Cox Communications
  • Ashburn, VA
    Ashburn, VA

    Let us know the location you'd like to browse.


    Already a Cox Residential customer?

    Looking for Business services? Go to Cox Business home




Safe and Sound

WPA vs WEP: Which One Provides the Best Wireless Security?

Wireless Security

WiFi Protected Access (WPA and WPA2) and Wireless Equivalent Privacy (WEP) are the two most widely used security programs for protecting wireless networks, but both programs have their supporters and critics. While it’s true that polite, fact-based debate is a hallmark of a civil society, if you’re looking for a solid recommendation to help guide your decision on this important home security matter, you’re in the right place.

First: Wireless Security and Why You Need It

Before we get to our recommendation, we want to first explain why it’s important to secure your wireless network. That’s easy! An unsecured wireless network and everything you do on it – from using your credit card to buy stuff to sending important work files to your downtown office – can easily be hacked or opened and seen by anyone within range of your network. Also, people within range can tap into your wireless Internet connection without you ever knowing it and use it for… whatever they want to use it for.

How Does WPA and WEP Work?

You definitely don’t want anyone cutting into your wireless network, so you should get a security program to protect it. How do WPA and WEP achieve this? Both programs use an encryption method that changes everything you send wirelessly into a secret code that is deciphered after it reaches the intended recipient. If anybody intercepts the wireless transmission, all this person would see is a bunch of garbled data. WPA and WEP are two encryption standards used for this purpose.

Cox Recommends WPA

In keeping with expert findings on this topic, Cox recommends you use a WiFi Protected Access program (WPA and WPA2). Many studies have found that WPA provides much better protection than WEP and is also easier to use. Also, WPA support is built into most new operating systems and virtually all modern wireless hardware and operating systems. WPA2, a more recent version of WPA, is found in newer devices and operating systems and provides even stronger protection.

WPS Also Recommended

Another recommended security program is Wi-Fi Protected Setup (WPS). One key reason why WPS has earned our recommendation is because it uses the WPA encryption type to secure your wireless network. Users will also appreciate that it is relatively easy to set up and connect to their home wireless network. To use Wi-Fi Protected Setup, make sure your router can support it and that your operating system and hardware supports WPA encryption.

When WEP is an Option

You may discover that some of your older wireless devices only support WEP protection, things like Media Players, Personal Digital Assistants (PDAs) and Digital Video Recorders (DVRs). Cox recommends you use the WEP program available in these devices to help protect the wireless connection supporting them. True, WEP is not as strong a program as WPA, WPA2 or WPS, but some protection for your wireless communications is better than no protection at all.

For more information on securing your wireless network and devices, please click here.

Learn Highlights

Maximize your at-home viewing experience with a home theater.

Get ready for a lesson in what's so hot about sports with Cox... and a healthy dose of smack talk.

Forget the movie theater! Experience 3D at home with Cox Advanced TV.

People love Facebook or they hate Facebook. Whatevs, as the kids say.

Video: Tech Tips

Get pointers on how to best use your clicker.

Learn how to get the most from your TV service with the pros at Cox.

The pros at Cox give their tips on setting up your home network.

Maximize your at-home viewing experience with a home theater.

Learn how to get the most from the Web with the pros at Cox Communications.

Setting up parental controls is easy with Cox.

Worried about online safety? Learn about security from the Cox pros.

Video: User Stories

Let your Cox services help keep your family bond strong, even if you're not all under the same roof.

Find out how this family stays connected across the country.

Find out how this family uses Cox services to stay ahead of the curve.

Bring it all together to stay in touch with the world.

If music is your life, Cox services can help you live it.

How can you keep your kids safe with so much out there?

Get ready for a lesson in what's so hot about sports with Cox... and a healthy dose of smack talk.