What is the purpose of WPS (Wi-Fi Protected Setup)?

Wi-Fi Protected Setup (WPS) is a standard designed to simplify and enhance the process of setting up and securing wireless networks, particularly for home users. The primary purpose of WPS is to provide a user-friendly method for connecting devices to a Wi-Fi network without the need to manually enter complex security keys or passwords.

  1. PIN Method:
    • WPS allows users to connect devices by entering a Personal Identification Number (PIN) either manually or through a button-press mechanism.
    • The PIN method involves an eight-digit numeric code, where the first four digits represent the access point's PIN, and the second four digits are used as a checksum to ensure accuracy.
  2. Push Button Configuration (PBC) Method:
    • The PBC method simplifies the connection process by utilizing a physical button on the Wi-Fi router or access point.
    • When the user presses the WPS button on the router and initiates the WPS connection on the client device within a certain time frame, the devices exchange necessary information to establish a secure connection.
  3. Wi-Fi Protected Setup Protocol:
    • WPS employs a protocol to exchange information securely between the router and the client device.
    • The Extensible Authentication Protocol (EAP) is used for secure communication during the setup process, and the Wi-Fi Protected Access (WPA) and WPA2 security protocols are commonly employed to secure the wireless connection.
  4. Registrar and Enrollee Roles:
    • In the WPS process, there are two main roles: the Registrar and the Enrollee.
    • The Registrar is typically the Wi-Fi router or access point responsible for initiating and controlling the setup process.
    • The Enrollee is the client device seeking to connect to the Wi-Fi network.
  5. WPS Vulnerabilities:
    • Over the years, WPS has been found to have security vulnerabilities, particularly related to the PIN method. Some implementations allowed for brute-force attacks on the PIN, making it susceptible to unauthorized access.
    • Due to these vulnerabilities, many security experts recommend disabling WPS or using alternative, more secure methods for setting up Wi-Fi networks.