Wireless security is the prevention of unauthorized access or damage to computers using wireless networks. Various wireless security protocols were developed to protect home wireless networks. In addition to preventing uninvited guests from connecting to a wireless network, wireless security protocols encrypt private data as it is being transmitted over the airwaves. Wireless networks broadcast data in every direction to every device that happens to be listening, within a limited range.
Following are descriptions of the WEP, WPA, and WPA2 wireless security protocols:
Wired Equivalent Privacy (WEP): The original encryption protocol developed for wireless networks. WEP was designed to provide the same level of security as wired networks.
Wi-Fi Protected Access (WPA): Introduced as an interim security enhancement over WEP while the 802.11i wireless security standard was being developed. Most current WPA implementations use a preshared key (PSK), commonly referred to as WPA Personal, and the Temporal Key Integrity Protocol (TKIP, pronounced tee-kip) for encryption. WPA Enterprise uses an authentication server to generate keys or certificates.
Wi-Fi Protected Access version 2 (WPA2): The most significant enhancement to WPA2 over WPA is the use of the Advanced Encryption Standard (AES) for encryption.