Difference Between WEP Open and WEP Shared

WEP shares are a type of wireless network security protocol. You must enter a passphrase and provide a key that can be shared between the client and the access point.


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The access point sends a challenge message, and the client must decrypt it. Then, both devices use a pre-shared WEP key to encrypt data frames and authenticate each other.

Key Takeaways

  1. WEP Open does not require authentication to access a wireless network; WEP Shared requires a pre-shared key.
  2. WEP Open is more vulnerable to unauthorized access; WEP Shared offers slightly better security due to its authentication process.
  3. WEP Open and Shared use outdated technology; more secure alternatives like WPA2 and WPA3 are recommended.

WEP Open vs WEP Shared

The difference between WEP Open and WEP Shared is the authentication process. In WEP Open, authentication is not required, and anyone can use the network. In the shared mode, the access point sends a text challenge to the client, which must encrypt the message. Both parties must match the encrypted message with the challenge to authenticate.

WEP Open vs WEP Shared

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WEP Open is not required to have credentials to access the network. WEP Open does not consider whether the client has the right WEP keys.

WEP Open doesn’t authenticate,; only the clients with the same key can use the network.

The client authenticates when attempting to connect to an access point using WEP Shared. The Access Point then encrypts challenge text with its WEP key.

WEP shared requires that the client sends enough challenge frames to match the key.

Comparison Table

Parameters of ComparisonWEP OpenWEP Shared
DefinitionA default authentication protocol for the security of networks.WEP Shared is a four-step authentication process for the security of networks.
AuthenticationDoes not perform the authentication process.Performs the authentication process.
CommunicationWEP Open provides better communication.WEP Shared is less secure.
SecurityWEP Open is more secure as compared to WEP Shared.WEP Shared is less secured.
UseWEP Open is advised to use more.WEP Shared is used less.

What is WEP Open?

WEP stands for Wireless Equivalent Privacy. It is a widely used wireless security protocol.

It consists of two forms of authentication: WEP Shared and Open.

The latter does not require a client to authenticate with credentials. Instead, the access point sends a challenging message that the client must encrypt.

The access point compares the encrypted message to the challenge message. If the letters match, authentication is successful.

If the two messages don’t match, the network is insecure. September 1999 was the release date for WEP’s first version. The security of the first version wasn’t very high.

Its export restrictions prevented manufacturers from using more robust encryption, so they limited usability. One year later, those restrictions were lifted, and 256-bit WEP was introduced.

Both versions offer high levels of security. Nevertheless, if you’re concerned about your data’s safety, you might want to avoid wireless networks altogether.

In WEP Open, no authentication credentials are needed to access the access point. This means that any WLAN client can connect and authenticate itself with the access point.

This means that it is generally suitable for privacy. However, if you’re concerned about your data being intercepted, we recommend using WEP Shared.

This will ensure that only authorized clients can gain access to your network. It can help protect your network from hackers and other potential threats.

What is WEP Shared?

WEP shared is a security measure used to ensure the security of wireless networks. It performs a whole authentication process.

It does not let anyone in unless the authentication process is done.

WEP Shared is a four-step process. It requires both the access point (client) and the client to authenticate one another before the network begins.

First, the client sends the authentication request to the access point, and the access point immediately sends a clear-text challenge to the client.

The client then encrypts the challenge text, compares it with the received encrypted message, and sends another authentication request. The access point decrypts it, and if the two messages match, the authentication is successful, and the access point sends a positive response back.

If the two messages do not match, the communication does not proceed. In this case, the access point gets alert and disconnects the connection.

Because of the authentication process, WEP Shared is believed to be more secure. However, it is a weaker network. The challenge mechanism is more accessible, it is easy to figure out the WEP Key, and so it is not as secure as it sounds.

Main Differences Between WEP Open and WEP Shared

  1. WEP Open doesn’t authenticate, while the WEP Shared does.
  2. In open mode, WEP uses the shared key for authentication. In shared mode, the access points send a clear-text challenge to the client.
  3. WEP Open is considered to be more secure than WEP Shared.
  4. WEP Open does not need to provide credentials, while on the other hand, WEP Shared requires a four-step challenge-response handshake.
  5. The key is harder to decrypt in WEP Open than in WEP Shared.
  1. https://www.scirp.org/html/2-9702031_61992.htm?pagespeed=noscript
  2. https://link.springer.com/chapter/10.1007/978-94-007-1192-1_9
  3. https://ieeexplore.ieee.org/abstract/document/5189832/
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