WPA2 (Wi-Fi Protected Access II) is a network security standard designed to secure wireless networks in an enterprise environment. It was introduced in 2004 as an upgrade to WPA, a security protocol used by wireless devices that was becoming increasingly susceptible to hacker attacks. WPA2 is a subset of the IEEE 802.11i standard, which was created to secure wireless access points and routers in both corporate and domestic environments. Users of WPA2 are authenticated through either a pre-shared key (PSK) or an 802.1X system.
The PSK mode is simpler to deploy and, when correctly configured, provides a high level of security. The 802.1X system uses an authentication server to secure the connection with user credentials. It is more secure than the PSK system but requires more setup and maintenance.
WPA2 implements the Advanced Encryption Standard (AES) for encryption. This standard provides a high degree of data privacy and integrity with a 128-bit key that is used to encrypt data transmission. Additionally, authentication mechanisms have been enhanced and operating systems and devices are required to have a unique identity to prevent spoofing.
In more recent years, WPA2 has been superseded by WPA3, which is a more advanced security standard with improved encryption and authentication. However, WPA2 is still widely used in many environments, due to its relative ease of deployment and secure connection.