Howto disable wireless encryption

We all have learned to enable the encryption shipped with our wireless (WiFi) equipment to ‘secure’ the communication with the access point and other members of the network. Also it should prevent the misuse of our Internet uplink so no one else is able to do something nasty with your public IP address.
So we all probably used some kind of WEP, WPA, WPA2 and the correspondent password/authentication scheme with our notebooks and mobile devices. During the last years most router/access point equipment, especial those from Internet Service Providers (ISP), have some kind of encryption pre-enabled and you have to enter a key printed on the box to access the Wireless Network.
Beside the fact that the commonly used encryption methods are very weak and the security you gain is very low, what if you want to disable the encryption and give free access to your network and Internet connection.

Checklist to disable wireless encryption on your router or accesspoint:

First you need access to your network equipment, probably over a web based configuration manager, some hints:

  • there are hundreds of vendors and devices but basically it boils down to the same actions, regardless of your particular device.
  • check the box to find its IP address and/or a username/password
  • if the default setting are still in place you can find some information in the manual or you ISPs contract
  • fire up a webbrowser while connected to the router via cable
  • you may access the router via its IP address, something like http://192.168.x.y/

Now find the (wireless) Network Configuration within the User Interface, you may consult the Vendors Manual to find the proper options.

  • Look for something like “Wireless Security Options”, “Wireless Encryption”, “Security”, “Network Protection”….
  • It should show various options like WEP (wired equivalent privacy), WPA (wifi protected access), TK/IP, WPA-PSK
  • You also may notice something with “-bit” like 64/128-bit, 256-aes…
  • Within the list of all this cryptic options try to find something like ‘disable’, ‘off’, ‘no encryption’… choose this option and save the config

Sidenotes:

  • disable stuff like, ‘hidden wireless network’, ‘disable broadcast of wireless network name (ESSID)’
  • if you connected to the Wifi with a password/encryption before, try to remove the connection from you Network Manager

Now you can test your shiny new public WiFi with your notebook or mobile device, just select the Network by its Name and if things work fine, you should be able to get Network/Internet access without any password or registration. Let one of you friends test the setup.

Enjoy your System.

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