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How to connect to a WPA-PSK/WPA2-PSK wireless network Internet
When you want to join a WPA-PSK/WPA2-PSK wireless network, your Mac will always refuse to do so. Here's how you can do it.

In System Preferences, click on the Network icon, then on Wi-fi in the list of networks. Click on the "Advanced..." button at the bottom-right of the window. On the Wi-Fi tab, click on the plus (+) button, then add the following:
  • Network Name: Your Wi-Fi network's SSID Name
  • Security: Any (Personal)
  • Password: Your Wi-Fi password
Then click on OK. (You may need to enter your administrator's password to apply the changes.)

Now your Mac will automatically connect to your WPA-PSK/WPA2-PSK network.

[kirkmc adds: I haven't tested this. What I understand here is that you cannot connect to this type of network via the standard dialog, and you must simply add it manually to your list of networks.]
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How to connect to a WPA-PSK/WPA2-PSK wireless network | 23 comments | Create New Account
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How to connect to a WPA-PSK/WPA2-PSK wireless network
Authored by: agentx on Apr 19, '12 08:35:24AM

I am unconvinced by the opening statement and hint !

I rarely see this problem and i manage loads of simple (WPA/WPA2) to very complex Wi-Fi networks.
Now and again we have issues with the odd Mac machine, we just create new location, remove keychain entries and add in the normal way.

So i am highly confused......I have quite a few mixed networks.....but most networks have/are moving to WPA2-AES or WPA2 Enterprise etc.

I have however come across odd negotiation issues when WPA-PSK/WPA2-PSK TKIP/AES but this is rare and only was with some hardware vendors.



Edited on Apr 19, '12 09:09:45AM by agentx



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How to connect to a WPA-PSK/WPA2-PSK wireless network
Authored by: swannie on Apr 19, '12 08:48:02AM
I'm confused too, I've never had a problem connecting to WPA/WPA2 PSK networks before. However, if the network is not broadcasting it's SSID it won't automatically connect like a Windows machine will. In reality the way the Mac behaves with regard to this is the proper behavior for non-broadcast networks.
---
Mac OS X Hints editor - Macworld senior contributor
http://www.mcelhearn.com
Sorry, CMS is freaking out. Since clicked the Edit button instead of the Approve, it appended my sig, and can't remove it...
---
Mac OS X Hints editor - Macworld senior contributor
http://www.mcelhearn.com
Edited on Apr 19, '12 12:41:46PM by kirkmc


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How to connect to a WPA-PSK/WPA2-PSK wireless network
Authored by: r-spx on Apr 19, '12 11:35:38AM

This is a bad tip that should be rewritten or removed (probably the latter).

It's just incorrect. I think what's confused kirkmc is the mention of "WPA-PSK", which sounds esoteric but is actually the basic form of wifi password protection offered by virtually every home router in the world (and many small business routers too).

The author's claim that "your Mac will always refuse to connect" is bogus. It works fine for nearly all of us. Change the first line to "If you can't connect, try this trick", and this tip might be useful. But even so the comment above this one, about creating a new location and keychain entry, is probably a better way of getting things to work.

kirkmc if you want more people to contribute tips then you're going to have to start a weekly/monthly prize competition. This site is dying and needs a kick up the ass.



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How to connect to a WPA-PSK/WPA2-PSK wireless network
Authored by: kirkmc on Apr 19, '12 12:14:59PM

I posted the hint because I honestly was not sure what kind of network this was. I looked it up, and it did seem to be different from my standard AirPort networks.

If it doesn't work, however, or if it is useless, I think it's still worth keeping on the site and having people say so in the comments.

---
Mac OS X Hints editor - Macworld senior contributor
http://www.mcelhearn.com



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How to connect to a WPA-PSK/WPA2-PSK wireless network
Authored by: leamanc on Apr 19, '12 03:31:58PM

Don't listen to 'em, Kirk. The site had taken a dip in quality, but has gotten the sufficient kick in the ass it needed since you have become the full-time editor.

Clearly, folks are confusing pre-shared keys with regular WPA/WPA2 passwords. They are *not* the same. In a PSK setup, you must have both the key AND a method of authentication personalized to you--password, certificate, token, 802.1x*, etc.--to log on to the network. This is not what Apple's AirPort products do out of the box; a RADIUS server like Elektron must be added to the mix to utilize a PSK scheme.



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How to connect to a WPA-PSK/WPA2-PSK wireless network
Authored by: r-spx on Apr 19, '12 03:41:34PM

Sorry, but you're wrong. From Wikipedia:

"Pre-shared key mode (PSK, also known as Personal mode) is designed for home and small office networks that don't require the complexity of an 802.1X authentication server"

and also

"WPA-Personal
Also referred to as WPA-PSK (Pre-shared key) mode, it is designed for home and small office networks and doesn't require an authentication server. Each wireless network device authenticates with the access point using the same 256-bit key generated from a password or passphrase."

The same 256-bit key. No authentication server required! And none mentioned in the tip either. FWIW "WPA Personal" is how OS X refers to it too. The type you're referring to, requiring an authentication server, is referred to by OS X as WPA Enterprise.

Edited on Apr 19, '12 03:49:01PM by r-spx



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How to connect to a WPA-PSK/WPA2-PSK wireless network
Authored by: agentx on Apr 20, '12 02:23:33AM

See my comment as i respectfully disagree with your comment regarding "PSK" @leamanc

Edited on Apr 20, '12 02:24:33AM by agentx



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How to connect to a WPA-PSK/WPA2-PSK wireless network
Authored by: ademsemir on Apr 22, '12 12:03:24PM

I have WPA2-PSK at home, and i have never had any problem connecting to it from my MBP and MBA. its a straight forward thing using the standard dialog box http://cl.ly/2H3T1g3U253t2H2s0X2q



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How to connect to a WPA-PSK/WPA2-PSK wireless network
Authored by: r-spx on Apr 19, '12 04:00:21PM

WPA Personal = WPA-PSK (and WPA2-PSK).

Apple prefers to use the term WPA Personal, which is probably what you saw in the Airport documentation.

From Wikipedia:

"WPA-Personal: Also referred to as WPA-PSK (Pre-shared key) mode, it is designed for home and small office networks and doesn't require an authentication server. Each wireless network device authenticates with the access point using the same 256-bit key generated from a password or passphrase."





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How to connect to a WPA-PSK/WPA2-PSK wireless network
Authored by: neuralstatic on Apr 19, '12 12:46:46PM

i've had oddball problems with joining some wifi networks, but the broad statement about psk issues isn't correct.

that being said, it's good to keep in mind the manual add for problematic situations -- if it avoids the standard problems.



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How to connect to a WPA-PSK/WPA2-PSK wireless network
Authored by: r-spx on Apr 19, '12 03:53:24PM

Lion struggles with "captive" public wifi networks, which are free of encryption but require you to login when you first attempt to visit any website.

It's a long story why none of it works very well, to do with new technology hastily introduced in Lion and also a buggy implementation. From what I've seen of the Mountain Lion developer previews, it appears the issues have been fixed.



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How to connect to a WPA-PSK/WPA2-PSK wireless network
Authored by: sal.mancini on Apr 19, '12 01:17:00PM

Thank you.
It worked for me.
Before of this I had to select my preferred wi-fi network every time the system started.
After this hint it joins without any selection.
The wi-fi network is Vodafone Station 2



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How to connect to a WPA-PSK/WPA2-PSK wireless network
Authored by: metiure on Apr 19, '12 03:14:48PM

Is this a Lion-only hint?
I ask because I am a Snow Leo user and I don't have any Wifi tab in the Advanced tab of my Network prefpane...

Besides, as other readers, this is bogus, I don't have any kind of problems with any kind of wifi connections... at least since 10.4 Tiger!



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How to connect to a WPA-PSK/WPA2-PSK wireless network
Authored by: leamanc on Apr 19, '12 03:23:25PM

Perhaps you have never ran into a network with a pre-shared key (PSK). It is not the same as a wireless access point secured by WPA password.

I can vouch for this hint when it comes to PSK; it is much the same for Windows.



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How to connect to a WPA-PSK/WPA2-PSK wireless network
Authored by: r-spx on Apr 19, '12 03:44:59PM

See my reply previously to one of your posts but you're incorrect. Wikipedia says:

"Pre-shared key mode (PSK, also known as Personal mode) is designed for home and small office networks that don't require the complexity of an 802.1X authentication server"



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How to connect to a WPA-PSK/WPA2-PSK wireless network
Authored by: Westside guy on Apr 22, '12 10:36:51AM

In support of r-spx...

The Pre-Shared Key (PSK) refers to an encryption token that has nothing to do with the user's account at all. It's a shared secret that allows your device and the access point to create an encrypted channel and communicate over it. That encrypted connection has to be made *before* the access point requests your personal authentication info - e.g. your username and password, or PIN, or whatever is being used on that particular network.

The PSK also changes over time - I think the default period is an hour, at least on Apple Airport devices. It's also unique to your specific connection. If your laptop is using an access point and authenticated with your account, and your phone is also connected to that same access point using your account - they are using different PSKs.

Edited on Apr 22, '12 10:38:08AM by Westside guy



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How to connect to a WPA-PSK/WPA2-PSK wireless network
Authored by: David Allen on Apr 25, '12 06:58:30AM
Is this a Lion-only hint? I ask because I am a Snow Leo user and I don't have any Wifi tab in the Advanced tab of my Network prefpane...
In Snow Leopard it is not that hard to figure out, it is the AirPort tab.
---
Dah•veed |David Allen|
Monterrey, NL, Mexico


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How to connect to a WPA-PSK/WPA2-PSK wireless network
Authored by: agentx on Apr 20, '12 02:15:19AM

OK lets all take stock and use some logic here and I respectfully disagree with a few of the comments generally being banded about ! And i overall am unhappy about the general forum bashing as well as people may find a hint useful even though "you" have not.

WPA-PSK / WPA2-PSK does not require an "authentication server" per se as @leamanc has suggested.

Pre-Shared Key (PSK) Mode
The PSK mode is designed for home or small network use where an 802.1x authentication server isn't required. WPA-PSK works by regularly changing the automatic encryption keys authenticated between computers, your server or router and other devices that connect to it. PSK dramatically improves protection over WEP, as the encryption keys change very quickly, thus preventing intruders from gathering data to break encryption and into your network.

Now lets get to Encryption.....
WPA tends to use TKIP and WPA2 uses AES encryption.
Both these methods Apple call WPA Personal or WPA2 Personal.
AES is preferred as it is more secure and recent exploits of TKIP have led to it being slowly phased out just like WEP which should not be used at all.
However WPA works with most older hardware where as WPA2 will require more modern hardware (6 year old ish)

Overall with modern Wi-FI hardware using 'n" protocol you need to ONLY use WPA2 with AES encryption to get the best speeds/throughput. But that is another story.

I do not really want to go into WPA2 Enterprise, RADIUS, 802.1X etc as this is just going to make it even more complex for people to understand and irrelevant for Home users as this used when connecting to Business/Enterprise networks.

Edited on Apr 20, '12 02:26:08AM by agentx



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How to connect to a WPA-PSK/WPA2-PSK wireless network
Authored by: Westside guy on Apr 22, '12 10:21:29AM

Just a side note - Apple's Airport utilities used to offer the choice of TKIP or AES when you were setting up a WPA network. Since TKIP was known to be the weaker protocol (back before it was proven breakable), I always selected AES for home networks.



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How to connect to a WPA-PSK/WPA2-PSK wireless network
Authored by: agentx on Apr 20, '12 05:06:41AM

......Also to add many networks are setup for WPA/WPA2 (MIxed Mode) to allow for backward compatibility with older devices such as a Wii.

Sometimes machines MAY have connection negotiation issues with certain hardware and will not connect this is when this hint MAY work.
ie. setup the connection using manual setting to make sure it connects with WPA2-PSK(AES) etc.

Edited on Apr 20, '12 05:07:50AM by agentx



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Add me to the list
Authored by: Westside guy on Apr 22, '12 10:13:23AM

I've never had trouble connecting a Mac to a WPA/PSK or WPA2/PSK network. And, as others have said - that's what the Airport Extreme's WPA "Personal" mode is. I also seem to remember that, at some iteration, the Airport Utility (or older Admin Utility) actually used the terminology "WPA/WPA2 Pre-Shared Key".

I'm sure the hint's author had trouble connecting to one such network, and figured out how to get it to work. But he shouldn't have extrapolated one isolated circumstance and assumed this to always be the case.

However I'm also sure this information will be useful to someone who finds himself under similar circumstances. It might be worth rewording the hint (maybe something along the lines of "if you find your Mac unable to join a WPA/PSK or WPA2/PSK network...").



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Add me to the list
Authored by: r-spx on Apr 22, '12 01:00:44PM

Thanks for your comment above explaining what a PSK actually is.

As for the author of this tip, I suspect English might not be their first language. What they meant to write isn't what they ended-up writing.



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How to connect to a WPA-PSK/WPA2-PSK wireless network
Authored by: satcomer on Apr 23, '12 01:58:20PM

Let me guess that most Mac users don't know what System Preferences->Network pane, 'Location-drop-down' is used for. The original article maker could have saved him/herself a lot of time by changing Network Locations.



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