Wireless Network Authentication Types

Wireless encryption and authentication is the heart of wireless router security and Wireless routers support multiple wireless encryption and authentication methods. Better the wireless encryption and authentication technology, the more difficult a hacker will find authenticating and unscrambling the encrypted data. When you assign your wireless router with a key and assign an encryption method, it will scramble the data and only a laptop with the same key can unscramble that data. This would ensure a hacker can not access the data. You have to use the strongest wireless encryption and authentication method your router supports, Find below different options available in this topic.

Wireless LAN (WLAN) Authentication Types:


An open system is a system that does not require authentication. Any station can join the network without authentication.

Shared Key:

In Shared Key, the WEP key is used for the authentication. However, this procedure is not recommended, because it makes the WEP key more susceptible to attacks. All an attacker needs to do is to listen long enough to the communication between the station and the access point. During the authentication process, both sides exchange the same information, once in encrypted form and once in unencrypted form. Thus, the key can be reconstructed with suitable tools. Because this method makes use of the WEP key for the authentication and for the encryption, it does not enhance the security of the network. A station that has the correct WEP key can authenticate, encrypt, and decrypt. A station that does not have the key cannot decrypt received packets. Accordingly, it cannot communicate, regardless of whether it had to authenticate itself.


WPA-PSK (PSK stands for preshared key) works similarly to the Shared Key procedure. All participating stations as well as the access point need the same key. The key is 256 bits in length and is usually entered as a passphrase. This system does not need a complex key management like WPA-EAP and is more suitable for private use. Therefore, WPA-PSK is sometimes referred to as WPA “Home”.

WPA-EAP (Extensible Authentication Protocol):

WPA-EAP is not an authentication system but a protocol for transporting authentication information With EAP support, WPA encryption provides more functionality related to controlling access to the wireless network based on PKI (Public Key Infrastructure) keys rather than filtering only based on MAC addresses which can be captured and spoofed. WPA-EAP is used to protect wireless networks in enterprises. In private networks, it is scarcely used. For this reason, WPA-EAP is sometimes referred to as WPA “Enterprise”.

Filed Under: Wireless Security


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