Wi-Fi Protected Access II

What Does Wi-Fi Protected Access II Mean?

Wi-Fi Protected Access II (WPA2) is a security standard to secure computers connected to a Wi-Fi network. Its purpose is to achieve complete compliance with the IEEE802.11i standard, only partially achieved with WPA, and to address the security flaw in the 128-bit “temporary key integrity protocol” (TKIP) in WPA by replacing it with CCMP.


The term is also referenced as Wi-Fi Protected Access 2.

Techopedia Explains Wi-Fi Protected Access II

Wi-Fi Protected Access (WPA) and WPA2 are concurrent security standards. WPA addressed the majority of the IEEE 802.11i standard; and the WPA2 certification achieved full compliance. However, WPA2 will not work with some older network cards, thus the need for concurrent security standards.

Applicable to both WPA and WPA2, there are two versions targeting different users:

  • WPA-Personal was developed for home and small office use and requires no authentication server; and each wireless device uses the same 256-bit authentication key.
  • WPA-Enterprise was developed for large businesses and requires a RADIUS authentication server that provides automatic key generation and authentication throughout the entire enterprise.

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Margaret Rouse
Technology Expert

Margaret is an award-winning technical writer and teacher known for her ability to explain complex technical subjects to a non-technical business audience. Over the past twenty years, her IT definitions have been published by Que in an encyclopedia of technology terms and cited in articles by the New York Times, Time Magazine, USA Today, ZDNet, PC Magazine, and Discovery Magazine. She joined Techopedia in 2011. Margaret's idea of a fun day is helping IT and business professionals learn to speak each other’s highly specialized languages.