What is the difference between WPA and WEP Wireless Security encryption?

Wireless Internet access has become the norm in most houses in the US these days, everyone has a wireless router, but what most people don’t know is keeping this router secure, what data encryption should you use? WEP or WPA? What is the difference? WEP (wired Equivalent Privacy) is the older form of encryption developed around 1999 to secure wireless Access Points, but when some weaknesses were found on this type of encryption WPA (Wi-Fi Protected Access) was adopted in 2003 along with the full IEEE 802.11 security standard dubbed (WPA2) which was adopted in 2004.

WPA is better than WEP; WPA uses the TKIP (Temporal Integrity Protocol) which changes key automatically. WPA2 is built on WPA adding an encryption algorithm named CCMP (Counter Mode with Cipher Block Chaining Message authentication Code Protocol) which is supposedly be really secure. All Wireless Routers built today requires WPA2 encryption support.

I would recommend everyone using WPA encryption whenever they can, the problem with all these different type of encryptions is that they are not compatible with each other so, if need to hook up multiple devices to the wireless access point and some of them don’t support WPA they won’t be able to connect, so make sure your devices are compatible with the latest wireless encryption, if they are not, use the one all the devices support, or if you have the money upgrade the ones that are not compatible.

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Comments [5]

  1. Nicholas J McDonough says:

    I have a computer downstairs and that is connected right from the wll then we have a modem & router!!! Upstairs I have a computer "desktop" and that has the wireless USB to pick up from the router now i think i picked the wrong one WEP@ Personal I am able to put a lock on it but the only computer that will not go on is the laptop!!! I am tring my best to have a real nice home network going,but it is not looking so good I am changing to WPA

    If any info please contact me Thank you for your time!!

  2. fisher says:

    Thanks for mentioning that WPA/WPA2 is better than WEP. I've been having problems setting up an apple airport extreme because the default encryption was WEP. As soon as I set up a WPA password everything connected wonderfully.

  3. Ravi says:

    I have a 10 year old router and so far all our laptops and HP Touchpad have connected using WEP in a breeze to home wi-fi. Recently bought Kindle Touch but not able to connect to same Wi-Fi despite trying. Any tips on troubleshooting is welcome preferably without going for new router as old one works pretty well.

  4. Newbee says:

    Ravi, I had the same problem getting ALL my nooks to go/and stay on line. Here’s how I fixed it. I got the mac address for every computer and device I own (this is the physical addy for the actual devive) … I then went to my router and clicked anable mac fiter,it is under the wireless tab,then click the permit listed, if you then click the wireless client list any computers your curently on line with now should show… Check all thoughs and close… Then back at the main page click on a line with all oo and type in the mac addy’s for any other devices… Like the nook. At the buttom click save settings and you should be good to go!

    You find the nook device mac addy under settings, device info… It will be a bunch of #’s and letters … If it shows it with – instead of : just replace the – with : example…

    00:26:4A:AA:E4:29

    Thats not real just an example of what it will look like. You’ll have to add the mac address for every computer and device you want on line tho to use this function. Hope this helps.

  5. Shiny Sheimi says:

    It’s also worth mentioning that while WPA is slightly more secure than WEP, they’re still both decipherable – WEP is just faster to hack because it takes less time to find the key. However, because WPA has more competent security measures, it’s slower. WEP is generally a faster security measure because it does not have to spend time refreshing the security key every time it sends a new data packet.

    Another plus to WEP that I’ve found (and the reason I’m here in the first place) is that the Nintendo DS, including DS, DS Lite, DSi, DSi XL and 3DS, cannot connect to WPA-encrypted wireless connections for online gameplay – it can only connect to WEP. So if you live in a quiet area (where you’re not as worried about security as if you were, say, living in a city centre somewhere) and have kids that would like to play their DS games online, you might want to consider using WEP.

    In conclusion, I think that the risk associated with having a WEP connection isn’t usually great enough to warrant people simply saying “WPA is better”. All connections CAN be infiltrated by an experienced hacker, it’s just a matter of how fast they can do it. Besides, you can always solve your WEP-worries by changing your security key every so often. Most routers give you the option to store up to 4 keys at once, for this very reason.

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