connection uses one of four different types of security? While all of them are different, not all of them are equal; as such, it's important to learn what form of protection your Wi-Fi is using.

Various types of wireless security protocols have been developed for the safety of home wireless networks. Wireless security protocols are WEP, WPA, and WPA2, which serve the same function but are different at the same time.

  1. The Wired Equivalent Privacy (WEP) Protocol

    WEP was developed for wireless networks and introduced as a Wi-Fi security standard in September 1999. It is still prevalent in the modern era within older structures due to its age. Out of all protocols, WEP is considered to be the least stable. WEP was officially discontinued by the Wi-Fi Alliance in 2004.

  2. The Wi-Fi Protected Access (WPA) Protocol

    WPA arrived as WEP's substitute due to the vulnerabilities contained within WEP. It has additional features, such as the Temporary Key Integrity Protocol (TKIP). This function was a 128-bit dynamic key that was harder to break into than a WEP static, unchanged key. WPA was a major improvement over WEP, but as the core components were rendered so that they could be rolled out through firmware updates to WEP-enabled devices, they still relied on exploited elements.

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  3. The Wi-Fi Protected Access 2 (WPA2) Protocol

    WPA2 is the successor to WPA and adds more features to the mix. WPA2 replaced TKIP with the Counter Mode Cipher Block Chaining Message Authentication Code Protocol (CCMP), which did a better job of encrypting data.

    WPA2 has been very popular and has retained its place as the top protocol since 2004. In reality, on 13 March 2006, the Wi-Fi Alliance announced that all potential Wi-Fi devices had to use WPA2.

  4. The Wi-Fi Protected Access 3 (WPA3) Protocol

    WPA3 is the new kid on the block, and you can find it in the routers that were created in 2019. With this new format, WPA3 introduces stronger security to public networks to prevent hackers from extracting information from them.

Which security method will work for your network?

Here is the list of new (after 2006) security approaches used on wireless networks, from the best to the worst:

  • WPA2 and AES
  • AES + WPA
  • WPA + TKIP/AES (TKIP as a fallback method)
  • WEP The WEP
  • Open your network (no security at all)

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