WPA2 is a security standard for wireless networks based on the Advanced Encryption Standard technology (AES). It is used with the IEEE 802.11a, 802.11b, 802.11g, 802.11n and 802.11ac WiFi standards, encrypting data in order to prevent unauthorized access. WPA2 is the successor to WPA. It has superseded WEP encryption, which was used in the very early days of wireless networks, but which has now been deemed unsafe and vulnerable.

How WPA2 differs to WEP and WPA

The WEP standard is considered vulnerable to attack, because the network key that is used can be determined quite easily, simply by recording and analysing data. The WPA standard that followed removed this vulnerability by introducing secure authentication, a dynamic key and the support of Radius services. With WPA2, the advanced AES encryption algorithm has been implemented and the previously used stream cipher RC4 replaced with the TKIP algorithm. WPA2 conforms to many of the basic security features of the IEEE 802.11i standard and meets stringent safety requirements, such as the requirements of FIPS 140-2, for the exchange of data in US authorities.

As WiFi networks protected with WPA2 are only vulnerable if the password is known, passwords that are as long as possible, with special characters, numbers and uppercase and lower case letters, should be used. In addition, it is advisable to avoid ordinary words that can be found in the dictionary. 

WPA2 and VoIP telephony

Modern Internet access routers are usually equipped with a WPA2 secured WiFi Access Point, Voice-over-IP features and extensive telephone system functions. When devices use the WiFi to make calls via Voice-over-IP, the WPA2 encryption standard ensures that the data sent and received in the wireless local area network is protected from unauthorized access by outsiders. This means that, even if no encryption is used within Voice over IP, such as the Secure Real-time Transport Protocol (SRTP), users have at least a basic kind of data security.

Further information

Voice encryption

The Secure Real Time Transport Protocol (SRTP) is based on the Real Time Transport Protocol (RTP). SRTP denotes a technical process for the encrypted transfer of multimedia data (for example speech)...

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