Network Architecture

The first wireless Local Area Network standard was the IEEE 802. 11. IEEE 182. 11 has the ability to define the Media Access Control. It also defines physical access layers of the Wireless Local Area Network. IEEE 182. 11 concentrates on local area networking in which the communication through the connected devices is transmitted in the air to the nearest devices which are near each other. The Medium Access Control layer panel is specified in the IEEE 802. 11 standard. The MAC Layer offers various functions that could sustain the operations of the IEEE based wireless local area network.

Generally, the function of the MAC Layer is to handle and sustain the communications between IEEE 802. 11 stations, this is done by purely coordinating the access to a shared radio and by employing protocols that would develop communication over wireless media. MAC Layer is often referred to as the ‘brain’ of the wireless local area network. The IEEE 802. 11 MAC Layer utilizes the 802. 11 Physical Layer or more commonly called as the PHY Layer. The PHY Layer could be 802. 11a or 802. 11b.

The roles of the PHY Layer are to do the tasks of delivery service sensing, transmission and the receiving of 802.11 frames (Geier, 2002). Various components and services that work together to offer and perform station mobility apparent to the higher layers of the network load is all included in the architecture of 182. 11 architecture. The station of the WLAN is the most fundamental part of the wireless network. The network station is a set of device wherein the function of 802. 11 protocols which are the MAC and PHY layers are all connected to a wireless medium. The functions and roles of the 182. 11 are in the hardware and software.

This is called the network interface card. The station that a wireless LAN could consider is a laptop which is able to sustain the services the station could perform. These services include the data delivery and privacy. Security (SSID, WEP, WPA and 802. 11i) SSID or the service set identifier is a tag which differentiates a wireless local area network from others. There are almost thirty two alphanumeric characters that are contained in the service set identifier. The access point is where the server set identifier is arranged and organized.

The vendor is the one which set the server set identifier and it had always been the case, it has a default name. For example, the Cisco access points’ server set identifier is tsunami. Other access point SSID of many companies is based on their company name. One problem of the default SSID is that confusion could arise if ever a company near your area has set up a wireless local area network and you have the same access point since the same vendor had covered your network (Geier, 2004). Changing the default SSID could solve the problem of having the same access points from the same vendors.

In many companies, this is agreat help in he management purposes because the companies are being able to differentiate their access point fro neighboring companies (Geier, 2004). The encryption logarithm that was made into the standards of the 802. 11 (Wi-Fi) is called as the Wired Equivalent Privacy. The encryption of the Wired Equivalent Privacy is utilizing the RC4 stream cipher. There are about forty or one hundred and four bit keys together with a twenty four bit initialization vector are present in the RC4 stream cipher (Teq-Faq, 2007).

Wireless networks transmit messages using radio that is why it is very prone to eavesdropping. Compared to the traditional wired networking, Wired Equivalent Privacy is able to provide more confidentiality. Some security tools like the airsnort, bsd-airtools, wep crack, wap attack and wep wedgie are used by the Wired Equivalent Privacy ((Teq-Faq, 2007). Difficulties had been encountered in WEP that is why WAP (Wireless Protected Access) was developed. Wireless Protection Access is a class of systems used to secure the networks for wireless computers.

It was developed in response to the various difficulties that was found in WEP. WAP implements many of the standards of IEEE 802. 11i. WAP was also intended to seize the palce of WEP while 802. 11i was prepared. It was designed to work with all the wireless network interface cards but it is not necessarily made to access the first generation of wireless access points. WPA2 is the one which implements the full standard of WAP but will not also work under some of the older network cards. WAP and WAP2 are both good for ensuring security purposes for the wireless network.

802.11 standards were amended and IEEE 802. 11i was developed which is with the specifications of security mechanisms for the wireless networks. In relation with the weaknesses found in the Wired Equivalent Privacy, Wireless Access Protection was developed and it was WAP which implemented the IEEE 182. 11i. According to the Wi-Fi Alliance, the full implementation of the IEEE 182. 11i will be as Wireless Access Protection 2 (WAP2) and was also called as the Robust Security Network (RSN). Unlike the WAP and WEP which only uses the RC4 stream cipher, IEEE 182. 11i uses the Advanced Encryption Standard block cipher.