Have you forgotten your network security key? Fear not because we’re here to teach you how to change your network security key in a few easy steps.
What is a network security key?
Simply put your network security key is the password to your network. Your network could be a WiFi network, a simple home network or probably even your work network.
A network is a group of interconnected computers that can communicate with each other. Networks have 3 categories:
LAN stands for Local Area Network, it is categorized as small networks that connect computers in a small area like a room or a small building. Common examples of LAN are WiFi networks, Mobile Hotspots, and even your school’s internal network.
MAN stands for Metropolitan Area Network. This network is categorized as the second biggest network. Networks of this size generally cover large geographical areas such as cities. It is difficult to see such networks nowadays but in the olden days, the radio stations would qualify for Metropolitan Area Networks.
Finally coming down to the last category, WAN or Wide Area Network is the biggest network of all of the other networks. Common examples of this network are the World Wide Web or probably even the communication link between the mars rover and the communication centre at Huston.
These categories are independent of the number of computers on the network but are rather dependent on the geographical distance covered by the nodes or users of the network.
Now coming back to the initial question of “what is a network security key?”A network security key helps you secure your network by only letting selected individuals access the network, you can decide who these individuals are by sharing the network key with them.
You can decide the network security key, in fact, you are the one who sets it. In case you did not set up the network yourself we’re going to show you how to reset the network key yourself for smaller networks such as your WiFi.
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What is the importance of a network security key?
A network security key helps you safeguard your network from hackers and other people who might be stealing your network bandwidth.
Without a network security key, your network is vulnerable to hackers who might read your private information by accessing your computer and might even ask for ransom or might bug your computer, all of which are grave consequences of not setting a network security key.
Once a hacker has access to your network, they can figure out the encryption used and then break that to be able to access the computers of people who are connected to the network. To prevent just about anyone from having access to your network, you set a password which is essentially the network security key.
What are the various kinds of network security?
Your network could be secured by either one of the three encryption types :
- WEP(Wired Equivalent Privacy) : Encrypts data using static encryption codes.
- WPA (Wi-Fi Protected Access) : Much more secure as compared to WEP, it uses advanced techniques to secure your packet.
- WPA2 (Wi-Fi Protected Access 2) : WPA2 is the most common encryption method and is the most secure encryption of all the different methods in this list.
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How to reset your network security key?
Now that you understand network security better, let’s talk about how you can reset your network key.
STEP 1 :
In case your network already has a network security key and you’ve forgotten it, hit the reset button that’s there behind your router, usually you need to use a pin or something of that sort to be able to access the button.
This button will completely reset your network. Make sure to read the entire article before you hit this button as you will be disconnected from the internet once you reset your network.
When you hit the reset button, all parameters of your network are reset. Your password is set to none, your WiFi is no longer encrypted and all your IP addresses and IPV settings are reset. This is why your internet connection is lost once you reset your router.
Once you’ve reset the network is now open, try connecting to it.
Alternatively, you can also connect to your router through an ethernet cable. In this method, you won’t need to enter a password to connect to the router.
STEP 2 :
Assuming that you’ve figured out a way to connect to the network whose network security key we are trying to change.
In case you remember the old password (network security key) then you can open your browser and proceed to step 3.
Now, if you don’t remember your older password you need to reset your network using the network reset button on the back of your router. In case you’ve reset your network in the previous step, skip step 3.
STEP 3 :
Open up your browser (chrome, firefox, safari, edge, etc) and go to your router’s configuration page. The router’s configuration page will be available at the IP address specified below the router. You can put this IP address in your browser to access the configuration page.
Even though you can find the IP address for the configuration page written on the router for most routers, it is possible that your router does not have anything written on it. So, to access the router’s configuration page you can search on the internet to find your router’s IP address.
Every company (tp-link, d-link, Netgear, etc) uses the same IP throughout their routers so you can search up your router’s IP by searching “<insert company name> router IP address”. This should help you find the IP address.
Alternatively, you can also try the addresses 184.108.40.206, 220.127.116.11, 18.104.22.168 or 10.0.1.1 for apple routers and 10.0.0.1 for Xfinity routers. These are some of the most common IP addresses used by manufacturers.
Lastly, if none of the above methods worked for you you can use the command prompt to find out your router’s IP by typing in “ipconfig” on the command prompt and searching for the “default gateway” in the returned information. The default gateway is the router’s IP address, you can now use this address to access your router’s configuration page.
You can open up the command prompt by going to the search bar on the taskbar and search “cmd” or “command prompt” or press the Windows key + R then enter cmd in the prompt.
STEP 4 :
Now that you’ve connected to your router’s configuration page, let’s focus on changing the network security key.
In case you remember your WiFi password, fill it in when the page prompts you to fill in your username and password. For those who reset their router, they can just hit enter when they ask for username and password since there is no password.
Once you’ve filled in the login details, you should have access to the dashboard, from there try finding a setting that says “wireless” or any tab which controls the wireless network settings. Don’t be afraid of playing around a bit to find out what things do, as long as you don’t hit apply settings on the bottom of the page, none of the settings is going to get applied.
Under the wireless tab, you can now find the password field. For those who have reset their routers, you can directly set a new password by keeping the old password field blank. For those who haven’t reset the router, you can enter the current password of your router as the old password and set a new one in the field below.
STEP 5 :
This step is for those who reset their routers.
You will now have to proceed to set up the rest of the network to be able to access the internet. You will need your IP address, your default gateway, and subnet mask to reset your network.
To find out your IP address, Default gateway, and Subnet mask, you can connect your computer to the network using an ethernet cable and type “ipconfig” into the windows command prompt to find these addresses.
I’d suggest writing these addresses down on paper as they come in handy. Feed these addresses back into the router once you’ve set up the password.
You will have to go to the wireless tab and configure these addresses.
You can change the name of the network as well through the SSID parameter.
Do not forget to save all the changes you make. Make sure to hit the save settings button at the end of the page.
A few more tips
I’ve said it before and I say it again, don’t forget to save your settings once you make any changes.
Make your network security key (password) something relevant to your life or something that holds meaning for all the people who need to access the network. For example, you could set your house password something related to the last vacation destination.
Yes, your password is the same as your network security key.
Yes, someone could access your system and change your network security key and lock you out of your network.
WPA2 is an encryption standard that was devices by the WiFi Alliance to make WiFi encryption stronger.
First, you need to get your default gateway from your network. This can be done on windows by entering “ipconfig” in the command prompt. Enter the default gateway on your browser and you should be able to access your router’s configuration page.
A router is a device that connects two networks. It is the device that has two antennas on it and an ethernet cable running to it.