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Wifi 6 M.2 network adapters (LAN cards)

RDunn5
Novice
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Greetings, I recently upgraded my wireless router to wifi 6 AX3000 and put new M.2 wifi 6 cards in my laptops. I put the same wireless adapter in both laptops and I am trying to see if I can update my home network to WPA3 security. The router supports it but I am having some confusion concerning these wireless adapters and my laptops. I downloaded Intel wifi 6 drivers for Intel M.2 wireless adapters which are suppose to enable the wifi cards to support WPA 3 but it says for AX200 (gig+) and mine are wifi6 AX200 (160mhz). What's the difference and will the cards I have work with the WPA 3? Is there anything else I need or need to know before attempting to make this switch from WPA 2 to WPA 3?

 

I have 2 Dell Inspiron laptops, one 15-3000 series running Windows 10 pro, 16GB SK Hynix 2400mhz RAM, 500GB SK Hynix Gold S-31 SATA3 SSD and the other is a Dell Inspiron 15-7000 series with Windows 11 pro, 32GB SK Hynix 2666mhz RAM, 1TB SK Hynix Gold P-31 M.2 PCIe NVMe SSD. My phone is a Samsung Galaxy Note 20 Ultra so I know that won't be an issue but I also have a BD/Blu Ray player, a TV, and an AVR that are connected via wired LAN cables and an Echo Alexa device which is wireless so not sure about those or if I can keep them WPA2? This is all a bit confusing so I hope I can get some feedback to help straighten things out. I won't be happy if I did this all and can't use it because of the home entertainment stuff??? Any input on this is much appreciated, thanks.

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n_scott_pearson
Super User
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WPA security is specific to individual wireless connections and will not be affected by other systems/devices connected regardless of how they are connected. The fact that you might have a system/device connecting wirelessly using WPA2 security does not mean that another system/device cannot connect using WPA3 security. Now, this all presumes that you have a router that actually supports WPA3; it is certainly possible to have a router that supports WiFi 6 and Wireless-AX but only supports WPA2 security. For example, tp-link's AX1800 router supports WPA3 but their AX1500 router only supports WPA2.

As well as the AX200 cards that come from Intel, there are *lots* of 3rd-party cards that also utilize the AX200 silicon. In my forays onto the Amazon and NewEgg sites, I regularly see entries for 3rd-party cards that try to make it look as if these cards are actually Intel cards, sometimes even using Intel's picture for these cards (with a little subtle blurring of the Intel name/logo). Regardless of what/whose card you have, the drivers and firmware used with these cards is the same (specific to the AX200 silicon) and, since the support for WPA3 is a Windows connection-level feature (i.e., not specific to the AX200 silicon), it should work regardless. I have both Intel and 3rd-party versions of the AX200 and AX210 cards and they all connect to my tp-link AX1800 router using WPA3 without issue.

Note: The security level (WPA2 vs. WPA3) is specific to each connection established for a router. If you have previous connection(s) for this router (for its SSID(s)) that utilizes WPA2 security, then they will continue to use WPA2, even if support for WPA3 is available. If you previously established connections (i.e. known networks) using WPA2, you will need to delete these connections and then reboot. Deleting these connection(s) (from Windows' Manage Known Networks Setup scene) will result in the connection(s) being recreated during subsequent connection attempts, and this time WPA3 security will be associated with the password.

Hope this covers it,

...S

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