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Safe and Sound

WPA vs WEP: Which One Provides the Best Wireless Security?

Wireless Security

WiFi Protected Access (WPA and WPA2) and Wireless Equivalent Privacy (WEP) are the two most widely used security programs for protecting wireless networks, but both programs have their supporters and critics. While it’s true that polite, fact-based debate is a hallmark of a civil society, if you’re looking for a solid recommendation to help guide your decision on this important home security matter, you’re in the right place.

First: Wireless Security and Why You Need It

Before we get to our recommendation, we want to first explain why it’s important to secure your wireless network. That’s easy! An unsecured wireless network and everything you do on it – from using your credit card to buy stuff to sending important work files to your downtown office – can easily be hacked or opened and seen by anyone within range of your network. Also, people within range can tap into your wireless Internet connection without you ever knowing it and use it for… whatever they want to use it for.

How Does WPA and WEP Work?

You definitely don’t want anyone cutting into your wireless network, so you should get a security program to protect it. How do WPA and WEP achieve this? Both programs use an encryption method that changes everything you send wirelessly into a secret code that is deciphered after it reaches the intended recipient. If anybody intercepts the wireless transmission, all this person would see is a bunch of garbled data. WPA and WEP are two encryption standards used for this purpose.

Cox Recommends WPA

In keeping with expert findings on this topic, Cox recommends you use a WiFi Protected Access program (WPA and WPA2). Many studies have found that WPA provides much better protection than WEP and is also easier to use. Also, WPA support is built into most new operating systems and virtually all modern wireless hardware and operating systems. WPA2, a more recent version of WPA, is found in newer devices and operating systems and provides even stronger protection.

WPS Also Recommended

Another recommended security program is Wi-Fi Protected Setup (WPS). One key reason why WPS has earned our recommendation is because it uses the WPA encryption type to secure your wireless network. Users will also appreciate that it is relatively easy to set up and connect to their home wireless network. To use Wi-Fi Protected Setup, make sure your router can support it and that your operating system and hardware supports WPA encryption.

When WEP is an Option

You may discover that some of your older wireless devices only support WEP protection, things like Media Players, Personal Digital Assistants (PDAs) and Digital Video Recorders (DVRs). Cox recommends you use the WEP program available in these devices to help protect the wireless connection supporting them. True, WEP is not as strong a program as WPA, WPA2 or WPS, but some protection for your wireless communications is better than no protection at all.

For more information on securing your wireless network and devices, please click here.

 
 
 
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