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Chapter Summary

All in all, deploying a wireless network is not for the fainthearted. Installing a wireless access point in the network essentially broadcasts and extends your network beyond the walls of your organization into treacherous territory. Wireless intruders can begin capturing data and breaking into the network without your ever knowing an attack is happening. This is why it is so critical to understand the security considerations before you attach wireless equipment in your environment.

When securing your wireless network, not all security standards are created equal. The initial WEP system of security offered only 64-bit encryption. It was easily broken because of the key strength as well as a number of flaws that plagued the initial WEP deployment. WEP2 increased the key strength to 128-bit encryption, but it still suffered many of the other weaknesses of WEP. WPA was released to address many of those weaknesses, but it was considered an interim solution while network users began migrating to new hardware. Modern networks employ WPA2 (aka 802.11i) to ensure up-to-date security standards in the world of wireless.

In addition to locking down the wireless network, many implementation considerations must be taken into account. Wireless is susceptible to RF interference. This adds many physical layers of troubleshooting that did not exist in the wired environment. Ensuring that your wireless cells include an acceptable amount of overlap and differing channels lays the foundation for ensuring adequate wireless coverage for your organization.

Key Terms

  • 802.11a/b/g/n
  • WEP 64-bit
  • WEP 128-bit
  • WPA
  • WPA2 (802.11i)
  • 802.1x
  • Wireless Intrusion Prevention System (IPS)
  • Basic Service Set (BSS)
  • Extended Service Set (ESS)
  • Radio Frequency (RF)
  • 2.4GHz band
  • 5GHz band
  • Wireless channels
  • Wireless cells
  • Wireless roaming
  • Wireless data rate
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