A network security key is essential if you want to get online. You may not realize it but you’re already using one, or you wouldn’t be reading this.
In most cases, once the network security key is inputted your device will remember it and you’ll never need to type it again.
However, if the key gets changed or you get a new device, you’re going to need to know what it is and how to find network security key.
The Network Security Key
A network security key is often referred to as a wi-fi password.
Although it is possible to find open networks, most networks will be password protected.
That means, selecting a network from your wi-fi list and clicking on it isn’t enough.
You will need to enter a password to gain access to the network and, therefore, the internet.
That password is your network security key.
Any network that doesn’t require a password is unsecured. In short, anyone on the network will be able to see your personal data.
But, the best option is still to use a secure, password-protected, network, with your VPN.
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The length of the password and character options will be defined by the type of encryption used with your network security key.
There are three options:
1. Wired Equivalent Privacy
Generally referred to as WEP. This protocol is the original and not recommended today.
However, some older devices are only capable of connecting via WEP.
A WEP password is a sequence of hexadecimal values using 0-9 and the letters A-F.
The exact length of the key will vary according to the WEP version being used.
Anything up to 64-bit will have a 10-digit password, 104-128 bit uses a 26-digit password, and 256-bit connections use a 58-digit key.
It sounds complicated and safe but this type of connection is easy to hack.
2. Wi-Fi Protected Access
Commonly known as WAP, this protocol is better than WEP but still outdated compared to WAP2.
That means it offers a little more security but WAP is still old. It was created in 1999.
WAP passwords must be between 8 and 63 characters. Naturally, the longer it is the more difficult it is to hack.
But, you also need to be able to input it easily when required. In addition, some devices have limited field spaces for passwords.
The best option is to stick to 8-12 characters and change your password at least once a year.
3. Wi-Fi Protected Access 2
WAP2 is the updated version of WAP and the best currently available. It offers the most secure connection because it uses AES encryption.
In short, your data is encrypted. Combine this with a good VPN and you can surf safely, knowing your password and your data are unlikely to be hacked.
How To Find Network Security Key
The more complex your network security key the safer your network and the harder it will be to remember.
You need to know how to find network security key on any device.
1. On the Router
If you are still using the default option that came with the router then you can pick up the router and read the password from it.
Simply connect with the network name and the listed network security key and you’ll be online.
However, most people change this password and, even if you don’t, it can be hard to access your router as they are often stored in tight spaces.
Instead, providing you have already connected to the network, turn on your computer.
- Open an internet browser
- Type in the router IP address – it will be on the router or you can look it up online with the make and model of the router
- Log into the admin page of your router
- Select the Wi-fi security settings
- You should be able to see the SSID and network security key
2. A Network Security Key On A Smartphone
It’s even easier to find the network security key on a smartphone, providing it is already connected to the network.
- Go into the settings menu on your phone
- Find the option for connections
- Select wi-fi
- Open the network you are currently attached to
- You’ll see a QR code, scan this and your password will be revealed
- It should be noted that, if you’re on an iPhone, the procedure is slightly different.
- Enter the settings menu
- Choose wi-fi
- Look for an ‘I’ next to the active network and click on it – this will give you the IP address for your router
- Copy the IP address into a browser window
- Log into the browser and your password will be displayed
3. Within Windows 10
This works on computers, provided they are running Windows 10.
- Open the start menu, it’s usually in the bottom left of your screen
- Click on the settings option
- Choose the network and internet option
- In the advanced network settings, you’ll find the network sharing centre – select it
- Next, click on the active network – it will be highlighted
- Select the wireless properties option in the pop-up window
- Now select the security tab within the pop-up window
- You’ll see the security type, encryption type, and network security key
- Under this is the show characters box – tick it
- The network security key will be visible and you can make a note of it
4. Network Key & Mac
If you have a Mac the process is surprisingly similar to Windows.
- Start by opening a search on your device
- Enter ‘keychain’ into the search box and hit return or click the go option
- You’ll be presented with another search box – this allows you to search just keychain access
- Type in the name of your network. That’s the SSID
- It should appear, allowing you to click on it
- Again, there will be a list of information, including the password
- Select the box to show the password
- You’ll be asked to enter a Mac password. This confirms you have the right to see the password
- If you enter this correctly the network security key will be visible
Locating Network Security Key Without The Internet
If you have forgotten or lost your network security key and none of your devices are connected to the internet, then the above options won’t work.
You can look on the router to find the network name and key. If the default options are still in use this will get you online.
However, if you’ve already changed them and can’t remember the password, you have two options.
On every router, there is a reset option. This is usually a recessed button that will need to be pushed with a pin or something similar.
Locate the button and hold the pin against it for several seconds.
The router will flash, turn off, and then reboot.
It will be set back to the original network name and network key. You can use these to get online
Of course, you’ll want to change them to something more secure and make a note of the password.
You’ll also have to re-set up any personal settings within your router parameters.
Most modern routers have a WPS option. You simply press the button on the device and then select the network on your device.
You’ll have approximately two minutes to connect to the network or you’ll need to push the WPS button again;
Once you are connected, you’ll be able to follow the above instructions to locate your network security key.
How & Why You Should Change Your Wi-Fi Password
All routers come with a default password. If you don’t change it anyone can access your network.
The passwords are the same for all devices. All someone needs to know is what router you have.
To keep your data safe, you need to create a personal password. But, don’t include anything that can identify you or your address.
You’ll need to go into the router through a browser. Simply enter the IP address, it will be on your router or the installation instructions.
You can then select the wi-fi option and change the SSID – that’s the network name. You’ll also be able to change the SSID password.
Make sure you’re using WPA2 and enter a password that is unique, memorable to you, and unlikely to be guessed by others.
You can then enter this into each device to allow them to connect to your wireless network.
Dealing With Network Security Key Issues
There are several problems you can come across when entering a network security key:
1. Incompatible Devices
If you have an older device, it may not be able to connect to a modern router with WPA2. It’s often possible to change the type of security you use on your router.
But, this is not recommended as it puts your data at risk.
Instead, try to update your device or speak to the manufacturer about how it can be made compatible.
2. Incorrect Password
This is the most common issue and is easy to get wrong. Passwords tend to have letters, numbers, and special characters.
They may also use capitals. The format has to be adhered to exactly or the password won’t work and you won’t be able to access the network.
If you’re struggling, check the password is correct, re-enter it, and make sure the box to display the password is ticked.
This will allow you to double-check before connecting.
3. Router Issue
Finally, a problem can occur with the router. It can freeze or even crash.
You’ll notice the lights on the router are behaving differently than normal.
All you have to do is turn it off, wait 30 seconds, and turn it back on!
Yes, it really works.
Knowing how to find network security key is essential because you never know when you’ll need to locate it.
You are virtually guaranteed to be in a hurry and stressed, making the issue worse.
However, the above will quickly and effectively guide you through what you need to do and resolve the issue for you.
It is essential that you use WPA2 whenever possible and you combine this with a good VPN.
You’ll get data encryption and security, along with peace of mind, allowing you to make the most of your time online.