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What is a WEP key?

A WEP key is a security code, or password, used in 802.11 wireless networks to unlock access to a wireless network. It is made up of a sequence of hexadecimal digits (the numbers 0 through 9 and the letters A through F). WEP, which stands for Wired Equivalent Privacy, is an older encryption process.

To connect a computer to a network, the WEP key on the computer must match the network's WEP key.

Some routers use WPA, or WiFi Protected Access, because it is designed to be more secure than WEP. However, older equipment and operating systems might not support it, and in those cases, you must use WEP keys.

To make your network more secure, do not choose a simple word. Use both letters and numbers. Your passphrase should be 10 characters for 40/64-bit (used interchangably) encryption and 26 characters for 104/128-bit encryption. The other characters that make up the key, or total bits, are randomly generated.

  • If you have Home Networking, the technician who installs your home network can help you set up your equipment's security features. There is no fail-safe method of securing your router and computer, but requiring encryption makes your wireless network more difficult for a casual user to compromise.
  • If you have your own router, you can name your network yourself. If you do not know how, all manufacturers have easy-to-use information in their user guides and on their websites to walk you through the steps. If you still need help, Contact Us, and an agent will help you find the information you need.
Article Number: 7495

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