Wi-Fi Networks atand
of Wireless Networks
1. Wireless LAN
Within a building or in a small outdoor area, internet connection is made possible through wireless LAN (WLAN) technology. WLAN technology was initially utilized in homes and businesses, but is now present in shops and dining establishments. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic forcing office workers, students, teachers, and others to work and study from home, the use of home networks has significantly expanded.
Most home network designs are simple. A modem connects to the cable or fiber from a local service provider. A wireless router is connected to the modem and receives the signal from the modem, which it then broadcasts using a wireless protocol, such as the 802.11 standards.
Office networks are more complicated. Access points (APs) are mounted on the ceiling, with each broadcasting a wireless signal to the surrounding area. Multiple APs are required in large offices, each connecting to the office backbone network via a wired connection to a switch.
2. Wireless MAN
Wireless metropolitan area networks have been installed in cities worldwide to provide access for people outside an office or home network. Although these networks have a larger coverage area than networks in offices or homes, the fundamentals are the same. All around the service region, APs can be seen on the sides of buildings or atop telephone poles. APs transmit a wireless signal throughout the region while being wired to the internet. Users connect to the closest AP, which then forwards the connection through its internet connection, to reach their intended destination.
3. Wireless PAN
Wireless personal area networks cover a very limited area — typically a maximum of 100 meters for most applications — using protocols like Bluetooth and Zigbee. Bluetooth enables hands-free phone calls, connects a phone to earpieces or transmits signals between smart devices. Zigbee connects stations along an IoT network. Infrared technology is limited to line of sight, such as connecting TV remotes to televisions.
Wireless developers have constantly improved technology by discovering new ways to transmit signals to users. These advances enable higher data rates and increasing range for each of these wireless technologies.
4. Wireless WAN
Wireless WANs use cellular technology to provide access outside the range of a wireless LAN or metropolitan network. These networks enable users to make phone calls to others connecting either through a wireless WAN or a wired telephone system. Users can also connect to the internet to access websites or server-based applications.
In the United States and the majority of other nations, cell towers can be found almost anywhere. Whenever a user connects, the connection is forwarded to the closest cell tower, which is then either connected to the wired internet or to another tower that is.
|Amendments||Freq. (GHZ)||Modulation||Speed (Mbps)||Range (ft)|
|802.11i||Defines WPA2-Enterprise/WPA2-Personal for Wi-Fi||“||“||“|
|802.16 (WiMAX)||10-66||70-1000||30 miles|
It is important to understand that there is a distinction between being authenticated onto a wireless network and then having the traffic passed be encrypted. It is possible to be authenticated onto a network and pass open unencrypted traffic; this section looks at the commonly used methods of authentication.
There are three main methods of authentication that are used on today’s wireless LANs:
- open authentication
- shared authentication
- EAP (Extensible Authentication Protocol) authentication
The open authentication method is the simplest of the methods used and only requires that the end device be aware of the Service-Set Identifier (SSID) used on the network, as long as the SSID is known then the device will be allowed onto the network. The problem with this method is that the SSID is typically broadcast and if it is not, it can be easy to figure out with passive capturing techniques.
The shared authentication method is commonly used on individual and small business wireless LAN implementations; this method uses a shared key (Pre-Shared Key – PSK) that is given to both sides of the connection; if they match then the device is allowed onto the network.
The third method uses the Extensible Authentication Protocol (EAP) and is the most common method used by enterprises. The EAP method utilizes an authentication server that is queried for authentication using a variety of credential options.
Wi-Fi Authentication Process Using a