How to Reset a Wireless Key

by Ruri Ranbe

Wireless networks can be secured using the Wired Equivalent Privacy, Wi-Fi Protected Access or WPA2 protocols. WEP, WPA and WPA2 configurations require a password, or security key, to prevent unauthorized clients from logging in to the network. If you've noticed intruders on your network -- and therefore want to switch to a stronger password -- or if you've forgotten the security key for your wireless network, you can log on to the router itself to change the key.

Netgear

Plug an Ethernet cable into one of the available LAN jacks on the back of the router. Plug the other end of the cable into the Ethernet port on your PC.

Open a Web browser, type "http://192.168.0.1" (without quotation marks) in the address bar and press "Enter."

Enter your administrative credentials into the appropriate fields or use the default values, "admin" and "password," for the username and password. Press "Enter" to log in.

Select "Wireless Settings" from under Setup. Enter a new password into the Network Key or Key 1 field and then click "Apply" to reset the wireless key on the Netgear router.

Linksys

Connect an Ethernet cable to a numbered jack on the router and then connect the other end of the cable to an Ethernet port on the computer.

Open a Web browser, type "http://192.168.1.1" (without quotation marks) in the address bar and press "Enter."

Enter your administrative details, or use "admin" as the password and leave the User Name field blank. Click "OK."

Click "Wireless," then select "Wireless Security" from the menu. Enter a new security key into the Passphrase or WPA Shared Key field.

Click "Save Settings" to reset the network password on the Linksys router.

Belkin

Connect an Ethernet cable to a numbered jack on the router and then connect the other end of the cable to an Ethernet port on the computer.

Open a Web browser, type "http://192.168.2.1" (without quotation marks) in the address bar and press "Enter."

Click "Login." Enter your password or leave the field blank and then click "Submit."

Select "Wireless" from the menu and then choose "Security." Enter a new password into one of the numbered Key fields or the Password (PSK) box.

Click "Apply" to change the security password on the Belkin router.

Tips

  • To reset the password -- as well as all other settings -- on your router, use a small tool such as a pen or paper clip to press the "Reset" button on the back of the device for 10 to 30 seconds, or depress the WPS and wireless buttons for five to 10 seconds.
  • WEP keys can consist of 5 to 13 characters or 10 to 26 hexadecimal digits (128-bit WEP allows for larger passwords); WPA and WPA2 keys can consist of 8 to 63 characters or 64 hexadecimal digits. Passwords are case-sensitive.
  • The steps to reset the wireless key on your router may vary from model to model.

Warnings

  • Changing the security key on the network will force all connected devices off the network; attaching your computer to the router via an Ethernet cable will allow you to stay connected to the network.
  • Make sure to change your security key to a strong password to prevent others from guessing it. You should write down your password and store it somewhere safe.

Items you will need

  • Ethernet cable

About the Author

Ruri Ranbe has been working as a writer since 2008. She received an A.A. in English literature from Valencia College and is completing a B.S. in computer science at the University of Central Florida. Ranbe also has more than six years of professional information-technology experience, specializing in computer architecture, operating systems, networking, server administration, virtualization and Web design.

Photo Credits

  • Thomas Northcut/Photodisc/Getty Images