Ok, I'll begin by explaining just what the title of this blog is all about. Last night, during a bit of bedtime reading of my favourite gadget news website gizmodo.co.uk, I was appalled to see an article suggesting to its readers that they drop their home network security from WPA/WPA2 to WEP just because of the iPhone 5 WiFi issue regarding the secure WPA2 encryption option. I was so appaled that I'm writing this article to completely rebuke what they and others are telling people to do to fix their WiFi issues.
Disabling WPA2 on your home router is a bad idea.
Wired Equivalent Privacy, or WEP as you may or may not have known it, was the first version of - you guessed it - wireless encryption. WEP is rubbish and it's that simple. It offers the basic level of protection for your internet activities and can be hacked in minutes by someone with a computer and a bit of a brain. The people who run the WiFi standards told the world in 2003 that WEP was rubbish and we should all now use WPA instead. It's even got a better name; Wi-Fi Protected Access. Makes sense doesn't it?
What else is bad about WEP? Well, if you're going to stream across your home network or try to watch HD YouTube videos you'd better sit back and get ready for some quiet time, because the WEP protocol can only use up to 802.11g standards, which means you're knocking the speed of every single device on your network down to 54Mbps whether it can go faster or not. WPA2 supports 802.11n and that'll give you from 150 to 300Mbps. Not only are you opening yourself up to a whole world of harm, you're now being told to throttle your entire wireless home network for the sake of... wait for it... a phone that has its own mobile network capability!
If that's not bad enough, the early overseas adopters of the iPhone 5 were being hammered with data use charges even when it was connected to WiFi. We've not found the problem here in the UK yet which should mean good news for people over here, but charges for cellular data are notoriously high outside of the UK, with one iPhone 5 user getting a bill for $6000 AUD, probably compounded by the fact it was 4G. Sort of worrying when Everything Everywhere say 4G data shouldn't result in an increase of actual data use for regular people, right?
In a nutshell, do not use WEP.
So why would anyone want to use WEP? They wouldn't, as long as they're using a device that was made after 2003. The iPhone 5 was made in 2012, so why should you downgrade other bits of hardware for it? This is the common theme we're beginning to see when a piece of new tech is handed to the world. Bad testing, bad fixes and bad news. The iPhone 5 WiFi issue is apparently the cause of a software issue and that means it can be fixed, unlike the death grip issue that plagued the iPhone 4. Our advice is to wait for the new software patch rather than bring your entire house to the attention of bored neighbours and wardrivers alike.
Sick of the iPhone hype? Get the best prices for your iPhone 5 with OnRecycle.