You must have come across the term WPS while setting up a Wi-Fi router. It is a small button next to the ethernet cable port on the back of the router. Although it is present in almost all wireless routers, only a few people know its purpose. They are unaware of the fact that it this small button that makes it so much easier to set up a wireless network. If you are still wondering what it means, then this article should solve your queries. We are going to discuss in detail what WPS is and how it works.
What is WPS?
WPS stands for Wi-Fi Protected System, and Wi-Fi Alliance first created it to make the entire process of setting up a wireless network simple and easy. It made to make lives easier for those people who aren’t that tech-savvy. In the times before WPS, you needed to possess a good deal of knowledge about Wi-Fi and configuration models in order to set up a wireless network.
WPS technology works with wireless networks that use WPA Personal or WPA2 security protocols to encrypt and a password to secure the network. WPS, however, does not work if the security protocol being used is WEP, as it is not very safe and can easily be hacked into.
Every network has a specific name, which is known as SSID. To connect to a network, you need to know both its SSID and its password. Take, for example, the simple process of connecting your mobile phone to a Wi-Fi network. The first thing that you do is switch on the Wi-Fi on your mobile and search for available networks. When you find the one that you wish to connect to, you tap on it and then enter the password. If the password is correct, then you will be connected to the device. However, with the use of WPS, you can make this process even simpler. This will be discussed in the next section.
What is the use of WPS?
As mentioned earlier, WPS is a small button at the back of the router. When you wish to connect a device to the Wi-Fi network, turn on Wi-Fi on that device and then press the WPS button. Your device will now be automatically connected to the network when you tap on it. You will no longer require to put in the password.
Apart from smartphones, a lot of wireless devices like printers can be connected to the Wi-Fi network. These devices also come with a WPS button on them. In order to quickly connect the two devices, you can press the button on your printer and then press the WPS button on your router. This is as easy as it gets. There is no need to enter the SSID or password. The device will also remember the password and automatically connect from the next time onward without even pressing the WPS button.
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A WPS connection can also be made with the help of an 8-digit PIN. This method is useful for devices that do not have a WPS button but support WPS. This PIN is automatically generated and can be viewed from the WPS configuration page of your router. While connecting a device to a router, you can enter this PIN, and that will validate the connection.
WPS is a secure and easy means to establish a wireless connection between devices. Since most wireless networks use a Wi-Fi router, you will find WPS in-built in them. Some routers even have WPS enabled by default. Every Wi-Fi router comes with either the WPS button or at least support for WPS. Those routers that do not have a physical push button need WPS to be configured using the router’s firmware.
As mentioned earlier, most of the wireless routers have a WPS button located at the back of the device adjacent to the ethernet port. The exact position and design differ from one brand to the other. For some devices, a single button acts as the power button and WPS button. A simple short press is used to turn on or off the Wi-Fi, and a long press is used to enable/disable WPS.
You might even find a small unlabeled button with just the WPS symbol at the back of your device, or in some cases; it might be present on the front side. The best way to find out the exact location is to refer to the manual and if you still can’t find it, then consult the seller or your network service provider.
Which Devices support WPS?
Almost any smart device with Wi-Fi capability comes with WPS support. Starting from your smartphones to smart TVs, printers, gaming consoles, speakers, etc. can be easily connected to a wireless network using WPS. As long as the operating system on these devices supports WPS, you can connect them to your Wi-Fi network with a single push of a button.
Two of the most popular operating systems Windows and Android support WPS. All Windows operating system since Windows Vista comes with in-built support for WPS. In Android’s case, native support for WPS was introduced with Android 4.0 (Ice-Cream Sandwich). However, Apple’s Mac OS and iOS for the iPhone does not support WPS.
What are the Drawbacks of WPS?
One of the main drawbacks of WPS is that it is not very safe. As mentioned earlier, WPS uses an 8-digit PIN to establish a secure connection. Although this PIN is auto-generated and not used by people, there is a strong chance that this PIN can be cracked by hackers using brute force.
The 8-digit PIN is stored in two blocks of 4 digits each. This makes it easier to tackle each block individually, and instead of creating 8-digit combinations, two 4-digit combinations are more comfortable to crack. Using his standard brute force tools, a hacker can crack this code in 4-10 hours or a maximum of a day. After that, they can access the security key and gain complete access to your wireless network.
How to connect an Internet Capable device to a Router using WPS?
Internet-capable devices like smart TVs or Blu-ray disc player can be connected to a wireless router if both the device supports WPS. Follow the steps given below to establish a wireless connection between them.
- Firstly, make sure that your Wi-Fi router has a WPS button.
- After that, switch on your Internet-capable device and navigate to the network.
- Here, make sure that WPS is listed as an option as a preferred mode of connection.
- Now, let us start from the beginning. Press the home button on your remote to go back to the main screen.
- After that, open settings and then select a network.
- Select the Network set-up option. (This may be something different for your device like Setup Network Connections)
- From the list of options, select Wi-Fi, Wireless LAN, or simply wireless.
- Now, select the WPS option.
- After that select, the Start option, and your device will now start looking for wireless connections.
- Press the WPS button on the back of your Wi-Fi.
- After a couple of minutes, a connection will be established between the two. Click on the OK button to finish.
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WPS is a very convenient and simple method to connect devices to a wireless network. On the one hand, it saves time and eliminates complications, but on the other hand, it is vulnerable to security breaches. WPS was mainly designed for home networks so that various internet-capable devices can connect to the Wi-Fi router easily, and thus, security isn’t a major concern. Apart from that, some devices like the iPhone do not support WPS. In conclusion, it can be said that if you have WPS enabled router and tools that support it, then you can establish a connection between them but keep in mind that your security is at risk.