What Does WPS Mean?
If you have set up a wireless network in your home, then you have probably come across WPS. You have seen a button marked WPS amongst the ethernet ports on the back of the router or seen the term WPS in the configuration menu. Ever wondered what it means or stands for? Or which operating systems and devices provide support for it?
WPS or WIFI Protected Setup is a wireless security standard whose purpose is to make the connection between a router and wireless devices easier and faster. As the name suggests, WPS can only work for wireless networks. This is because it uses a password that’s encrypted with WPA2 personal or WPA personal security protocols.
This means that wireless networks that use WEP security are not compatible with WPS. Compared to WPS, hackers can easily crack WEP security with a simple set of basic tools and skills.
WPS is designed to simplify the process of connecting devices to WIFI. Whenever you want to connect your laptop or another smart device to your WIFI, you need to first go to your device settings, pick your wireless network, enter your security password, then press OK, and it’s connected.
You have to go through this process for your device to be connected to the WIFI. With WPS, you can successfully connect to a network without having to go through that process or entering a password. It sets up a wireless network with a secure WPA data encryption and an SSID and authentication, doing all the work for you.
How WPS Works
You know what it means, but do you know how it works? How exactly does it simplify the wireless connection process?
The first step is pressing the WPS button at the back of the router to switch it on for it to discover new devices. On your smart device, select the WIFI network you want to connect to, and it will automatically connect to the network. You won’t even need to enter your network password.
Any other device in the house that has a WPS button like range extenders and wireless printers will also connect to the network faster. All you need to do is connect them by pressing the WPS buttons on the devices without needing to input any data.
WPS achieves this by automatically sending the password, and the devices will remember them in the future. This means that you even need to use the button again. If you have devices that don’t have a WPS button to press, you will need to enter an eight-device code. You can find the code on the WPS configuration page, and once the code is created, the user can’t alter it.
WPS is enabled on most routers, but there are those that need to be turned on using the router firmware and administration user interface. In some models, WPS can be enabled by turning one button on or off.
If you have this type of model, press the button to turn the device on or off. Long press the button three times, and WPS will turn on. Since it is not the user that creates the security key for WPS, you never have to worry about intruders.
Operating Systems That Provide Support for WPS
When it comes to operating systems, WPS adoption is not that popular. However, the most crucial OS on the market, like Android and Windows, work with WPS.
Since 2007, Windows has had native WPS support. This support was implemented in Windows Vista and is now supported by Windows 10, Windows 8.1, and Windows 7. Android came on board with WPS native support when they released 4.0v Ice Cream Sandwich in 2011. Any versions of Android that have come after then have the WPS support. WPS doesn’t work with iOS and Apple’s OS X operating systems.
Other Devices That Work with WPS
WPS support is also found in other networking equipment. Modern wireless printers, for instance, feature a WPS button for establishing fast connections. Repeaters and range extenders also have WPS that allows them to connect to your network. Other devices include smartphones, tablets, laptops, and 2-in-1 devices, with their operating systems’ help.
While WPS will make connecting to your network easier and faster, the pin is insecure and can be easily hacked. WPS used the pin on your router and not the one you have created. Whether you’ve used the pin or not, the router still generates it, making WPS highly vulnerable to hackers and brute force attacks. So, even with all its advantages, there is still a need to improve security.