Wireless Lan Security - a Review

Topics: Wireless LAN, Wireless networking, Wi-Fi Pages: 17 (5329 words) Published: August 6, 2013
Wireless LAN Security – A Review

Taranpreet Singh (100680826527),I.T (6th Sem), S.B.B.S.I.E.T

Abstract — Wireless local area network (WLAN) has been widely used in many sectors. The popularity gained is due to many reasons, such as ease of installation, installation flexibility, mobility, reduced cost-of-ownership, and scalability. However, regardless of the benefits mentioned above, WLAN have some security threats, in which anyone who use it or intend to use it should be aware of. This paper begins by introducing the concept of WLAN. The introductory section gives brief information on the WLAN components and its architecture. In order to examine the WLAN security threats, this paper will look at Denial of Service, Spoofing, and Eavesdropping. The paper will then explain how Wired Equivalent Privacy (WEP) works, which is the IEEE 802.11b/WiFi standard encryption for wireless networking. The discussion of WEP continues by examining its weaknesses, which result in it being much less secured than what was originally intended. This situation leads to further research regarding practical solutions in implementing a more secured WLAN. This paper will also cover the new standards to improve the security of WLAN such as the IEEE 802.1x standard, which comprises of three separated sections: Point-to-Point Protocol (PPP), Extensible Authentication Protocol (EAP) and 802.1x itself. The 802.1x is actually included in 802.11i, a newly proposed standard for key distribution and encryption that will play a big role in improving the overall security capabilities of current and future WLAN networks. The 802.11i standard provides two improved encryption algorithms to replace WEP, which are Temporal Key Integrity Protocol (TKIP) and CBC-MAC Protocol (CCMP). This paper will also list down several products that will assist users to protect their wireless networks from attacks. Finally, this paper ends with the conclusion of highlighted issues and solutions. .

Index Terms — About four key words or phrases in order of importance, separated by commas, used to compile the subject index for the last issue for the year.


A wireless local area network (WLAN) is a flexible data communications system that can use either infrared or radio frequency technology to transmit and receive information over the air. In 1997, 802.11 was implemented as the first WLAN standard. It is based on radio technology operating in the 2.4 GHz frequency and has a maximum throughput of 1 to 2 Mbps. The currently most spread and deployed standard, IEEE 802.11b, was introduced late 1999. It still operates in the same frequency range, but with a maximum speed of 11 Mbps. WLAN has been widely used in many sectors ranging from corporate, education, finance, healthcare, retail, manufacturing, and warehousing. According to a study by the Gartner Group, approximately 50 percent of company laptops around the world will be equipped for WLAN by 2006 [14]. It has increasingly becoming an important technology to satisfy the needs for installation flexibility, mobility, reduced cost-of-ownership, and scalability.

1 WLAN Components

One important advantage of WLAN is the simplicity of its installation. Installing a wireless LAN system is easy and can eliminate the needs to pull cable through walls and ceilings. The physical architecture of WLAN is quite simple. Basic components of a WLAN are access points (APs) and Network Interface Cards (NICs)/client adapters.

Access Points

Access Point (AP) is essentially the wireless equivalent of a LAN hub. It is typically connected with the wired backbone through a standard Ethernet cable, and communicates with wireless devices by means of an antenna. An AP operates within a specific frequency spectrum and uses 802.11 standard specified modulation techniques. It also informs the wireless clients of its availability, and authenticates and associates wireless clients to the...
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