As stated here: http://documentation.netgear.com/wag102/enu/202-10120-01/v1/WAG102-4-10.html

and in many other sources, WEP key can be 64bit, 128bit (factors of 2) and 152bit length.

Factor of 2 length I do understand. It is convenient to use in low-level processing, where you have to use boolean logic and save everything in bits.

Any idea why the 152bit key was selected?

  • Well, I thought there was a deeper meaning that I do not know, as for example the factor of 2 numbers - they are really convenient for boolean operations. Sep 24 '13 at 12:34
  • @DovydasNavickas you might get an answer (if there is an answer) from the Security SE site. Sep 24 '13 at 14:10

I will preface this by saying this is a terrible answer, first because I can't find any of the references and am going off of memory. Second because I haven't put much thought into WEP for so long that my memory fails me.

As to why it was 152-bit, IIRC, this was a 128-bit standard WEP key with an additional 24-bit extension. The 24-bit extension was one of several proprietary extensions in an attempt to make WEP more secure (or at least appear more secure). Cisco's MIC and TKIP won out as the most widely recognized extensions to make WEP more secure (more commonly known as WPA).

152-bit WEP ultimately faded away as many proprietary extensions do when they don't get enough industry support and/or are over shadowed by better extensions.

Ultimately, it really doesn't matter at this point though as WEP is a fundamentally broken technology and WEP, WPA/TKIP and WPA2/TKIP are all defunct technologies. By this I mean that the 802.11n amendment says an AP has to disable the high throughput data rates and function as an 802.11a/g device if any of the above are enabled.

  • So that's 128bit key + extension of 24bit! I knew there was an explanation... Thank's man! Sep 25 '13 at 7:57

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