There are four types of wireless network security are data encryption, port based access control, Services system identifier (SSID) and Media Access Control (MAC) address filtering. Data encryption secures the data that transmit through the network and rest are for secure access to the network.
Wireless Network Security
Data Encryption – Now days Wireless network Security is challenge. With this encryption, data packets are locked with a private encryption key before transmitted onto the network, and at the other end must have the encryption key to unlock the packet and access the data.
- Wired Equivalent Privacy (WEP)- Used to prevent interception of radio signals from users who are not permitted access to the access the wireless network. WEP is suitable for small network based on the RC4 encryption algorithm developed by RSA data system. It configures all access point with the same key for encryption and decryption. It uses 64 bit encryption algorithm to scramble data packets. but most vendors now enable stronger 128bit algorithms. WEP is considered to be a secured solution as its work only on the two lowest OSI network layers, Physical layers and data link layers. The encryption key used by WEP is static that does not change session.
- WI-FI Protected Access (WPA)- WPA was developed to overcome the short comings of WEP standard. It has many added features such as dynamic encryption key generation that is key are issued on the basis on the basis of per user and per session. It also has an encryption key integrity checking feature and user authentication through the industry standard extensible authentication protocol (EAP). The disadvantage of WPA are that is difficult to configure and is not available on all wireless devices.
Type of Wireless Network Security
Service Set Identifier (SSID) – SSID is a 32 characters unique identifier. It is the ID or name of a wireless local area network. Its is used to differentiate network from one another. Devices in the same network should have the same SSID. The device is granted access only if the SSID is matched. SSID string is inserted into the header of each data packet processed by wireless Access Point (AP). When Properly Configured only wireless client whose SSID matched that of the wireless AP are able to gain access to the wireless network. Data packets that lack the correct SSID in the header are rejected. The SSID, therefore, provide the most basic unite of wireless security.
Media Access Control (MAC) address filtering – MAC address filtering includes a list where the MAC address of the device is entered. MAC address are entered. MAC addresses are entered into the MAC addresses list of the access point. The access point compares the MAC address of the computer that makes a request of the MAC address list. MAC addresses that are listed in the can access other devices in the network. This type of security is preferred for smaller networks as each MAC address has to be entered into every access points. MAC address filtering is used for encryption along with WEP as means of authentication. The Wireless APs can be configure to deny a specific MAC address from accessing the Network.
Port Based Access Control:802.1X – The 802.1X utilizes the Extensible Authentication Protocol (EAP) that consist of EAP over LAN(EAPOL), protected EAP (PEAP) and EAP transport Level Security(EAP-TLS). Whenever the 802.1X enabled system tries to access, the client software is shut for all the traffic, except the EAP packets. Authentication messages are passed back and forth by AP between the suppliant and the authenticating server (RADIUS Server).
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