Questions about WiFi WPA/WPA2 certificates

Posted on 2007-10-03
Last Modified: 2013-11-09
I have had some problems setting up a new wireless router - "Cannot find certificate" when I try to use WPA personal.
In fact the problem has been solved by installing the latest WiFi card drivers.
But I would still be grateful for answers to the following questions:

1 - Are these certificates stored in files or the registry?

2 - Are they already resident in a new installation of XP or are they installed later in some way?

3 - Are they related in any way to the windows update download called "Root certificates"?

Question by:Alistair7
    LVL 32

    Accepted Solution

    WPA-PSK does not use a certificate - it uses a preshared key.
    WPA in an enterprise environment does however use certificates - in conjunction with Protected EAP.

    The certificates are installed on the CA server.
    They are "installed" via Group Policy - if it is configured as such.
    Root certificates are nothing to do with WPA - they are updates so that IE recognises root CA's on secure websites.
    LVL 18

    Assisted Solution

    Right, if you are going the Microsoft way using Active Directory in a business environment.
    If it's more generic then we are talking about 802.1X. No keys are stored on the PC then.

    The above is optional: you can use WPA-PSK where the preshared key (password) is saved on the PC, like you probably used.
    And then the key is indeed stored in registry (when using Wireless Zero Configuration). And there are tools available to easily recover that key. That's why in business environments 802.1X is a must.


    Author Comment

    Thanks very much.
    LVL 32

    Expert Comment

    Hope that helped. Thanks.

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