WPA3: the next generation of Wi-Fi security

WPA3 is the name of the latest standard developed by the Wi-Fi Alliance to secure Wi-Fi networks. What does the new standard for Wi-Fi network encryption include? And what do you need to keep in mind? Our guide article explains the most important facts.

WPA stands for Wi-Fi Protected Access and defines the process of registering a wireless-capable device with a wireless access point such as a FRITZ!Box. Both parties establish a shared key that secures the transmitted data. The original WPA standard dates from 2003, while its successor WPA2 became available in 2004. WPA3 was first announced in 2018.

What are the new features included in WPA3?

WPA2 is the proven standard for Wi-Fi encryption and will continue to provide a high level of security in the future. WPA3 uses modern authentication and encryption methods (SAE) resulting in, among other things, increased security against "dictionary attacks." This effectively prevents the systematic guessing of passwords by trying many common words and their variations. In addition, other security features will become mandatory, including Protected Management Frames. These ensure data confidentiality when establishing a connection between wireless-capable devices and the wireless access point.

How do I activate WPA3?

If you want to use WPA3 in your home Wi-Fi, it's a good idea to find out what the compatibility requirements are. When it comes to the wireless device, e.g. your smartphone or notebook, the operating system and the Wi-Fi device driver must support WPA3.

  • Windows 10: Version 1903 or later supports WPA3, device driver support varies.
  • macOS supports WPA3 starting with version 10.15 (Catalina).
  • iOS and iPadOS: WPA3 support with version 13 or later.
  • Android: WPA3 was introduced with Android 10. Actual support may differ depending on your smartphone or tablet.

With FRITZ!OS 7.20 and later, WPA3 is available on FRITZ!Box and FRITZ!Repeater models. Enable WPA3 on your FRITZ!Box under Wi-Fi > Security and then set the Wi-Fi mode to WPA2 + WPA3. In the future, wireless devices will be able to register with WPA2 or WPA3 – with this transition mode ensuring compatibility and allowing for a gradual migration to a WPA network.

Tips & tricks for WPA3

If you have the "WPA2 + WPA3" mode activated, everything should work without a hitch. For some wireless devices, you'll need to reconfigure the Wi-Fi connection to use WPA3. Older wireless devices or some wireless printers, for example, do not support Protected Management Frames, meaning they can no longer connect to the Wi-Fi. However, sometimes a firmware update can help.