Is key length important when using WPA-PSK Encryption ?

Discussion in 'Wireless Networking' started by Guest, Oct 9, 2006.

  1. Guest

    Guest Guest

    The default key that came with my DSL modem/router/switch is 10 characters
    long. I was planning to change the key and make it longer, but a DSL tech
    support person with my ISP indicated a longer key wouldn't be any more secure
    than a 10 digit key and that a longer key could/would cause my home network
    to slow down because of unnecessary overhead. Is this tech on top of his
    Guest, Oct 9, 2006
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  2. Guest

    David Hettel Guest

    In simple words NO!

    The longer the key the more secure it is. Short keys in WPA can make it less
    secure than WEP!

    David Hettel

    Please post any reply as a follow-up message in the news group
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    David Hettel, Oct 10, 2006
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  3. Guest

    Guest Guest

    Thanks for the reply, David.

    Would a 10 character key be considered a "short" key?

    Is there any consensus or generally accepted rules in regards to how many
    characters would be needed in a key for it to be considered
    poor/fair/good/better/best? (I'm assuming the key does not consist of any
    words or combination of words that could be found in a dictionary.)

    Is there a point at which the benefit from increasing the number of
    characters might begin to fall off and/or begin to adversely affect network

    I assume there's a limit as to the number of characters that can be used in
    a key. If so, do you know what it is?

    Thanks so much for any additional help you can give.
    Guest, Oct 10, 2006
  4. Guest

    Gordon May Guest

    Gordon May, Oct 10, 2006
  5. Guest

    Guest Guest

    Interesting! And I was wondering if I would be over-doing it with a 20
    character key.
    Guest, Oct 10, 2006
  6. Guest

    Rich Guest

    i use a 64-character WAP key on my wireless router. i've noticed no
    problems. if there is any slowdown its negligible.

    rich, n9dko
    Rich, Oct 10, 2006
  7. Guest

    Rich Guest

    at the rate at which data is processed the extra time needed must be
    64. longer is better.
    i think i typed "WAP" in an earlier post when i meant "WPA". in any
    case use the longer key and rest easy.

    rich, n9dko
    Rich, Oct 10, 2006
  8. Guest

    Guest Guest

    Thanks again, everyone--you're help is VERY much appreciated. I'll get the
    key beefed up right away.
    Guest, Oct 10, 2006
  9. The tech is completely wrong and has no earthly clue about how WPA-PSK is
    designed and implemented. The PSK (Pre-Shared Key) is not used to actually
    encrypt the data and its length does not change the length of the encryption
    key. The PSK is used by the client and AP to authenticate each other and
    produce the encryption key through a known shared algorithm (TKIP for WPA,
    AES for WPA2).

    Phil Doragh
    Philip Doragh, Oct 10, 2006
  10. True, but a short key can be broken using a dictionary- or brute force
    attack. That said, the way WPA-PSK is implemented in no way slows down
    the connection because the RC4 cipher still uses the hardware on the
    chipset the same way as WEP.
    Axel Hammerschmidt, Oct 20, 2006
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