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What to Do When Your Network Security Key Isn’t Working

network security keyThe convenience of doing business in a wireless world is such a luxury that we often forget how much we depend on it. Being connected is just one of those infrastructure things you expect, like the lights coming on when you flip a switch on the wall. Until you try to log in to the internet and suddenly your network security key isn’t working. Like losing any other utility, suddenly losing your internet can not only be annoying but end up costing your reputation with customers and your money.

Why Isn’t Your Network Security Key Working?

There are several possible reasons why the network security key may be failing to connect as usual. Here are four of them.

You’re Entering the Incorrect Key

It seems quite obvious, but it’s funny how often you’ll repeatedly mess up they key out of the blue:

  • You’re using a complicated, easy-to-forget passcode. 
  • You’re failing to capitalize a letter in a case-sensitive system.
  • You’re mixing it up with one of your other commonly-used passwords.
  • You’re putting your hands in a strange position on the keyboard.
  • You’re mixing up one letter on the keyboard, causing you to hit “g” when you’re going for “f,” for instance.

Drivers are Out-of-Date

When did you last update your network driver adapters? It isn’t something many users think of, and you may have missed a message about an update, which is a common cause of a network security key mismatch.

Antivirus Program Interference

Sometimes third-party antivirus programs will block you from connecting. You may need to uninstall the program and then re-install it or tweak the settings. If the issue persists, you might consider going with another antivirus program.

Key Has Been Changed

Finally, it’s always possible that someone else with access has changed your network security key. Call up anyone with that type of moderator control just to check.

When the Network Security Key on File Won’t Work

If the troubleshooting tips above yield no results, there are a few steps you can try.

Step 1: Check Another Computer

Are there other computers currently connected to your network? This presents an easy fix.

Open that computer, go into the Control Panel, and select “Network and Sharing.” Choose “Manage Wireless Networks,” and then select your wireless network to reveal the drop-down menu. Go to “Properties,” find “Security,” and then turn on the “Show Characters” option to reveal your passcode. Now try this code on your own computer

Step 2: Look Up the Default Key

While this will most likely only work if you never got around to entering a custom key, you can look at the sticker on the bottom of your modem to find the password set by the manufacturer. It’s worth a shot.

Step 3: Reset the Modem

Start with a blank slate by resetting your modem. This will also restore other factory settings, erasing any custom data you’ve entered into the system like network name and wireless settings.

Step 4: Get in Touch with the Network Provider

When all else fails, contact the company that manages your network and find out what your options are.

Step 5: Change Your Password

If this was an issue about your chosen password, it’s probably a good idea to change it after you sort the problem out. A good method of coming up with difficult to crack but easy to remember passwords is to pick a sentence you won’t forget, then take the first letter of each word, replacing letters that “look” like numbers with their number equivalent (i.e. O=0, I=1, E=3).

Whatever your method of network security key selection, it’s probably also a good idea to write it down in a safe place so you can retrieve it easily if the problem arises again.

Get Answers to Your IT Challenges

Check out some of our other articles about IT problems that can interfere with business, or get in touch with one of our qualified tech support professionals if you have a challenge you cannot handle on your own.


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Sources: Microsoft Community, CenturyLink, My WIFI Router

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