Wireless Network Security


If you are the Network Administrator for a small company, what are some steps that you would take to decide what type of wireless network security you would use? Discuss the considerations that you would take and the type of information you would need to gather prior to making your decision. Select one of the wireless network security protocols discussed in the Learning Activity and provide justification to support your recommendations and discuss your rationale in selecting a security model.


Wireless Network Security

Wireless networks have a variety of security mechanisms. You may have seen these when you have joined wireless networks:

  • WEP uses a fixed pre-shared key and the RC4 cryptographic cipher to encode data transmitted on a network. Stations must all agree on the fixed key in order to communicate. This method was easily broken and is now rarely used except to discourage transient users from joining networks.
  • WPA requires only the TKIP cipher that is derived from the original WEP cipher and a subset of the requirements found in the subsequent 802.11i specification and is designed for use with legacy hardware.
  • 802.11i defines new cryptographic ciphers and an additional protocol to authenticate stations to an access point and exchange keys for data communication. Cryptographic keys are periodically refreshed and there are mechanisms for detecting and countering intrusion attempts.
  • WME/WMM was defined by an industry group as a subset of 802.11e that can be deployed now to enable multimedia applications while waiting for the final ratification of 802.11e.
  • 802.11e defines protocols for deploying multimedia applications, such as streaming video and voice over IP (VoIP). Both 802.11e and WME/WMM enable prioritized traffic over a wireless network through Quality of Service (QoS) protocols and enhanced media access protocols.

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