Wireless encryption basics: Understanding WEP, WPA and WPA2

Choosing the proper level of wireless encryption will determine whether your wireless LAN is a house of straw or a shielded fortress.

In wireless security, passwords are only half the battle. Choosing the proper level of encryption is just as vital, and the right choice will determine whether your wireless LAN is a house of straw or a shielded fortress.

Most wireless access points come with the ability to enable one of three wireless encryption standards: Wired Equivalent Privacy (WEP), Wi-Fi Protected Access (WPA) or WPA2. Explore our chart below to get a basic understanding of the uses and mechanisms of each one, and to find out which is the best choice for your environment.

In addition, the glossary below explains more about some of the protocols and other essential terms used in this chart.

Wireless security cheat sheet

Graphic: Neva Maniscalco

Wireless security glossary:

 

This was first published in June 2014

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