As Black Friday bargains
start to arrive, you may want to shop for a new wireless router, depending on old your current one is and whether it supports WPA2 (or later) encryption. Otherwise, you may soon find yourself unable to connect. Microsoft
posted a list of features it plans to deprecate in Windows 10, and one of them is the older (and much weaker) WEP protocol.
"Since the 1903 release, a warning message has appeared when connecting to Wi-Fi networks secured with WEP or TKIP (which are not as secure as those using WPA2 or WPA3). In a future release, any connection to a Wi-Fi network using these old ciphers will be disallowed. Wi-Fi routers should be updated to use AES ciphers, available with WPA2 or WPA3," Microsoft states.
This should be not an issue if you are running even moderately modern hardware. However, if you happen to be using a really old router, this will affect you. Same goes for anyone using older laptops with outdated Wi-Fi adapters—if the system's been updated to Windows 10
and the highest wireless encryption method available is WEP, it will not be able to connect.
Microsoft did not say exactly when it will deprecate support for WEP in Windows 10, only that it on the chopping block. It stinks for people who are using older hardware, but in all reality, WEP is nearly useless these days. It was demonstrated as far back as 2007 how 104-bit WEP can be thwarted in less than 60 seconds.
WEP is extremely old at this point, too. It debuted in 1997 and served as the sole encryption protocol in 802.11a and 802.11b. However, it's about as effective as locking your front door but leaving a window cracked open.
Fortunately, devices made in the last decade (or a little bit longer) should support newer encryption protocols.