July 2010 Archives

links for 2010-07-29

WPA2 Hex-Key Passphrase Limitations?

Industrial wireless access point

Image via Wikipedia

I suppose it is common to limit passphrases to 63 characters on Linux machines.. Perhaps this is a well established standard. Actually, I've used a 64 character hexadecimal passphrase for my home wireless access point for the better of part of 4yrs. The majority of the people who visit my home are using windoze notebook computers and the passphrase seems to be readily digested without incident. However, now that I now have three linux powered wireless devices (Nokia N800/N900 and Acer Aspire) it would seem that the 64 character hexadecimal passphrase cannot be digested using standard wireless tools on my favorite OS.

The passphrase was generated from the Steve Gibson's ultra high security password generators :-)  I seem to recall him advertising that the passphrases are ideal for Wi-Fi networks.

After performing the ubiquitous GOOG search, I stumbled on a couple of summaries written by folks who have had similar problems. It seems that the 63 character limit helps to distinguish between ASCII-key input and hexadecimal-key input. At least this would seem logical for the Nokia Nxxx internet devices. I'm not sure if the explanation is similar for wpa-supplicant on your garden variety linux system.

Anyway I'll try this hint and report my results when I get a moment.
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