You need to provide a password or passcode to gain access to most Wi-Fi connections around you. Have you ever wondered what they exactly are? They are the network security keys, and you need to provide them to validate your internet access to the Wi-Fi connection.
So, what is a network security key?
This is a digital signature to get access to wireless networks. You can securely connect to the desired device, router, or server. Network security keys are a must to protect your devices or networks from vulnerable or unauthorised access.
Which devices come with a network security key? Almost every networking device has a personal network security key and a sorted type. Be it your computer, router, Android, or iOS device, and there is a network security key assigned for every device.
Here’s everything you need to know about network security keys and how to find them on your devices.
Requirements for Assigning Network Security Keys to Your Devices
Keeping your network devices open or public is not a wise idea. Anybody can sneak through your network and hack your device.
You got the answer to the query: What is a network security key? Now, let’s move on and find why you need it:
- The network security key allows you to keep your network safe and secure.
- It authorises access to different valid users.
- Additionally, you can trust access control resources that pass through network security keys.
- On the other hand, network security keys prohibit infectious websites or links from spreading across the network.
Thus, reliability, usability, flexibility, and overall security are guaranteed with network security keys.
Different Types of Network Security Key
The majority of network security keys can be divided into three categories and they are WEP, WPA, and WPA2. Here’s what you need to learn about each of the network security key types:
Wi-Fi-enabled devices come with a preliminary security password. WEP permits devices connected to each other in the same network to exchange messages. The messages remain encrypted, and outsiders of the network can’t decode the messages easily
WEP security keys can be composed of numerics in the range of 0 and 9 and characters from A to F. The length of the WEP key can vary within the range of 10, 26, or 58 characters. This network security key is not so strong, and hackers can guess it easily with a hit and trial method.
This network security protocol is an abbreviation of Wi-Fi Protected Access. The network security key came in 2003 as an amendment to the vulnerabilities due to the WEP protocol. It prohibits hackers from interpreting network security keys so easily.
This kind of security key verifies the authorisation of users to a particular network. You can enable the WPA security protocol for wireless adapters. Make sure that all your devices support the WPA protocol before making it universal for your network. Older routers and network devices might fail to support the WPA protocol.
What is a network security key, and which one is the most reliable? You know the answer to the first question, and most users think that WPA2 is the safest choice among network security key types. There are seams in the WPA protocol, too. Hence, you might want to switch to the WPA2 protocol.
In addition to this, the WPA protocol might not be compatible with every access point. WPA2-PSK, where PSK stands for Pre-Shared Key authentication, can work with most access points.
How to Locate a Network Security Key on Your Router?
What is a network security key in the case of your router? Is it the same as its password?
Now, the terminology and its classification might be a little difficult. Because each router manufacturer and Internet Service Provider uses different terms for the network security key assigned to a router.
Fortunately, every router comes with a label on it. The network security key should be mentioned there.
Here are the terms that can appear on the label, such as:
- Wireless password
- WPA key
- Network key
If your router doesn’t have any label or the label is tampered with, you can directly access the router’s web control panel. Here’s what you need to follow:
- Connect your computer to the router and access its web admin panel. Once you enter the configuration panel, the page must display your routers’ SSID, network keys, and other network details.
- If it doesn’t show anything, then head towards options such as Wi-Fi, Connection, or anything similar. The actual steps might vary from one brand to another. The Connection or Wi-Fi window should mention your router’s network details.
Hopefully, you know the router’s network security key and its type.
What is a Network Security Key for Windows and Mac Computers?
Whether it’s a Windows or a Mac device, your computer can show the network security key assigned to the wireless router.
If you own a Windows computer, then go through the following guidelines:
- Search for Network Status using the search utility. Click on the Network Status option from the result.
- Go for the Change Adapter Options settings from the window.
- Right-click the network connection to which your computer is connected.
- Select the Status option from the pop-up menu and then click the Wireless Properties option.
- Go to the Security tab and enable the ‘show characters’ option under the Network Security Key option. It will show you the wireless network’s security key.
If it’s a Mac device, then you need to access Finder, and then choose the Go option. Next, select Utilities followed by the Keychain Access option. Go for the Login option and choose the right wireless connection to which you have connected the Mac device.
After you have selected the active network, you can go to the Attributes tab. Check the box next to Show Password and it might ask you for the Mac Keychain password. Afterward, you can see the network security key in the Show Password field.
Whatever the network security key is for the home network, you should keep updating it. Additionally, make sure to assign a strong password for your router. It should have at least 10 characters, including a special symbol and number.
Don’t provide your network’s security key to any outsider. What is a network security key – hopefully, this guide has helped you to know about network security keys.