Wi-Fi protected access pre-shared key definition
Wi-Fi protected access pre-shared key (WPA-PSK) refers to a mode of Wi-Fi security which is commonly used in home networks and small businesses without enterprise-level equipment. It’s designed to provide more robust security than WEP, the original Wi-Fi protection protocol.
‘Pre-shared key’ means that a passphrase, or shared key, is set up in advance and is required to connect to the wireless network.
Types of Wi-Fi security protocols:
- WEP (Wired Equivalent Privacy). The oldest and least secure protocol introduced in 1997 as part of the original 802.11 wireless standard.
- WPA (Wi-Fi Protected Access). It was introduced as an interim solution after the WEP vulnerabilities were discovered but still had significant flaws.
- WPA2 (Wi-Fi Protected Access 2). It’s a popular security protocol that replaced WPA. It introduced the AES (Advanced Encryption Standard) protocol and includes WPA2-PSK, which uses a single pre-shared key for all devices, and WPA2-Enterprise, which uses a RADIUS server to authenticate each user individually.
- WPA3. Introduced in 2018, it’s the most secure protocol with several improvements over WPA2.
Wi-Fi protected access pre-shared key use cases
- Home networks. WPA-PSK is a common choice for home Wi-Fi networks because it provides a balance between security and simplicity.
- Small businesses. Smaller businesses that do not have the infrastructure for more complex systems use WPA-PSK as they can provide the passphrase to employees without the need for individual user accounts or an authentication server.
- Public Wi-Fi hotspots. Various public venues might use WPA-PSK, providing a password to patrons upon request.