What is a Network Security Key and How to find it? [Ultimate]

What is a Network Security Key

Whenever you buy a wireless access point device simply called a router, it comes with a default network security key to allow you to connect to it for the first time.

In this post, we will talk about everything related to What a network security key is and how to find your network security key on the computer? So keep reading the post. We will talk about the difference between network security key and Wifi password as well.

What is a Network Security Key?


What is a Network Security Key

A network security key is simply “Your Wifi Password”. This key is used to connect to the Wifi device and thus it must be correct in order to make a connection to the Wifi device properly.

What are the different types of Network Security Keys?

The most commonly used network security keys are Wired Equivalent Privacy(WEP) and Wifi Protected Access(WPA/WPA2).

Let’s talk about these different types of security keys further to get a basic understanding in order to protect your home wireless network system.

  • WEP (Wired Equivalent Privacy)

WEP security keys use a static 40-bit key for encrypting the data that transfers from your router and devices to other places. It is certainly one of the oldest types of security keys. These keys let devices on a network exchange encrypted messages with each other while blocking those messages from being easily decoded and read by outsiders.

WEP keys are a sequence of characters taken from the numbers 0 through 9 and the letters A through F. Here is the example of WEP key = F45HI00WR3. These types of keys are very rarely used now and they shouldn’t be used as these are less secure.

The required length of a WEP key could be 10, 26, or 58 characters long, depending on which WEP version is running. WEP keys can be automatically generated for ease of use.

  • WPA(Wi-Fi Protected Access)

WPA was developed to replace the old WEP because that was a weak type of security. It is used for both authentication and encryption purposes. WPA uses one of two encryption methods to make it harder to crack: Temporal Key Integrity Protocol (TKIP) and Advanced Encryption Standard (AES). Another feature of WPA is its built-in authentication support which was not available in WEP security.

You can easily compare both WPA and WEP and you will see that WPA keys are much stronger than WEP. Because WPA uses TKIP technology that produces 128-bit key dynamically each time a packet arrives. While WEP only uses a 40-bit key that doesn’t change.

  • WPA2 (Wi-Fi Protected Access)

WPA2 is an even more secure version of WPA because it uses the AES algorithm that is faster, and more advanced algorithm than what was previously used. It is the most commonly used form of network security key these days. WPA2 keys are more secure and harder to crack, and just like with WPA, it also uses a temporary key that changes with each and every packet.

It uses a pre-shared key (PSK) authentication that makes it more secure and reliable than WPA. It was designed for home users like us who don’t have access to enterprise authentication servers.

The best and most secure security key would be WPA2 as it provides additional protection to your home network. On the other hand, WPA3 devices are also appearing and will be used in the near future when WPA2 phases out.

How to Find Your Network Security Key?

Whether you have a fiber optic modem router or a regular wireless model, you can use different methods to find the network security keys. Here are some of the easy and quickest ways to find:

  • How to Find the Network Security Key on a Router

Network Security Key on a Router

Most of the time, your router has a sticker that has listed a Wireless Network name also known as SSID, and the wireless key password which is your network security key. Network security keys are a combination of characters such as G23g32uc2.

  • How to find Network Security Key on Windows

If you are already connected to Wi-fi on your computer and couldn’t remember the security key and you want to find out. Follow these simple steps to show your password if your device is connected to Wi-fi Network.

If you have Windows 10, follow the steps below to find the key in your settings.

  1. Right-click on the Start menu
  2. Click on “Network Connections
  3. Click on “Network and Sharing Center
  4. Click on the name of your WiFi network 
  5. Click on the “Wireless Properties” button.
  6. Go to the Security tab
  7. Select the “Show Characters” checkbox to reveal your network security key
  • How to Find the Network Security Key on Mac

If you are using a Mac, and you want to find your network security key then follow simple steps below:

  1. Click the search icon on the top right side of your screen
  2. Search the phrase “Keychain Access
  3. When the Keychain Access screen pops up, double click on the name of your WiFi network
  4. Select the “Show Password” checkbox
  5. Enter your Mac password to reveal your network security key.

How to change your Network Security key?

Whenever you get a new router or access point, one of the first things you should do is change the default network security key, also known as the Wi-Fi password.

Please note that your wireless network will be visible to anyone within range, so it is important not to leave the password as default and to set a safe and secure password.

How this is changed will vary from one router or access point, but we hope the steps below will help you log in to your router and find the option to change it. I’ve also included some helpful links to the instructions for some of the most popular routers below.

There are two main steps necessary to change the security key of your network. Log in to the router or access point first, and then change the existing security key. I use Windows to describe these steps, but the method of finding the IP address is similar to other operating systems as well.

How to Find the IP Address of Your Router or Access Point

Follow these steps to find the IP address of your router or access point on windows computer.

  1. Right-click on the Start button and select Run.
  2. Type cmd in the box and press Enter.
  3. In the command prompt, type ipconfig and press Enter.
  4. Now, note the Default Gateway; this is the IP address of your router/access point.

Logging in to Your Router or Access Point

  1.  Open a Web Browser and type in the IP address you found when using the ipconfig command into the address bar and press Enter.
  2. You will be presented with the login page of your device. Enter the default credentials which are usually found on the back of the device itself.
  3. Look for a menu described as Wireless, Wireless Security, Advanced Settings, or Wireless Settings and click on it. You may need to check several menus in order to find the option.
  4. If it isn’t already, select WPA2 as the security method.
  5. Change the wireless password to something strong that consists of at least 10 characters, a mixture of uppercase and lowercase letters, numbers, and symbols.
  6. Save the changes and log out of the router or access point.
  7. Re-connect all of your devices to your wireless network using the new password.

Here are some of the popular router instructions on how to change your network security key:


Unable to Connect to a Wireless Network?

If you try to connect to a wireless network and receive an error message, there is a network security key mismatch. Entering the wrong password is the most common reason for the wrong combination, but that doesn’t mean there aren’t any others.

Wrong Password:

The most common reason for receiving an error about a mismatched network security key is simply entering the wrong password. Be sure to verify the password carefully and note that it is case sensitive and that the language your operating system uses can affect the location of certain characters on the keyboard.

A tip would be to type the password in a visible field first (for example, the username field), because this will allow you to see how the password appears when you type. You can also type it into an app like Notepad and then just copy and paste it into the password field.

Incompatible devices:

If you have a particularly old device, it may not support the new WPA2 security keys most commonly used today. This can cause your device to see the network but not be able to connect because it supports various network security key protocols.

Router or Access Point Issues:

We’ve all experienced it when a router or access point just doesn’t behave the way it should and needs to be restarted. If there is no physical switch on the device, it works to turn the power off and then plug it back in. Fortunately, this is not often necessary.

Reset the router:

If all else fails and you are still unable to connect to your wireless network, you may need to reset the router to factory settings. Before doing this, you need to find the default username and password and have them on hand. It also doesn’t hurt to peruse the settings in case you need to change anything after the reset. Some routers provide backup functionality where you can back up the configuration before restoring it.

What Is the Difference Between a Network Security Key and a Password?

Both Network Security Key and Password are the same terms referred to the password of your Wi-fi router or access point.

Where is the network security key on the router?

Network Security which is also called password can be found on the back of the router on a small label. You will find your network security key there.

What does a network security key look like?

Network security keys are a combination of characters, such as 45EfGue21.

What is the network security key for Wi-Fi?

Network Security Key is the password of your Wi-fi router which you can find on the back of your router. You can also find your security key on the computer.

Written by Frederick Jace

A passionate Blogger and a Full time Tech writer. SEO and Content Writer Expert since 2015.

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