How to Find Your WEP Key

The ways in which we can connect to the Internet has not changed much; it’s either a wired or wireless connection. Wired connections are typically plug-and-play – just connect the Ethernet cable to the computer and the connection to the network or Internet is made. Wireless connectivity, however, has a few more obstructions. One of these obstructions is the Wired Equivalent Privacy (WEP) Key.

The WEP Key is a ten digit series of numbers which is a security feature built into the wireless router or gateway. The WEP Key prevents unauthorized wireless access to the network and, by extension, the Internet. All computers that attempt to gain access through this wireless gateway must enter the WEP Key before granted network or Internet access.

The WEP Key is usually found on the router itself, usually below the serial number of the router. Newly manufacturer wireless routers now secure the WEP Key in the router which will have to be accessed through the router’s administration panel.

Equipment Required

  • Computer with Ethernet Port
  • Wireless Router

Material Required

  • Ethernet Cable
  • Pen
  • Paper

Instructions

  1. Power on the wireless router and wait ten minutes for the router to boot up properly.
  2. Using any computer with a functioning Ethernet port, connect the computer to Port One of the router.
  3. Navigate using the Start Menu to: Programs, then Accessories and click on “Command Prompt”
  4. At the prompt, type the following without quotation marks: “ipconfig”. Write down the”Default Gateway” as it will be used for the next step.
  5. Open any Internet browser, such as Internet Explorer or Mozilla Firefox, and then enter the “Default Gateway” as recorded from the previous step including “http://” at the start. The address should look similar to this (without the quotation marks): “http://192.168.1.1“. This address will display the router’s Administration Panel.
  6. Some wireless routers will require a password. The default password is usually stated in the instruction manual; if there are no instructions; contact the Internet Service Provider (ISP) for assistance. Common default username and passwords are:
    • Username: admin
    • Password: (no password)
    • Username: admin
    • Password: admin
  7. Upon successful login, navigate to the Wireless Setup page which should display the WEP Key. Write the
  8. Key down and store it in a safe, secure area which is readily accessible for future use.

Tips, Warnings and recommendations

  • Always issue the WEP Key to users who are responsible for holding the key specific to their computer. Unauthorized issue of the key may allow other users to connect to the wireless network without the knowledge or permission of the owner.
  • When logging into the Administration Panel, if the password is not any of the default options, nor supplied by the ISP and is not stated in the instruction manual, follow the router reset procedure as stated in the manual. This should allow the user to log into the Administration Panel of the router without a password. Ensure a password is set after this insecure login.