Home Tech Wi-Fi Protected Setup (WPS): An In-Depth Explanation

Wi-Fi Protected Setup (WPS): An In-Depth Explanation

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We are living in the world of modern science and in a time when the whole world is facing a crisis due to which most of the task now depends on technology, whether it is education or office related works, whether it is the law cases or anything but all these things depend on one common factor called the Internet.

Many people either have a direct broadband connection like using wifi. To protect our network from our internet stealing neighbors as well as from any attacker, we use the most common thing in the networking yet many users completely do not know about it so let start this journey of learning and getting familiarised with WPS together. 

Many people don’t know much about WPS, in this article, we are going to teach you what is WPS.

What is WPS?

WPS is the short form used for Wi-Fi Protected Setup which was originally named Wifi simple configure by Wi-fi Alliances.

WPS (Wifi protected Setup) is nothing but a network security setup that strives to make a connection between the router and wireless devices a lot simpler and easier so that a user with not much knowledge can also connect the network with the router.

What is WPS

WPS is generally used for securing a wireless home network as the idea of making WPS was to help and allow users who have zero to nil knowledge about options present to them to secure the network and also helps users to enter new devices in the pre-existing network without adding any long protection password and most of the router already have WPS support and are enabled as default.

Even though, this section was titled “What is WPS?”, but there is more to this topic.

Functions of WPS(Wifi Protected Setup):-

WPS is a standard security setup that only works for wireless networks that are encrypted with WPA (Wifi Protected Access) or WPA2( Wifi Protected Access Version 2 ), and WPS does not work with a wireless network using WEP( Wired Equivalent Privacy) because it was very easy for cyberattackers even a beginner to crack it, therefore, WPS use WPA2 or WPA instead of WEP.

Wifi Protected Access is a security protocol that uses encryption for securing the access and information shared between connected Wifi devices but the drawback is that it uses an older version of encryption technology which serves as a chance for hackers to crack and get the confidential data whereas WPA2 is an advanced version of WPA that use better encryption technology due to which it is hard to crack. 

In WPS, to connect a wireless device with any wireless network it is necessary to know the name of the network also called SSID( Service Set Identifier is a unique ID used for naming wireless networks) and the password of the network also known as WPA-PSK key but in WPS, a user does not have to enter this information again and again due to which the user time is also conserved.

How WPS enables a new device to add to the network?

WPS standard puts pressure on safety and efficacy so to add a new wireless device with the network, a computer technician can use these 4 simple methods to do so but only two out of 4 methods are used by the WPS certification. These 4 methods are:

PIN method

The Wi-fi alliance made the PIN(Pin Identification Number) method one of the ways to connect the device with the network. In this method, a PIN is used to enter that is already given to the network by the computer also known as the enroller which can be found as a sticker or display on a new wireless device.

This PIN is usually inserted at the network’s access point. The access point also provides a  unique PIN which is the key for the new devices to join the network.

The main aim of making a PIN was to ensure that the unintended device won’t be able to connect with the setup network and to provide aid against hackers so they won’t be able to connect and get the computer’s information.

This method is compulsory for every mode and they should support it.

Push Button Method:

In this method, a user needs to push the button, as they can be a  physical or software-based button. Many routers have a physical WPS button whereas some don’t even have a button and users have to insert an 8 digit code.

Note: When a user pushes the button, a time of 2 minutes or less is used as a setup period to switch the WPS button, during this time any unintended device can get attached to the network.

Push Button Method is mandatory for the Access point to support but not for the connecting devices, it is optional for them.

Near Field Communication Method:-

Near Field Communication works on connecting the devices based on the Near Field Communication so to connect a device, users have to bring the client closer to the Access point so that they both can have a Near Field Communication between them.

USB Method:-

In this method, a USB flash drive is used by the computer workers to exchange the data between the new client’s device and the network’s Access point.

Note: The last two methods are not covered by Wifi Alliances and the USB method is deprecated, they are both usually referred to as out of band methods as the information is not transferred through the Wifi channel.

The registrar is a device that can be an access point, wireless router, PS television is able to detect a new wifi device in the range and let the user enter the PIN and add a new device to the network. This mode because of the above reason allows the user to authenticate the data.

The working analysis of WPS:-

Many hands are always raised to ask the question about how to start the WPS. Many routers have the WPS button near the Ethernet port.

A user can simply push the WPS button to turn on the device to connect to the network, in the majority of routers, a user is not required to enter any information as our computer will not have any problem in remembering the information.

In some routers, in place of a button users have to put an 8 digit code found in the WPS configuration that a user can not change, it is automatically created and there are some routers in the market that have 2 physical buttons to start as well as to connect the device with the network followed by a time period of 2 minutes or so.

Should we use WPS or not?

The sole purpose of the WPS was to connect the new devices with a pre-existing home network faster and simpler so that a rookie can also access the WPS and can ensure their network’s safety as well as connect multiple devices without fretting about having no knowledge. 

But using WPS can be extremely dangerous for the network as it is awfully insecure therefore acting as a treat for cyberattackers to attached unintended devices in the network.

Almost all the routers have WPS as a default so we should turn off the WPS and instead use WPA or yet the better version of WPA2 as it has better encryption technology compared to both combines together to handle the online brute force attack.

WPS and WPA can not handle brute force attacks as they do not have modern technology to fight against the attack.

The Merits and Demerits of WPS:-

After our long journey of knowing what is WPS and its function let’s know about its advantages and disadvantages.

Advantage:-

It aims to make devices connect with the already existing network easier, faster, and a whole simpler for a person with no computer experience what so over. In any other mode, users have to continuously insert the SSID as well as the password but WPS conserves the user’s time by just turning on the button.

It is easy to handle so that even rookie, new-cummer, and even elders with zero knowledge can connect with the wifi as well as it does not require complicated methods to configure or long procedures to connect the device with the home network. A user can gradually change their wifi password.

Disadvantage:-

The most dangerous thing about WPS is that it is not secure as it works on router PIN’s code, it is an 8 digit code that access point scans from the first to last digit.

An excellent hacker can hack this PIN code within a day leading it to have the security key as well as complete access over the house network.

WPS is found in most of the router so if you have a router with a physical button then any random person can switch it on and see the PIN and use it whenever they want and WPS does not work with WEP protocol.

Well, the main question arises that we should turn WPS on or not, the answer is that yeah WPS is easy to work with, easy to operate it, easy to add new devices to the network yet is not very secure and can face a brute attack force leaving it in the hands of attackers so that they have complete access over the network.

It is recommended by many computer experts to use WPA or the better version of the WPA that is WPA2. They both are having modern technology in their architecture.

Wrap-up:-

In this article, we have tried to give you an answer to the question, what is WPS? You might have heard of WPS, but it is a very vast topic, therefore, it required a complete article to understand it.

There are many methods to enable it such as the PIN method, Push method, USB method, and NFC method. There many merits and demerits of this as well which we have discussed in the article.

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