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Does WEP/WPA slow down wireless connections ?

Yes, WEP and WPA encryption add some overhead in terms of calculations needed to encrypt/decrypt the traffic. The exact impact greatly depends on the processing power of the network device, it can vary from 5% to 30% of the maximum throughput.

With newer routers that have faster processors, enabling WEP/WPA should not have a major impacts on performance, it should be barely noticeable at full load. Some older models, however, can slow down as much as 30% or more due to the added processing overhead.

Even though there is some perfomance impact, it is not noticeable in newer devices, and the benefits (security) far outweigh any drawbacks.

Note that WPA2 (AES), in addition to being more secure is also much more efficient than WEP/WPA(TKIP) and should be used, if possible.

  User Reviews/Comments:
by Roka - 2006-08-21 09:25
Used Belkin f5d7230-4 router.

With WPA/WEP(64 or 128) - Max speed is 1.11 M[[[Bytes]]]/s
W/No encryption - 2.16M[[[[[Bytes]]]]/s
by Philip - 2006-08-23 08:39
Encrypting data adds some processor load as well. However, not securing your wireless network can mean your neighbors tapping into your network, it is like leaving your front door open.
by Qui-Gon John - 2007-05-30 09:52
Does WPA use significantly less resources than WEP?

Also, can we get a good step-by=step guide posted for WPA, (and I guess some folks would need one for WEP)?
by the_wildthing - 2007-10-27 01:57
This is exactly the same problem I'm having. It appears to slow down as much as 50%. I thought it was just lately but it may have been going on for months.

Although this morning it didn't seem to be a problem. It might be only at night when there are more wireless networks on. I will try again early tomorrow.
by Beauregard - 2008-05-02 01:35
If you just want to keep your neigbors from surfing but still want to avoid the speed reductions, I suggest simply not broadcasting your SSID or using the MAC address filter... although this is nowhere as secure as WPA... it's almost as secure as WEP considering how easy it is to hack a wireles network with the tools typical war-drivers / light hackers use.
by anonymous - 2011-02-07 14:35
For everyone who would like security and not have WPA or anything try this:

- Do not broadcast your SSID
- Only allow the MAC addresses of the specific devices you want to use on that network.

Though this is open to MAC address spoofing, getting a correct MAC address will be very difficult.
by Philip - 2011-02-08 14:07
If a client is associated with the wireless network, intruders can see their MAC address and spoof it easily. Just some food for thought. There is more info on wireless security available here:
by Marcus - 2012-11-25 23:37
Another great way of authenticating wireless is through a RADIUS Server. This will not have to use encryption and will still allow open connections with a proper username and password. You can keep your front door locked and still have the speed.
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