A network security key, more commonly referred to as a Wi-Fi password, is login information that keeps your internet connection and network secure. You will create your network security key the first time you set up your wireless router and need it whenever you want to connect a new device to your network. In this article, we’ll discuss what a network security key is, what types of network encryption are associated with it, and how to find your Wi-Fi password on different devices.
Network security key definition
A network security key is the password that protects your wireless network. If you have a Wi-Fi network in your home, you’ll need a password to connect your device. That Wi-Fi password is your network security key.
Each ISP and manufacturer can use different phrasing to refer to the network security key:
All these terms refer to the same thing – the code you need to connect a device to a secured wireless network.
A network security key prevents unauthorized access to your network. It’s like a key to the lock of your home, except in the case of a Wi-Fi password – you unlock (or don’t) the internet and wireless network.
If a network doesn’t require a password, it’s not secure. Consider thinking twice before connecting to such a network, especially if it’s public Wi-Fi. Protected networks use different types of network encryption, so you’ll need a password to access them.
You can use three types of network encryption to protect your network. One or more of these will be an option on your router:
You have a few options for finding your network security key.
If you kept your default network security key, your wireless network should still have the password set by the manufacturer. In that case, the password should be somewhere on the router’s exterior, usually printed on a small sticker with your SSID.
If the password isn’t visible on the router, check the box it came in or the manual that accompanied it.
You cannot see your network security key in plaintext on the latest versions of Android. But you can find a QR code that shares your network security key and connects devices that scan the QR code to the network automatically.
Here’s how to find your network security key on iOS:
You can find your network security key on Windows 10 or Windows 11 by following these steps:
You have a couple of ways to find your network security key on macOS.
One way is to use Keychain Access:
If you have macOS Ventura or later, you can also find your network security key by following these steps:
If you want to find your network security key on your computer, whether it’s Windows or macOS, you only need to be connected to the network. Even if there’s no internet connection, you can still find the network security key by following the instructions above.
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A mismatch error is a common problem when connecting with your network security key for the first time. It can occur even after you’ve joined. A few issues can be causing the problem.
If you log in to a wireless network for the first time and get a mismatch error, it may be because your phone or laptop is outdated.
Routers evolve like any other technology, and in the world of smart hardware and connected devices, it’s not uncommon for incompatibility issues to arise.
You can resolve this issue by updating your device and its network drivers. If it doesn’t help, you may have to contact your router’s tech support.
You’d also get a network security key mismatch error if you’ve typed in the wrong password.
We’ve all done it. Network keys are usually dense collections of numbers and letters, so missing one digit or character is easy.
Most login details will be case sensitive, so make sure you get all the upper- and lowercase letters in the right places. It can be helpful to type out your password in a note or word processor to see the text more clearly.
Even if your device is up to date and your password is correct, you can still get a network security key mismatch error if the router has crashed. A flashing or unusual light on the router would indicate the crash.
The best way to fix this is also the simplest – turn your router off and on again. It should resolve the issue.
Strong network encryption and a robust network security key are the main things that keep your network secure. But they are not the only way to boost your router security and protect your home network.
Here’s what else you can do to enhance the strength of your network’s security even further:
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