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Protecting WLAN with WPA3 – that’s how it works


With WPA3 you can significantly improve the security in the WLAN. We show how to set it up.

You can protect your WLAN in many ways: For example, switch off the wireless network when you are not using it. Or reduce the transmission power of the WLAN devices to prevent the signals from being received outside the home. A MAC filter, which only allows known devices in the WLAN, is also a protective measure. The safest and easiest method to deter wireless network spies, however, is to encrypt the data transfer in the WLAN: Then eavesdroppers will know that something is being transmitted, but they will not know what – provided you set a password and a strong enough password the same encryption method. This is what the new WPA3 standard does.

Establish a secure connection with WPA3

In transition mode, devices that already support WPA3 encrypt the connection with the new standard. All other devices can still use WPA2.

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In transition mode, devices that already support WPA3 encrypt the connection with the new standard. All other devices can still use WPA2.

If you have set WPA3 or transition mode in the router, you have to re-register the clients for a WPA3 connection. The automatic connection via WPS using the corresponding buttons on the client and on the router does not work with WPA3. If you click on the WLAN symbol on a Windows 10 computer to display the recognized networks, the message “WLAN is now even better!” May appear: Windows 10 means that there is a WLAN with Wi -Fi 6 and WPA3 has recognized if the built-in client supports these standards. In a WLAN-AC network, Windows 10 indicates the possibility of a WPA3 connection with the message “WLAN is now more secure”.

Now click on the WLAN that the computer should connect to and enter the password for your wireless network as usual. The client will now log into the router via WPA3. If the connection is established, you can check this in the WLAN settings of Windows 10: To do this, click under the name of the network on “Properties” or in the Windows settings on “Network and Internet -> WLAN” on the WLAN name . Under “Properties” the entry “WPA3-Personal” is now in the “Security type” line.

If your router shows an overview of the connected devices, you should also find a reference to the encryption there. With a Fritzbox, for example, this can be done under “Home network -> Mesh” if you click on “Details” on the corresponding WLAN client: In the next window, under “WLAN properties”, the entry “WPA3” is the encryption used. This is also the only way to check the use of WPA3 on devices whose operating system does not provide any information about the WLAN encryption used – for example iOS or iPadOS. Android smartphones may also show an entry for WPA3-Personal in the settings for the connected WLAN under Security. However, this only means that the smartphone generally supports WPA3, not that the current connection is secured with it.

Notebooks with a Wi-Fi 6 WLAN can use WPA3: Check the WLAN properties of Windows 10 to see if they do.

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Notebooks with a Wi-Fi 6 WLAN can use WPA3: Check the WLAN properties of Windows 10 to see if they do.

That makes WPA3 better than WPA2

How secure your WLAN is mainly depends on the password you use. Attackers aim to crack it by recording data traffic on the WLAN. With a special attack they can cause the router and client to break their protected connection. They then record the data packets that the two devices exchange in order to safely establish contact again. The weaker the password used, the faster an attacker can guess it – especially if he tries out possible passwords offline with high computing power.

The router and client use the password you entered on both devices to exchange multiple times to calculate a key that is intended to protect further data transmission. The PSK (pre-shared key) process is used with WPA2. Instead, WPA3 uses SAE (Simultaneous Authentication of Equals), which can calculate a more complex key than PSK from the password. It can then no longer be guessed in a reasonable time frame, even if the basic WiFi password is very simple.

More on the subject:

Protecting WLAN – How to secure your wireless network

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