Definition – What does WPA (Wi-Fi Protected Access) mean?
Wi-Fi Protected Access (WPA) is a security protocol that is designed to create secure wireless networks. Its functions are to address serious weaknesses in the previous system, the WEP (Wired Equivalent Privacy) standard. It is alternate to the WEP protocol but offers several enhancements in the way it handles security keys and the way users are authorized.
Glossary Web explains WPA (Wi-Fi Protected Access)
WPA included a 128bit temporary key integrity protocol that dynamically produces a new key of each data packets. WEP only had a smaller 40bit encryption key that was fixed and had to be manually entered on wireless access points. TKIP was designed to use with the older WEB devices with updated firmware. However, researchers did find a security flaw in the TKIP that concern weaknesses in recovering the key-stream of data packets, it could only encrypt short data packets. That caused TKIP to be replaced with CCMP encryption protocol in WPA2 that provides additional security.
WPA also implements something that is known Extensible Authentication Protocol for authorizing users. Instead of authorizing computer-based solely on their MAC address, Wi-Fi Protected Access can use numerous other methods in order to verify each computer’s ID. This makes it more complicated for unauthorized systems to get access to the Wi-Fi network.