Wireless networks began with the IEEE 802.11 standard in 1997. This standard specified everything from how various devices on the wireless network speak to each other to the security of the network. When it was first drafted, the authors of the 802.11 standard understood the need to provide a "privacy" to the wireless network that would be similar to that provided by wired networks. Their work towards this regard was termed "Wired Equivalent Privacy", or WEP for short.
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