Introduction

In this modern world, networking improves and makes our life easier. But always the level of security it provides is an important factor. A network security key is a password used to authenticate client requests to a network or device. The client requested with the correct network security key will only be granted to access the network and when it is wrong their access will be denied. A network security key will protect your network from intruders. Simply, a Network security key is used to maintain the security of a network. 

  1. What is a Network Security Key?
  2. Different types of network security keys
  3. Where to find the network security key?
  4. How to fix network security key mismatch?

1. What is a Network Security Key?

Network security key is the password or passphrase which is used to get access to a private network or a device. This password can be digital, physical, or biometric in type. Every access point and router come with a specific network security key. It protects the secrecy of your network from unwanted access, so that it is important to keep it strong. The exchange of data packets through the network will be authenticated by a certain network security key. Network security key establishes a secure connection between the user, who requests for access and network.

2. Different types of network security keys

A) WEP (wired equivalent privacy)

WEP is an old-fashioned type of network security key in which a static encryption code is used for granting access to a network. In WEP a 40-bit key is used to encrypt the data packets exchanged between router and devices connected to it. it uses cyclic redundancy method for checking errors and correction. But the amount of security it provides is very less such that hackers can crack the key easily which will expose the network to intruders.  

B) WPA (WIFI protected access)

WPA is other type of network security key which uses a temporary key integrity protocol (TKIP) for each packet of data. The network security key for each packet will be different, Thereby the range of protection will be stronger. The system will create fresh 128-bit key dynamically each time. This secures the data packets from attackers and unwanted access. The message integrity checks are performed for error detection and correction.

C) WPA and WPA2 personal (WPA-PSK) 

It is mainly used in personal or home scale networks that use pre-shared key (PSK) authentication. In PSK, the data is encrypted using a 128-bit key which is extracted from a pre-shared 256-bit key.

D) WPA and WPA2 enterprise 

It is used mainly in organizations and large-scale network systems. An enterprise authentication server is used for authenticating employees.

3. Where to find the network security key?

When you do not know the network security key or you forget it, there are some ways to look for it and find it. 

A) Network security key on the router

It is easy to find a network security key of a router. Probably it will be labeled on your router as “wireless security key”, “password” or “WPA key”. It can also be obtained from devices already logged in to the network.

B) Network security key in windows

  • Go to the start menu and right-click on it, select settings from options.
  • In settings, select the network and internet option. From there go to the network and sharing center.
  • In the network and sharing center, click on the name of a network whose security key is needed. 
  • Then click on the wireless properties button. From there go to the security tab.
  • There you will see the masked password. Click on the show password option to reveal the network security key.
  • Using this network security key any devices can be connected to your network

C) Network security key in Mac

  • Select go and then select utilities, from utilities click keychain access.
  • Select login and from the connected networks, click on the one whose network security key is needed. If you do not find needed network there, click system to find it.
  • When you select the network from list, the masked password will be there
  • Click on the show password option to reveal the actual network security key.

D) Network security key in the phone

  • Select the network settings in your phone. Select tethering and hotspot option.
  • Now turn on the WIFI hotspot option.
  • When you turn on it, it will show your hotspot name and default SSID. Along with that it will show the type of security key (WPA, WPA2, WEP) and network security key.
  • click on show password option to reveal the password.
  • You can alter this network security key whenever you need.
  • When your hotspot is turned on, other devices can connect to the wireless network with this specific network security key.
  • You can block the intruders and add them to block list, so that they will be never able to connect to your network.

4. How to fix network security key mismatch?

Network security key will contain alphabets, numbers, and other special characters. it is case sensitive too. When you enter this specific key and if it is showing mismatch comment, then it means the combination of characters you are entering is incorrect. You want to cross check the password by clicking on show password option and correct it with the actual password. The password will be different for different networks, so you cannot access one network with the password of another network. Clarify the password with the owner of network and correctly enter it to connect to the network. Sometimes mismatch also occur due to hang issues in router or access points which can be quickly solved by simply rebooting the device.

Conclusion

A network security key as a password is needed to access a network. it is used to authenticate the people entering in the network and thereby to protect the network from unwanted access. Network security key will be different for different networks. The different types of security key are widely used by everyone of us in our day-to-day life are online banking, transaction of money using OTP’s (one-time password), online shopping, while accessing the Internet service, while logging into the mail or any network devices etc. so that, it is always important to keep network security key strong and secure for reliable networking experience.

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