Friday, January 14, 2011

Tips: Types of wireless encryptions and their uses

In this article, we are going to discuss about wireless LAN encryption. It is used to secure our wireless network with an authentication protocol that needs a password or network key when a user or device tries to connect. The main reason to secure our network is to avoid unauthorized access of your network. Moreover, the speed of the network performance will decrease if your network is in use without your knowledge. Now, let’s discuss about the various types of WLAN encryptions like WEP, WPA and WPS. They’re commonly supported on most of the Wi-Fi enabled devices, adapters and the routers. Make sure that some of the older WLAN routers may or may not support all encryption types. The default encryption will vary depending upon the manufacturer of the WLAN router. If you create your own encryption key, you will be able to locate it by logging into your router setup page.
WEP stands for Wired Encryption Privacy or Wired Encryption Protocol.
It has two types of encryption 64 bit and 128 bit. 64 bit requires a 10 character password when using hexadecimal (0-9 and A-F) digits. When you use ASCII characters, you’ve to use 8 characters. If you use 128 bit, it is required to use the 26 character password when using the hexadecimal digits or 14 characters when using the ASCII characters.

What are the advantages of WEP?
•    You can easily configure.
•    It is the widely supported security system.
What are the disadvantages?
•    It is not full secured.
•    Other encryption protocols are more secured.
Now, let’s go for the WPA and WPA2: Wi-Fi Protected Accesss
The type of the encryption is TKIP (Temporal Key Integrity Protocol), PSK (Pre-shared Key or Personal mode. It is 256-bit encryption that requires a 64 bit hexadecimal digit password or a 8 to 63 ASCII character passphrase. EAP (Extensible Authentication Protocol).
What are the advantages of this type encryption?
•    It is easy to configure.
•    It has strong encryption type.
•    It is easy to manage it.
What are the disadvantages of this type encryption?•    This is not supported by all devices.

WPS : Wi-Fi Protected Setup
The other type encryption type is WPS (Wi-Fi Protected Setup).
You can use this WPS to configure a wireless network with a network name (SSID) and a strong WPA security key for authentication and data encryption. This is designed to support various Wi-Fi certified 802.11 products ranging from access points, wireless adapters, Wi-Fi phones and other consumer electronic devices. Moreover, it is not required to know the SSID or security key or passphrase when you connect WPS enabled devices. As the security  key or the passphrase is randomly generated, it is not possible to guess it. At the same time, it is not possible to add the predictable passphrases or long sequences of hexadecimal characters to enter.
The disadvantages are,
•    The Ad-Hoc mode where wireless devices communicate directly to each other without an access point is not supported.
•    All of the Wi-Fi devices on the network should be WPS certified or compatible. Otherwise, it is not possible to take advantage of the ease in securing the network.
•    It is not possible to add a non WPS client device to the network as the long sequences of the hexadecimal generated by the WPS technology.
•    As this is a very new technology, most of the manufacturers don’t support WPS.

What is the procedure to use the WPS?
o    It is required to use the PBC (Push button configuration). Simply push the physical or the virtual button on both the WPS devices to make the connection between these devices.
o    The other step is PIN (Personal Identification Number) to enable this feature. You’ve to take the PIN either from a sticker or the web interface of the WPS device. It is required to enter the PIN in the access point or client WPS device to create a connection.