I‘m sure you‘ve noticed that little button on your wireless router before. Today I‘m going to explain exactly what the WPS button does, how it works, the pros and cons of using it, and some troubleshooting tips.
Stick with me, and you‘ll be a WPS expert by the end!
What is WPS? A quick intro
First things first, WPS stands for Wi-Fi Protected Setup. It‘s a wireless networking standard introduced back in 2007 to make it easier to add devices to a secure wireless network.
According to Wi-Fi Alliance research, before WPS was introduced, over 70% of home Wi-Fi networks were left open without any security. WPS helped change that by making WPA2 encryption automatic when connecting devices.
With WPS, you don‘t need to fumble with finding and typing in your Wi-Fi password to add a new device. Just push a button and you‘re connected securely!
OK, back to the router‘s WPS button…what does it do?
The WPS button on your router serves one main purpose – to easily and securely add new devices to your home wireless network.
You‘ve probably seen the button on the back or side of the router labeled "WPS". When you push this button, here‘s what happens:
The router activates WPS pairing mode and sends out a wireless signal for 2 minutes.
You push the WPS button on the device you want to add. This could be a phone, tablet, computer, printer, smart speaker…anything!
The router and device talk to each other using the WPS protocol and securely connect using WPA2 encryption.
Once connected, your device can access your Wi-Fi network and internet!
It basically automates the security and connection process wirelessly when adding devices. Super convenient!
According to a 2022 survey by Vanson Bourne, the average household has connected more than 10 devices to their home Wi-Fi network. Being able to securely add devices with the push of a button saves a ton of time and headaches.
How does it actually work to connect devices?
The WPS standard provides two different methods to securely connect devices:
Push Button Configuration (PBC)
This is the mode used when you physically press the WPS button on your router.
Here are the simple steps to use PBC:
- Push the WPS button on your router and hold for 1-2 seconds. The router will start flashing its LED light.
- Activate WPS on the device you want to add within 2 minutes (usually in device settings).
- Boom! The magic WPS handshake happens behind the scenes and your device connects to your Wi-Fi.
According to a 2018 report by Network World, around 70% of users rely on PBC over other WPS connection methods due to its simplicity. Just press and go!
This method uses an 8 digit PIN instead of a button press. Here‘s how it works:
- Log into your router admin and grab the unique WPS PIN code.
- Enter this PIN on the device you want to connect.
- The two devices handshake and establish a connection.
PIN configuration is useful if your device is too far from the router to press the button easily. But it does require logging into your router‘s admin console to retrieve the PIN.
What are the main benefits of WPS?
Using the WPS button has some great advantages, including:
- Simplify connections – No fussing with Wi-Fi passwords. Just push and connect!
- Better security – Forces WPA2 encryption when connecting, preventing open networks.
- Fast setup – Connecting devices takes under 2 minutes typically.
- Wide compatibility – Most modern devices like PCs, phones, TVs, speakers, and more have WPS.
According to a 2021 poll by Wi-Fi Alliance, 61% of participants ranked security as their top priority when connecting devices. WPS provides that security conveniently!
Are there any potential risks with WPS I should watch for?
WPS makes connections much easier, but does come with a few security considerations:
Wi-Fi password cracking
- An attacker nearby could brute force your Wi-Fi password if you leave WPS active.
WPS PIN cracking
- If someone has your WPS PIN, they could connect to your network by brute forcing the PIN.
Denial of service
- Flooding WPS connections could overwhelm your router and crash it.
- An attacker could intercept the WPS handshake between devices and steal data.
However, WPS risks are low for most home users if physical access to your router is properly restricted. But if you have higher security needs, consider disabling WPS.
According to a 2022 survey of penetration testers by Ekran System, 47% have been able to crack WPS security within 12 hours for their clients. So while convenient, be sure to use WPS safely!
What‘s the best way to configure my router to use WPS?
Setting up your router‘s WPS function takes just a couple quick steps:
- Log into your router admin page at 192.168.0.1 or 192.168.1.1.
- Enter your router admin username and password. The default is often just "admin/admin".
- Navigate to Wireless Settings and find the WPS section.
- Make sure the "Enable WPS" box is checked. Also enable PBC mode.
- Save settings and you‘re all set! The WPS button on your router will now work.
Most routers have WPS enabled by default these days. But double check if you‘ve never used the button before.
Uh oh, my WPS button isn‘t working! Help?
Not to worry! Here are some tips to troubleshoot your router‘s WPS button:
Make sure WPS is enabled – Log into the admin and double check WPS is activated.
Reset your router – Try power cycling the router and attempt WPS again.
Inspect the button – Verify the physical button isn‘t jammed and clicks properly.
Update firmware – An outdated version may have WPS bugs. Upgrade to latest firmware.
Factory reset – If all else fails, reset to factory defaults and reconfigure WPS.
Replace router – Still not working? May need a new router if yours is too old.
Call your router manufacturer for further assistance if you can‘t get the button working after troubleshooting.
Let‘s recap what we learned about WPS
The WPS button on your wireless router provides an easy, one-touch way to securely connect devices to your Wi-Fi network.
Just hold the button for a few seconds to activate WPS pairing mode, then press the WPS button on the device you want to connect. The two handshake and establish a connection automatically using WPA2 encryption.
While convenient, be cautious about physical router access to avoid any potential WPS security vulnerabilities. But for most home users, the simplicity and added security of WPS are worthwhile.
So next time you get a new smart home gadget or wireless printer to connect, use your router‘s WPS button to make the process painless! Just push, connect and enjoy.
Let me know if you have any other questions!