How does Wi-Fi Protected Setup work?

There are three primary approaches to network setup within Wi-Fi Protected Setup: push-button, PIN entry, and Near Field Communication (NFC). PIN entry is mandatory in all Wi-Fi Protected Setup devices, while push-button and NFC are optional and may also be found in some devices.

Push-button configuration (PBC): in some Wi-Fi Protected Setup networks, the user may connect multiple devices to the network and enable data encryption by pushing a button. The access point/wireless router will have a physical button, and other devices may have a physical or software-based button. Users should be aware that during the two-minute setup period which follows the push of the button, unintended devices could join the network if they are in range.

PIN entry: in all Wi-Fi Protected Setup networks, a unique PIN (Personal Identification Number) will be required for each device to join the network.  A fixed PIN label or sticker may be placed on a device, or a dynamic PIN can be generated and shown on the device's display (e.g., a TV screen or monitor).  PIN is used to make sure the intended device is added to the network being set up and will help to avoid accidental or malicious attempts to add unintended devices to the network.

A registrar device (which could be an Access Point/wireless router, PC television, or other device) will detect when a new Wi-Fi device is in range, and prompt the user to enter the PIN, if he or she wishes to add the new device to the network.  In this mode, Wi-Fi Protected Setup network encrypts data and authenticates each device on the network.  The PIN entry method is supported in all devices.

Near Field Communication (NFC):  A Near Field Communication interface can be used to transfer network settings to a new device without requiring manual entry of its PIN.  The NFC method provides strong protection against adding an unintended device to the network. This is an optional method for Wi-Fi Protected Setup Access Points and devices.