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Wi-Fi Protected Setup (WPS) Support

Windows 7 itself now supports Wi-Fi Protected Setup (WPS), the standard that makes configuring encryption for wireless networks quick and easy. There's a few different methods specified in the standard. You'll see the push button method the most on Wi-Fi gear, which is similar to the way you would program a new remote opener with your garage door motor.

For example, when you want to program (encrypt) a new wireless adapter, you push a button on the router, either physically or on the web-based configuration utility. Then within a short amount of time, you push the button on the wireless adapter, either physically or on the adapter’s software. If these two “buttons” are pushed within an acceptable amount of time, the router and wireless adapter will communicate and the router will send the encryption key. The Wi-Fi adapter will then be configured with encryption, without the user having to manually create and configure all the gear with keys.

Windows 7 makes using the push button method of WPS even easier. When using a wireless adapter that supports WPS, Windows will show a notification (see Figure 3) when you attempt to connect to a secured network for which you don't have an encryption key. As suggested by Windows, you can simply push the physical or virtual button on the router to configure and save the encryption details.

Figure 3 Attempting to connect to a secure network.

If you wanted to use WPS in previous versions of Windows and your wireless adapter (like most) doesn't have a physical button, you would have to install the vendor’s wireless utility. However, because Windows 7 now natively supports WPS, you don't have to install the third-party wireless utility. Most of the time, it's best to use the built-in wireless utility of Windows.

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