WiFi network security types

WiFi networks allow people the convenience of using their favorite devices without having to be wired into an Ethernet connection. Yet despite the convenience, WiFi can create security risks, including potential cyberattacks. This is why wireless encryption is important. These protocols are in place to secure your network and protect your data from hackers.


When you look at the security settings for your wireless network, the encryption choices available will typically include WEP, WPA and WPA2. These differ in speed, performance, and the level of protection they offer. For most users today, WPA2 is the best option, as it supports the most secure method of encryption. 

How to set up WPA2 on your network

Briefly, here’s how to set up WPA2 security on a CenturyLink modem (router):

  1. While connected to your home WiFi network, open a web browser and type into the URL field. This will bring you to your modem settings portal.

  2. Log in to your secure portal using your admin username and password. These are printed on the sticker that usually comes affixed to the bottom or side of your modem.

  3. Once logged in, select the Wireless Setup icon from the menu.

  4. Depending on your model of modem, you will find the encryption settings in either “Basic Wireless Setup” or the “Wireless Security” section. You can see screenshots of the two versions below.

Setting the security type - Version A

Wireless security - type 1

Setting the security type - Version B

Wireless security - type 2
  1. Select “WPA2 – Personal” from the dropdown menu for Security Type.

  2. While you’re there, consider changing your WiFi security key to a strong, unique password. This will further protect your WiFi network from potential intruders.

  3. Select “Apply” to save your changes.

WEP vs. WPA vs. WPA2

Let's take a closer look at the different encryption types that you may see in your options.


Wired Equivalent Privacy (WEP) – This was the first-ever security protocol, used from 1999 to 2004, which makes it the oldest type. Though WEP was designed to protect networks, it had poor security and was difficult to configure. A WiFi network using WEP today is considered the least secure and should be upgraded or replaced in order to protect your internet activity.


WiFi Protected Access (WPA) – As an improvement on WEP, WPA was created in 2003, and offers more secure encryption for your WiFi network, but still isn’t considered the best security option. Why? Some elements of WEP were kept as part of WPA to allow for compatibility with older devices. This means WPA has similar vulnerabilities to WEP and can be hacked more easily than its successor, WPA2.


WiFi Protected Access 2 (WPA2) – Not long after WPA came out, WPA2 became available. WPA2 solved many of the issues of WPA, and provides stronger security with easier setup. Until just recently, WPA2 was considered the top standard in encryption types. Soon, WPA3 will start to take its place in newer devices. 

For complete instructions, visit our wireless security page, or browse other wireless setup options available to you through your settings portal.

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