Do you ever wonder “what does WPS mean on a router?” Your new WiFi router works fine by itself after you have configured it. But what does that other button do? Why is it there near the Ethernet, USB and other connectivity ports? To save you from guessing, this article will explain WPS and everything else that you need to know about it starting with its meaning.
What Does WPS Mean on a Router and how does it work?
WPS stands for WiFi Protected Setup. It is designed to offer a faster and easier connection to the wireless router. However, it is not compatible with devices that support WEP. It is only compatible with wireless devices with WPA Personal and/or WPA 2 Personal.
Who invented WPS?
In early 2007, the WiFi Alliance introduced WPS. The goal of this feature was to help home users who did not want to worry about setting up passwords and security settings, making connectivity between routers and devices quicker.
The WiFi Alliance is a non-profit association that is responsible for developing and promoting Wireless Fidelity Technology. They are also the association that certifies routers and other WiFi products, checking that they are conforming to their interoperability standards.
How to use WPS?
In a regular setup, connecting your smartphone or laptop to a secured wireless network requires you to know the SSID or the network name as well as its password. The setup for WPS is not the same. When you use it, the devices no longer need to enter a password just to connect to the network.
If you need to connect your laptop or smartphone to the WPS features, here are the steps that you need to do:
- Locate the WPS button of your router then press it.
- Open your device (it could be a laptop or your smartphone) and connect it to the name of your wireless network.
- You won’t be asked for a security password, so your device should be connected to the network automatically.
The method works regardless of your device or gadget. It even includes wireless printers and range extenders, allowing you connect quickly without interruption. If you are configuring a wireless printer for WPS, the process is still the same. You should look for the WPS button on your router and not your printer.
For clarity, here are simple step-by-step instructions for using WPS with a wireless printer:
- Make sure to place your wireless printer within the range of your WiFi router.
- Press and hold the wireless button on the control panel of your printer until the light blinks, signaling that WiFi is enabled.
- Press your wireless router’s WPS button.
- Wait for up to 2 minutes, allowing the two devices to establish a network connection. It is better if you have a printer with a network menu as you can set up the WPS process from there.
- Your printer and WiFi router should be connected if there are no problems or troubleshooting.
What are the operating systems that are compatible with WPS?
The WPS feature is not supported by all kinds of OS. In fact, only three of the common operating systems work with this feature. Those are Windows, BlackBerry and Android. Users of Mac or Apple products cannot use the WPS feature, nor can users of Linux Mint or Ubuntu as they don’t support this kind of setup.
What are the dangers of using WPS?
Aside from knowing what WPS means on the router, you also have to know what dangers it could bring. One of the problems with using the WPS feature is insecure connectivity.
According to its standard, aside from pressing the WPS button, users can also use a PIN to connect to their wireless router. All routers that have this feature come with an auto-generated 8-digit PIN code that cannot be changed. This works with wireless routers that support WPS but do not have the press button.
Stefan Viehbock, a security researcher, has said that the PIN used for WPS is vulnerable to hackers. They can easily use brute force attacks to guess the password of the router. According to him, the 8-digit PIN code is read by routers but only the four digits of it are checked.
Therefore, any hacker can guess the PIN code and then guest the next 4 digits next. A hacker could do this in around 7 hours, and once the PIN is guessed the hacker would be able to connect to the WiFi network, gaining complete access.