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Wifi Protected Setup (WPS)

WPS is a wireless network security standard that aims to make connections between routers and wireless devices faster and easier. WPS is only compatible with wireless networks that use a password protected by the Wifi Protected Access Personal (WPA) or Wifi Protected Access2 (WPA2) Personal security protocols. WPS does not work on wireless networks that use the detested Wired Equivalent Privacy (WEP) security, which can be easily cracked by any hacker with basic skills.

In a typical configuration, you need to know the network name (also known as the Service Set Identifier (SSID)) and password in order to connect a wireless device to a wireless network (also called WPA-PSK key). You must first select the network you want to connect to and then enter its security password on your device if you want to connect a device, such as your smartphone or laptop, to your wireless network.

How can WPS help?

Sometimes the connection process can be made simpler by WPS. The following describes how to make a WPS connection:

  • To enable the discovery of new devices, first press the WPS button on your router. Next, on your device, choose the network you want to connect to. Without entering the network password, the device joins the wireless network automatically.
  • Devices with their own WPS button can be connected quickly, such as wireless printers and range extenders. By pressing the WPS button on the router and then on those devices, these devices can be connected to a wireless network. No information needs to be entered at any point in the procedure.
  • An eight-digit PIN is used in a third technique. The PIN code on every router with WPS turned on is generated automatically and cannot be changed by the user. On your router's WPS configuration page, you can find this PIN. Even though some devices lack a WPS button, they still require the PIN because they support WPS. They authenticate themselves and connect to the wireless network if the pin is entered.
  • The final technique also uses an eight-digit PIN. Some devices that support WPS but lack a WPS button create a client PIN. The router will use this PIN when you enter it in the wireless configuration panels of your router to add that device to the network.

The first two methods are quick, whereas the last two methods offer no advantages in terms of how quickly devices connect to your wireless network. It is necessary to type the eight-digit PIN, and typing the wireless network password takes too long. The fourth method of connecting to a wireless network is even slower because the client device's PIN must be entered and the wireless configuration section of the router must be accessed.

Benefits of WPS -

  • When WPS is enabled on a network, an access point automatically configures its network name (SSID) and WPA security key.
  • When syncing WPS-capable devices, the SSID security key or passphrase is not required to be known.
  • Since WPS keys are generated at random, no one can predict or deduce your security key or passphrase.
  • It is not necessary to enter lengthy hexadecimal code or passphrase sequences.
  • One of the authentication protocols used in WPA2 is the Extensible Authentication Protocol (EAP), which is used to securely exchange data and network credentials over the air.

WPS drawbacks include:

  • WPS does not support network mode, which allows wireless devices to communicate with one another directly without an access point.
  • If there are WiFi devices on the network that are WPS certified or WPS-compatible, the WPS cannot be used.
  • Given that the WPS technology generates lengthy sequences of hexadecimal characters, adding a non-WPS client device to the network is very challenging.


The WPS protocol relies on an exchange of descriptive information that should take place before the user's action to initiate a series of EAP message exchanges. A new Information Element (IE) is added to the beacon, probe response, and, optionally, the probe request and association request/response messages to carry the descriptive information. In addition to type-length values that are purely informative, those IEs will also contain information about the device's potential and current configuration options.

After this exchange of information about each end's device capabilities, the user starts the actual protocol session. The session consists of eight messages, and if the session is successful, a message signalling the end of the protocol follows. When using different physical media or configuring different types of devices (AP or STA), the precise stream of messages may vary (wired or wireless).

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