What is a Network Security Key?

March 28, 2023 • Zachary Amos


Protecting your home network from intruders is critical to owning a personal wifi network. Unless you’re operating a business, there’s no reason to keep your wireless network public, as no one else should be able to join without your permission. Therefore, you need a unique, strong network security key to protect it.

What is a Network Security Key?

A network security key is a code, password or passphrase you use to connect to your private wifi network. Users cannot connect to your wifi network without knowing the password. Three types of encryption can be used to protect your network, including:

  • Wired Equivalent Privacy (WEP): An outdated security protocol most often used for older wifi systems. 
  • Wifi Protected Access (WPA): A more advanced security protocol than WEP, but still susceptible to cybersecurity attacks.
  • Wifi Protected Access 2 (WPA2): An advanced security protocol that uses AES (advanced encryption standard) to prevent unauthorized access to your network.

When you set up your wifi network, your router will have a pre-installed network security key you need to enter to connect. These preset passwords are easy to forget, as they’re typically a long, randomized string of numbers and letters.

How to Find Your Network Security Key

Suppose you’ve never had a home wifi network. In that case, handling the setup and finding your password key might be challenging. Thankfully, finding the key to connect to your network is very easy. 

If you have your wifi router on hand, you can find the network security key somewhere on its exterior. Most routers have small printed stickers with the key listed on them. If your router is missing a printed sticker or you cannot find the network security key anywhere on your router, check the manufacturer’s box or manual. There should be a pre-installed key listed somewhere on the product.

Every internet service provider (ISP) and router manufacturer is different, meaning they may use additional terms to refer to the network security key. Here are other names to check for:

  • Password
  • Network key
  • WPA key
  • Wireless password

Once you find your key, you and anyone else in your home can connect to the wireless network.

How to Choose a Password for Your Home Wifi

As mentioned above, it can be difficult to remember the original network security key the router manufacturer provides to you. These hard-to-guess passwords are so long and unique that memorizing them would be nearly impossible.

Instead, you can choose your password — consider making it memorable, similar to how you make a password for any online account. 

It’s always suggested to make your password strong and unique to you and the members of your household. For example, you can use an old pet’s name, a meaningful date or a code word. Some people also choose a new network name, often something catchy, ironic or funny.

The Importance of a Strong Wifi Password

These days, cybersecurity attacks can impact just about anyone. You want to protect your home wifi network and prevent unauthorized users from accessing it. It’s important to set a strong network password to increase the level of security on your web. Consider using the tips above if setting up your first wireless network.