Monday, August 25, 2014

How to change the WEP key on a Verizon DSL router

By default, Verizon DSL wireless routers use WEP encryption to help secure the wireless networks that they manage.  When you set up a Verizon router, it will come with a pre-configured WEP key that will be either 10 or 26 characters long.  You can change this WEP key, both for increased security and also to make it easier to remember, by following the steps below.

Verizon routers, like many other routers, use a browser-based management program that you can log into to make changes to the router's setup.  To access this utility, open a web browser and navigate to the IP address of the router.  By default, the IP address will probably be 192.168.1.1, but if that's not the correct address for your router, then this article will help you find the correct IP address.

Once you type in the router's IP address and hit <Enter>, the Verizon setup page will appear.  On the tab bar across the top of the page, click on Wireless Setup.  A box may pop up asking you for a username and password.  (If you've never changed either of these, the username will probably be "admin" and the password should be "password.")  Type in the username and password and click OK.

After you've successfully logged in, the Wireless Basic Settings page will appear.  Scroll down the page until you see the heading "Select a WEP Key."  Depending on how old your router is, you'll probably be able to choose between a 64-bit WEP key and a 128-bit WEP key.  (Older routers may only support 64-bit WEP keys.)  To toggle between the two choices, use the drop down box under the WEP key heading.  Note that the only difference between a 64-bit key and a 128-bit key is that a 64-bit key is 10 characters long, whereas a 128-bit key is 26 characters long.  The 128-bit key offers greater protection, but it is also harder to remember.

A WEP key can use any digit from 0 to 9, as well as letters from A to F.  It can be all numbers or all letters or a combination of both.  Once you've chosen which type key to use and you have your new key, type it in the box under "Key Code," and write it down somewhere safe.  Then scroll down to the bottom of the page and click on the Apply button.  In order for the change to take effect, any devices that are wirelessly connected to the router will be disconnected.

For any computers that have this wireless connection configured on them, the WEP key will have to be updated in the connection's properties in order to reconnect.  The steps for doing so will vary by operating system, but they will generally be similar.

For instructions for updating the WEP key on a Windows Vista PC, read this article:
- How to update a WEP key for a Windows Vista PC

For instructions for updating the WEP key on a Windows XP PC, see this article:
- How to update a WEP key for a Windows XP Computer

(Originally published on Helium.com, Sept 2011)

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