What is WIFI Protected Access (WPA)

What is WIFI Protected Access (WPA)

WiFi Protected Access (WPA) is an umbrella term for the three security protocols and security certification programs included in the protocol standard IEEE 802.11i. The name of the first protocol is WI-FI Protected Access (WPA) and the other two follows a numerical order with names such as WPA2 and WPA3. As it is understandable that the order also follows up with the improvement made and implemented. WPA came in out in the 2003 and the very next year the need to improve it was felt by Wi-Fi Alliance because it was also an improvised tool designed with a sole purpose in mind; to replace Wired Equivalent Access. The Alliance seemed to have been satisfied by the efforts of the developers because the third and final version of it was launched after several years in 2018 with enhanced security features compared to that of WPA2.

WPA was originally developed for the very reason it was used; to provide better protection than its’ predecessor WEP. Once WEP was considered to be the best security protocol and security certification tool available in the market but a team of researchers from the University of California found and pointed out many of the weaknesses that were present in it. At first, the Wi-Fi Alliance defended the WEP to be effective only in the areas it was designed for but soon they started the work of developing another tool to replace it. It was also referred to as the Draft IEEE because of the obvious reason that it was a replacement and will be implemented only if it succeeds in providing better security than the WEP.

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Some major changes were made in the WPA that was not included in WEP like the use of Temporary Key Integrity Protocol (TKIP) which produces a new and different key for the encryption of each data pack. As many keys as the data packets. It was a tool rejected in the development of the WEP but added in the WPA but it also showed a sign of weaknesses so it also had to be replaced. Within one year it was replaced by Counter Mode Cipher Block Chaining Message Authentication Code Protocol (CCMP) and that was the reason WPA2 had to be launched only one after WPA.

There are two types of WPA; WPA personal and WPA enterprise. Both were designed for the same purpose but WPA personal are more suitable for the small business since it does not require any authentication and WPA Enterprise works better for larger organizations.


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