What are the different wireless network security methods?

If you plan to have a wireless network, you should set it up so that only people you choose can access it. Here are a few options for wireless network security.

Wired Equivalent Privacy (WEP)

WEP is a widely used network security method. When you enable WEP, you set up a network security key. This key encrypts the information that one computer sends to another computer across your network. The receiving computer needs the key to decode the information so that it’s difficult for someone on another computer to get onto your network and access files without your permission.

Wi-Fi Protected Access (WPA)

WPA was created to improve the security of WEP. Like WEP, WPA encrypts information, but it also checks to make sure that the network security key has not been modified. WPA also authenticates users to help ensure that only authorized people can access the network. If your networking hardware works with both WEP and WPA security, we recommend that you use WPA.

There are two types of WPA authentication: WPA and WPA2. WPA is designed to work with all wireless network adapters, but it might not work with older routers or access points. WPA2 is more secure than WPA, but it will not work with some older network adapters. WPA is designed to be used with an 802.1X authentication server, which distributes different keys to each user. This is referred to as WPA-Enterprise or WPA2-Enterprise. It can also be used in a pre-shared key (PSK) mode, where every user is given the same passphrase. This is referred to as WPA-Personal or WPA2-Personal.

802.1X authentication

802.1X authentication can help enhance security for 802.11 wireless networks and wired Ethernet networks. 802.1X uses an authentication server to validate users and provide network access. On wireless networks, 802.1X can work with Wired Equivalent Privacy (WEP) or Wi-Fi Protected Access (WPA) keys. This type of authentication is typically used when connecting to a workplace network.

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Microsoft Knowledge Base Article

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