Choosing the Right Wi-Fi Security Standard

Leaving your small business’s Wi-Fi open is never a good idea. When open, anyone can log in to your Wi-Fi without entering a password. While different routers support different security standards, most use one of three main standards. While any of these three standards can protect your small business’s Wi-Fi from unauthorized access, though, some are more secure than others. In this post, you’ll learn more about the three primary security standards used in Wi-Fi.

Wired Equivalent Privacy (WEP)

The oldest Wi-Fi security standard, WEP was developed in 1999 to enhance the security of wireless networks and their connected devices. It was designed to provide a similar level of security to that of wired networks. There are two types of WEP: 64 and 128. The former uses a 64-bit key, whereas the latter uses a 128-bit key.

Of those two options, WEP is 128 is more secure. Unfortunately, however, both WEP 64 nor WEP 128 are vulnerable to various exploits, so it’s recommended that you use a different security standard for your small business’s Wi-Fi.

Wi-Fi Protected Access (WPA)

Another common and widely used Wi-Fi security standard is WPA. It was developed in response to the poor security offered by WEP. As with other Wi-Fi security standards, it encrypts data sent and received over a wireless network to protect against Man-in-the-Middle (MITM) attacks and eavesdropping.

You can find WPA offered in two different formats: AES and TKIP. Both WPA-AES and WPA-TKIP are based on the original WPA protocol. The difference, however, is that WPA-AES uses a newer and more secure encryption algorithm. Therefore, it’s recommended that you use it instead of the TKIP format if you’re going to use WPA for your small business’s Wi-Fi.

Wi-Fi Protected Access (WPA) 2

One of the newest Wi-Fi security standards is WPA 2. It was released in 2004, and since then, has become the preferred choice among many small business owners and consumers alike.

As with the other protocols previously mentioned, there are two different types of WPA 2. There’s WPA 2 TKIP as well as WPA2 AES. WPA 2 TKIP actually uses an older encryption protocol, so it doesn’t offer the same level of security as WPA 2 AES.

What About WPAWPA2-PSK?

Finally, you may discover that some routers support a Wi-Fi security standard known as WPAWPA2-PSK. How exactly does this standard work? It works by combining both the WPA and WPA2 protocols. Rather than using just a single encryption protocol, it leverages the power of two encryption protocols. As a result, it’s the single most secure Wi-Fi standard. If supported by your small business’s router, choose WPAWPA2-PSK for maximum protection against cyber threats.