Security Problems in 802.11 based Wireless Networks

S.P. Ahuja and K. Dendukuri (USA)


: 802.11, wireless LANs, security.


Wireless local area network (WLAN) based on IEEE 802.11 protocols have been widely used in many sectors. The popularity gained is due to the increased need for mobility requirements. In order for critical data and services to be delivered over WLANs, reasonable level of security must be guaranteed. The IEEE 802.11 standard defines the Wireless Equivalent Privacy Protocol (WEP) to provide the data privacy to the level of a wired network. WEP works using RC4 encryption with a shared key. WEP fell short of its design goals and numerous flaws quickly appeared. The discovery of shortcomings led to a process to replace WEP by more robust security protocols [2]. This paper investigates the security aspects of 802.11 networks. Specifically the paper discusses security threats, provides an overview of the existing security architectures and an introduction to WEP technology, reviews the WEP security flaws, and discusses the progress made toward replacing WEP.

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