What is a WEP Key?

A Short Guide Explaining What a WEP Key Means in Wi-Fi Networking

This article is a short guide that explains the working of a WEP key for people new to networking terminology.
Since Internet crimes are on the rise, there is a need for increased security on wired or wireless networks. The best way to secure networks is the creation and usage of security passwords, based on advanced encryption techniques. A WEP key is one such password that is responsible for protecting wireless networks from unauthorized access.

About WEP Keys

WEP stands for Wired Equivalent Privacy, which is meant to prevent unauthorized access to a particular wireless network. Generally, the password is meant to be a blend of numbers as well as alphabets. WEP passwords are used exclusively for wireless networking and not for LAN Internet connections. There are many other encryption techniques that are more secure and effective than WEP, which includes Wi-Fi Protected Access (WPA) and its updated versions. However, WEP is still widely used by a majority of wireless Internet users. The main drawback of WEP is that it can be hacked by anyone who's proficient enough.

Key Length

How long the key can be, depends on the level of security that is implemented. If the encryption is 40 or 64 bit, the password would be of 10 characters. If the encryption is 104 or 128 bits long, the password will extend to 26 characters. But if the encryption level is 256 bits, the key will include 58 characters.

How Does the Key Work?

Every individual wireless network may have a WEP key which is created by the network administrator or one who wants to make his wireless network available to other devices or users. If a user wants to access a wireless network on his device, such as a PS3 or laptop computer, he will need a key, to the network he wants to gain access to. Users without the key won't be able to gain access to it. A WEP key is very helpful while using wireless networks to browse websites which require confidential data to be entered for processing.

If you have any issue regarding setting up a wireless connection or security passwords for a router, it is recommended that you get in touch with the customer service of the respective router company.