Anyone that has the intention of setting up a wireless network ought to make sure that the wireless network can only be accessed by authorized persons. Below are some security choices a person setting up a wireless network has.

Wi-Fi Protected Access (WPA) is the first option.

With Wi-Fi Protected Access (WPA), information is encrypted to make certain that no modification will be done to the network security key. It also authenticates users, thereby making sure only persons officially allowed into the network can log on. Wi-Fi Protected Access (WPA) program is a standards-based security technology that is based on the IEEE 802.1X standard created by the Wi-Fi Alliance in order to help make wireless computer networks very safe. Whenever the Wi-Fi Alliance label is seen on any machine, it is usually guaranteed to support WPA.

WPA and WPA2 are the two kinds of WPA authentication. WPA is built to work with all wireless network adapters even though it might not work with older routers or access points. It is built to be used with an 802.1X authentication server. WPA2, even though it is more secured than WPA, might not work with some older network adapters. 802.1X authentication server allocates to each every authorized person using the network a different key. This concept is known as WPA-Enterprise or WPA2-Enterprise. Every person in the network can also be assigned the same key as everyone else. This is known as pre-shared key (PSK) mode. This concept is known as WPA-Personal or WPA2-Personal.

Wired Equivalent Privacy is another option in wireless networking security.

Wired Equivalent Privacy, also known as WEP, is a much older network security system that can be used with older appliances. It is not the recommended option now. Below is a short description of how WEP works.

WPA in 2003 overshadowed WEP and became the preferred choice for networking. WPA in 2004 (WPA2 is the version of the IEEE 802.11i standard certified by the Wi-Fi Alliance) also achieved the same thing. Due to the fact that WEP could easily be accessed by unauthorized persons, it has been dubbed Weak Encryption Protocol.

WEP is an encryption protocol in charge of 802.11 frames. It does this by using the RC4 symmetric algorithm with key length of 64 bits or 128 bits.

The theory used by WEP is to identify a secret code of 40 or 128 bits from the beginning. Clients must affirm this secret code before accessing the network. The code is to produce a counterfeit-random length that is the same length of the frame. Every time a data is transmitted it is encrypted with the counterfeit-random code as a disguise with an Exclusive or between the counterfeit-random number and the frame.

As noted in the previous paragraph, WEP is not adequate when it comes to making sure that the network is totally private. A minimum level of security and privacy can however be assured with a 128-bit WEP protection. This also limits the chances of unwanted and illegal access by as much as 90%.

Warning

It is not advisable to use WEP because of its inability to fully secure a network. WPA or WPA2 are relatively more secure. WAP2 is however the best for computer network security for those who can afford it.  If WPA or WPA2 fails to work on your network adaptor, then upgrade your network adapter to one that is compatible with WPA or WPA2.

You may also put the next option 802.1X authentication into consideration.

Protection for 802.11 wireless networks and wired Ethernet networks are improved with the help of 802.1X authentication. 802.1X uses an authentication server to authenticate users and provide network access. 802.1X is compatible with WPA, WPA2, or WEP keys on wireless networks. This kind of authentication is mostly used during connection to a workplace network.