WEP stands for Wired Equivalent Privacy, a standard for Wi-Fi wireless network security. But what exactly are WEP keys?
Answer: A WEP key is a security code system for Wi-Fi networks. WEP keys allow a group of devices on a local network (such as a home network) to exchange encoded messages with each other while hiding the contents of the messages from easy viewing by outsiders. WEP keys are chosen by a network administrator. When WEP security is enabled on a network, matching WEP keys must be set on Wi-Fi routers and each device connecting over Wi-Fi, for them all to communicate with each other.
WEP keys are a sequence of hexadecimal digits. These digits include the numbers 0-9 and the letters A-F. Some examples of WEP keys are:
The length of a WEP key depends on the type of WEP security (called “encryption”) utilized:
- 40- or 64-bit WEP: 10 digit key
- 104- or 128-bit WEP: 26 digit key
- 256-bit WEP: 58 digit key
To assist with the process of creating correct WEP keys, some brands of wireless network equipment automatically generates WEP keys from ordinary text called a passphrase. Some Web sites also offer automatic WEP key generators that generate random key values designed to be harder for outsiders to guess