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Wireless LAN

Technology
Introduction
Why look at WLANs?
Who Cares?
Maybe he hasnt noticed, but we
develop software for a living, not
wire up networks
Topics of Discussion
What is a Wireless LAN
How does a WLAN work?
Differing Technologies within the
implementation of WLANs
Advantages/Disadvantages
How do I steal my rich stock broker
neighbors weekly stock tips?

What is a Wireless LAN
A network of computers and other
devices not bound by the normal
constraints and costs that a
traditional LAN involves
How does a WLAN
work?
Data sent through the air using
radio frequency
Broken down into two basic
components:
Transmitter/Transceiver
Transmitters/Transceivers transmit
data at the same radio frequency
Transmitters
Access Points(AP)
Network device responsible for
converting wired LAN signal into
radio frequency
Good for supporting users within a
couple of hundred feet without
degradation of signal
AP Usability
Up to three Access Points may be
combined to create larger field
Automatic strongest field detection
allows user to wander around with
changeovers staged transparently
If longer range is necessary,
directional antennae can be
substituted in place of AP

Transceivers
Wireless Ethernet cards
Manufactured for both
PCMCIA/PCI slots
Installs just like regular LAN
adapters
Be careful for the antennae
The 802.11/11b Standard
Standard developed for WLAN
technologies
Lays out:
FH Frequency Hopping
DSSS Direct Sequence Spread
Spectrum
Diffused infrared
Frequency Hopping(FH)
Uses Bursts of signals
Maintains a single logical channel
Is one of the two recommended RF
platforms found in the 802.11
standard, has been omitted for
new 802.11b platform
Direct Sequence Spread
Spectrum(DSSS)
Has been adopted in both the
802.11/11b standard
The use of a wider frequency
range while sending data allows for
higher bandwidth
Breaks up data into small pieces,
then transmits through a range of
frequencies
Security
RF signals are unfortunately prone
to interception by unwanted
parties(intentional/unintentional)
FH quickly switches from
frequency to frequency making it
hard to keep up
DSSS is scrambled, reducing risk
of unintentional interception(900
mhz phones, military comm, etc)
The Big Gun
WEP Wired Equivalent Privacy
Uses a key on each end, much like
an RSA model
This implementation is the answer
to a lot of firms crying out for
privacy
Allows for Geographically
dependent security
Performance
802.11 used to sustain at most a
6mb/s connection
New 802.11b standard commands
closer to 11mb/s
Signal degrades with distance
depending primarily on
environment(open field vs. lead
shielding)
Disadvantages
Limited range(500 ft, up to 1500
with additional AP hardware)
Bandwidth quickly eaten by too
many machines(load balancing
has not yet fully matured within this
technology)
Limited Maximum Bandwidth
(11mb/s)
Advantages
Easy, convenient setup
Highly cost effective for small to
mid-range shops, or as add-ons to
large enterprise networks
Minimal downtime for relocation of
computer away from cubicle with
annoying person next door
Get Rich Quick Scheme
Now How to get those stock
quotes
Use a Hidden Web Cam
Or just go ask him, either way, it is
substantially easier and cheaper
than trying to hack into a wireless
LAN using DSSS combined with
WEP
Any Questions?