DefinitionIn computer networking, a passphrase is one or a few small words chosen by an administrator for use as a security setting. The passphrase represents a long, but easy to remember password.

Some WiFi home networking equipment utilizes passphrases to generate static WEP keys. Rather than create the long hexadecimal numbers WEP requires, an administrator may instead enter a passphrase into the setup screens of wireless routers and network adapters. That setup software then automatically sets the appropriate WEP key based on the passphrase provided.

WiFi passphrases can simplify wireless network setup. Because passphrases are easy to remember, administrators are less likely to enter mismatched security settings on any of their devices.

However, not all WiFi gear supports [gs passphrase]s. In addition, passphrases normally cannot be used on a network when mixing equipment from different manufacturers, as each manufacturer generally employs different algorithms for generating keys.