Dec 25 2013
WEP vs WPA
WEP vs WPA – what wireless internet security to use? There is an easy answer to this question. WPA especially WPA2 is a much better choice than WEP.
- It’s very easy to crack
- It slightly reduces a performance
- It uses a static key
WEP – Wired Equivalent Privacy has never deserved the meaning of its name. It is really easy to crack WEP. It can be done in less than a minute.
There is a 64-bit, 128-bit and 256-bit WEP. It is a lot easier and more user-friendly to use a passphrase than a WEP key. When you use the passphrase, it is converted to keys in the hexadecimal format.
The biggest problem with WEP is the static key which does not change during a session. The length of the key (64-bit, 128-bit and 256-bit WEP) only extends the time needed to crack the wireless network. The only advantage of WEP is that all WiFi equipment supports it. Even with the older wireless cards and access points you can configure WEP as the wireless internet security.
- Much better encryption mechanism
- Uses the temporary key – TKIP
- Compatible with many older devices.
- Minimal degradation in a network performance
WPA – WiFi Protected Access was designed as the WEP replacement. It solves all the WEP problems. There are two versions of WPA. Personal mode WPA has PSK authentication and TKIP/MIC encryption. Enterprise mode WPA has EAP authentication and TKIP/MIC encryption.
- Provides stronger data protection and network access control
- Uses better encryption – AES
- It can use TKIP for interoperability with WPA
- Impossible to crack without access to the network
- Older equipment does not support it
WPA2 is the latest WPA implementation. It is based on 802.11i standard and provides government grade security. The WPA2 uses better encryption – AES comparing to TKIP used by WPA. You can also use TKIP encryption which is used for interoperability with WPA.
There are two versions of WPA2. Personal mode WPA has PSK authentication and AES/CCMP encryption. Enterprise mode WPA2 has EAP authentication and AES/CCMP encryption.
The Tips for Maximum Wireless Internet Security
More about the WPA2 and WPA, different kinds of WPA modes (WPA personal, WPA enterprise, WPA2 personal and WPA2 enterprise) and which WiFi equipment supports WPA, you can read on What Is WPA? Is It Better than WEP? And What About WPA2.
You can make you wireless home network unbreakable if you use the following five steps:
- Change a default password
- Change the default SSID
- Do not use WPS
- Enable the WPA2
- Enable the MAC address filtering
Read more about this five steps in the article Wireless Internet Security – 5 Steps for the Maximum Wireless LAN Security.
The key of wireless internet security is proper wireless router setup. The best way to setup your wireless security is with the manual configuration, disabling the WPS – WiFi protected Setup and do the manual wireless security setup. More about this and how to exact configure your wireless router read on Wireless Router Setup – Make Your Wireless Network Bulletproofed.
WEP vs WPA – the Final Notes
In this article and comparing the WEP vs WPA, you have find out the following things:
- Never use WEP
- More bits in WEP password doesn’t bring better security
- WPA is must in the wireless networks
- Use five steps for better wireless internet security
- Use manual wireless security setup
- Do not use WPS
More details about WEP vs WPA you can find on Webopedia.