What Does WPS Mean on a Modem?

The button helps you connect your devices

WPS stands for Wi-Fi Protected Setup, and it's a simple method of setting up a secure Wi-Fi network between your modem, router, and other devices with minimum effort. It usually involves pressing down the WPS button on your modem to activate it. 

When Was WPS Introduced?

The Wi-Fi Alliance created WPS in 2006 in a bid to simplify network setup for home users. The thinking was it helped novices avoid having to dive into complicated network settings while still having a secure network that protects their data at all times. 

WPS is on many different devices ranging from routers, modems, TVs, smart home equipment, and much more. If a device connects to your Wi-Fi network, it stands a high chance of having a WPS button. Think of it as like Bluetooth but for your network devices. 

Do All Modems Have WPS?

A conventional wired modem won't have WPS because it doesn't need it due to requiring devices to be plugged into it solely as a conduit. However, most Wi-Fi modems will have a WPS button because it simplifies home network setup. 

Some of this may depend on the age of your Wi-Fi modem. Older Wi-Fi modems may not have a WPS button, but, typically, ones provided by your ISP in recent times will include WPS functionality. 

If you're not sure, look on your modem for a WPS button or PIN code sticker to find out. 

Where Is the WPS Button on My Modem?

Like with routers, the WPS button is usually somewhat subtly placed on your modem. Often, it's on the back of the device amongst the ports and connections, so users can't tap it by accident. It's worth looking carefully at your modem before you plug it in so no cables can get in the way of your vision. 

Some devices may have the WPS button on the front of the modem, so it's more easily visible, but these can still be quite subtle in their placement. Check the manual if you have trouble locating the WPS button on your modem. 

Do I Need to Do Anything Else to Use WPS?

You may need to activate WPS. Most modems have WPS enabled by default, but some may have it switched off for security reasons. If the button doesn't appear to work, check your modem settings to enable WPS on your device. 

Should I Use WPS on My Modem?

There are pros and cons to using WPS. Here's a quick overview of them. 

  • It's straightforward. Rather than needing to enter long passphrases to connect your devices, you can press a button and join networks within seconds.
  • It's quick. If you're trying to add multiple devices to your network, you can tap the WPS button, and you're good to go for everything from your smartphone to your smart TV or other devices.
  • It's not 100% secure. There have been some brute-force attacks that have led WPS to be open to attack. It's unlikely you'll be a victim, but this is the reason why security-conscious users disable WPS entirely. 
  • Anyone can activate it. Anyone with physical access to your modem can start WPS within seconds, so you need to have the device stored somewhere securely. 
  • How do you change WPS on your modem?

    Changing WPS settings is done through your modem's settings. How to access these settings and what you can change will depend on your specific modem. Search for your modem online and consult its manual to learn how WPS works on your particular modem.

  • How long do I have to press the WPS button?

    You only need to hold down the WPS button for 2-3 seconds. If nothing happens within a few seconds, there's likely a problem with your device.

  • Is the reset button the same as the WPS button?

    On some devices, the reset and WPS buttons are the same. If you don't see a separate reset button, you can reset your device by holding down the WPS button for 10 seconds.

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