WiFi TECHNOLOGY

 

 

By: David Ivey, Kelsie Jones, Daniel Easterly and Marcus Benford

What is Wifi?   How Does it Work   Benefits   Security   Future   Overview   Bibliography

WHAT IS WiFi?

WiFi, aka wireless fidelity is the way to connect devices together without wires.  It can be done in homes, businesses, between businesses etc.  WiFi offers a lot of advantages over LANS, but it does include disadvantages.

By: David Ivey

 

What is Wifi?   How Does it Work   Benefits   Security   Future   Overview   Bibliography

HOW DOES IT WORK

Wireless Internet Access has four components that form its structure: high-speed access, a networking gateway, a wireless network and a wireless customer.  The customer connects wirelessly through the wireless network to the gateway, it then launches their internet browser, authenticates through the gateway by entering a coupon code or purchasing time and the user has high-speed internet.

The four components are:

1)High-speed access which is also known as broadband is an internet connection which is generally faster than dial up service.  Examples of high-speed internet access are ISDN, cable modem, DSL, and also  satellite services.

2) Network Gateway is between your high-speed access connection and the wireless network, it acts like a gate.  This gate will prevent people from accessing your wireless network unless you know about it, the gateway also allows managing tools as well.  These can include authentication, network monitoring, and other services such as printing and voice over IP. 

3) Wireless local area network is a system of connecting PC's and other devices within the same physical proximity using high-frequency radio waves instead of wires.  Wireless networks work as long as your wireless ready device is within range.

4) Wireless customers are people who have a PC and a wireless adapter which means they can access the internet wirelessly.  The wireless adapter can be built in or it can be an external device plugged into your computer. 

 

WiFi, allows a universal internet connection to be broadcasted through radio waves.

Radio waves are what make WiFi exist and run.  They allow WiFi networking to occur between numerous people.  The radio waves are transmitted from antennas and routers and are picked up by WiFi receivers such as computers and cell phones equipped with WiFi cards.  When these devices receive a signal within the range of a WiFi network, the WiFi card then reads the signals and produces an internet connection without a cord.   Once a connection is established between user and the network , the user will be prompted with a login screen and password if it is fee based.

WiFi networking around the world is creating not spots in the cities where anyone with a laptop can wirelessly plug into the internet.  Hot spots are connection points for WiFi networks; areas where wireless internet is available for those who have internet ready devices.  Hot spots are becoming available everywhere, in restaurants, hotels, airports, schools, etc.

The following is a simple and understandable way to picture the way WiFi works.  The main source is the antenna; the antenna sends radio signals to the people who want to access the internet.  The people wanting access must have a Wife card; the Wife cards receives the radio signals through its' Wife receivers and creates a wireless connection.

By: Kelsie Jones

What is Wifi?   How Does it Work   Benefits   Security   Future   Overview   Bibliography

 

BENEFITS OF WiFi

Freedom of Movement

Many compatible devices

Continuous connection to a network from a variety of sites.

No wires = lower installation costs

By: David Ivey

What is Wifi?   How Does it Work   Benefits   Security   Future   Overview   Bibliography

 

HOW SECURE IS WiFi

            WiFi has had, and continues to have several security issues.  In September of 1999 WEP (Wired Equivalent Privacy) was the standard for wireless PC’s.  WEP is used in the physical and data link layers, and was designed to give wireless LANs the same security that wired LANs had.  WEP provided security by encrypting the data while it traveled from one end point to the other.  Unlike wired LANs who’s networks are usually inside of a building where it’s protected wireless LANs are more vulnerable due to the fact that the data travels over radio waves which are much easier to intercept.  Another reason WEP is vulnerable is because in some corporations the managers do not change the shared keys for months or years at a time.  That is way to long for the key to be in use, with that much time the key can get into the wrong hands, which could be disastrous for the corporation. 

            In 2002 the wireless LANs security was upgraded when WiFi Protected Access (WPA) was introduced.  WPA had several improvements like better encryption, and it also used the RADIUS-based 802.1X, which authorizes the user to gain access to the ISP provider.   Also the setup for WPA was much simpler than the setup for WEP. WPA came in two types, Enterprise which was used for corporations, and also Personal which was used for home users.  

            In June of 2004 802.11i was completed and became the new and current standard for WiFi.  802.11i is also known as WiFi Protected Access 2(WPA2).  WPA and WPA2 have several of the same qualities, but WPA2 upgraded its encryption of data with the Advanced Encryption Standard (AES).  There is a problem with AES however, and the problem is that this could require hardware upgrades for many wireless LANs. WPA2 is compatible with WPA products, and consumers can upgrade to WPA2 easily.  However WPA2 is not compatible with the original WiFi standard WEP.  Also like WPA, WPA2 has two versions, WPA2 Enterprise is for corporations, and WPA2 Personal is for the home users.

            Many corporations today use a Virtual Private Network (VPN) to send and receive important information.  Virtual Private Networks use the internet to send and receive information by creating a tunnel connecting the two end users.  VPN encrypts the data to keep any hackers from stealing the information while it is being sent.  To use a VPN the two end users must be using the same authentic protocol or it will not work.  The authentic protocol gives only certain users access to certain information. 

            There are several other ways to protect your wireless computer and the information that is stored on it.  One of the first things you should do is to change the default information on your wireless router.  The reason for this is that many hackers have gained access to the default information from the different companies who create the wireless PC’s, which makes it easier for them to get into your computer information.  You should also have strong passwords on your wireless computers to keep the hackers from getting into your sensitive data.  Another way to protect yourself is to download firewalls onto your computer.  Firewalls monitor, and restrict the traffic that comes in and out of your computer.  Downloading anti-virus software onto your computer is another way to protect your computer.  You should update your anti-virus software often, because within one month there are at least 10 to 50 new viruses, or worms that the anti-virus software is not capable of protecting your computer against.  If you take your personal wireless computer out in public you should turn off your file sharing.  Keeping your file sharing on is an easy way for hackers to get into your system.  Also when you are not on your computer, you should turn it off.  This is the surest way to keep hackers out of your computer files.  They can’t get into the system if it’s not on.  There are several other ways that you can protect your sensitive data, but these are a few simple things that everyone should do to protect themselves, and their data. 

By: Daniel Easterly

What is Wifi?   How Does it Work   Benefits   Security   Future   Overview   Bibliography

 

 

FUTURE WiFi ADVANCEMENTS

Bluetooth is a wireless technology that allows computers, phones and other devices to talk to each other over short distances (typically about 10 meters). It is found in many of the newer mobile phones, handheld computers, and laptops as well as in other sorts of products. Bluetooth uses radio waves and is designed to be an inexpensive way of connecting and exchanging information between devices without wires.  Bluetooth can be used to exchange business cards or even used for sending voice from a headset to a mobile phone. Examples of this type of technology are the Nokia 6600  and the Sony Ericsson P900 mobile phones. These specific phones allow you to connect your PC and enable you to transfer files and perform backups.  Some of the disadvantages to this technology are that confidential data can be obtained, anonymously, and without the owner’s consent from other Bluetooth enabled mobile phones.  This data includes not only the phonebook and calendar, but media files such as pictures and text messages. Most devices have and option where you can put your device into a non-discoverable state so that you are invisible to other Bluetooth devices. While in this mode all your information and data are safe.  However, in order to receive business contacts wirelessly you will need to place the phone in discoverable mode.

           

Bluetooth is all good and well but one of the most leading technologies is Ultra-wideband (UWB) modulations. UWB usually refers to a radio modulation technique based on transmitting very-short-duration pulses, whereby the occupied bandwidth goes to very large values. This may also be used to refer to anything with a very large bandwidth. UWB is now going through the necessary authorizations and developments for public and commercial use.  There's a possibility that this will become the "next best" technology for all types of wireless networks, including wireless LANs.  Because UWB operates at such low power, it has very little interference impact on other systems. Another advantage is that it could connect virtually every multimedia device in your home without using any wires. Digital cameras and camcorders could wirelessly stream images and video to your TV or and flat screen monitors could wirelessly connected to computers, DVD players, or any other source you desire. UWB will very likely revolutionize the home multimedia scene and eliminate all the tangled wires found behind home entertainment centers.

 

A Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) tag is a small silicon microchip attached to an antenna that emits a unique serial number via radio over short distances. The RFID device serves the same purpose as a bar code or a magnetic strip on the back of a credit card or ATM card; it provides a unique identifier for that object. And, just as a bar code or magnetic strip must be scanned to get the information, the RFID device must be scanned to retrieve the information.  In contrast, RFID devices will work within a few feet (up to 20 feet for high-frequency devices) of the scanner. For example, you could just put all of your groceries or purchases in a bag, and set the bag on the scanner. It would be able to query all of the RFID devices and total your purchase immediately.  RFID tags can also be placed in living organisms to help track or identify them within short distances.  This is not extremely dangerous but it will need to be encased in a special kind of casing that will not irritate or react with the living tissues that it is inserted

into.  Some of the disadvantages of this technology are that they are relatively easy to jam using energy at the right frequency. RFID tags are also difficult for consumers to remove; some are very small and others may be hidden or embedded inside a product where consumers cannot see them or get to them. RFID tags can be read without your knowledge which enables others to view information about you.  These new WiFi advancements are destined to change the networking world all together.  But we must understand that we have to take the proper precautions to make these new technologies more secure for the customers.

By: Marcus Benford

 

What is Wifi?   How Does it Work   Benefits   Security   Future   Overview   Bibliography

 

 

OVERVIEW OF MATERIAL

1.1. Which of the following is not one of the four components of Wireless Internet Access that help form it’s structure.

a. wired PC

b. networking gateway

c. wireless network

d. wireless customer.

ANSWER = a. wired PC

 

 2. True or False

Routers Create the networks that broadcast the signal to wireless-equipped devices.

ANSWER = True

 

3.3. What is the current security standard that most wireless customers use today.

a. 802.3

b. 802.11i

c. VPN

d. 802.11a

ANSWER = b. 802.11i

 

4. All of the following are an example of future WiFi advancements except:.

a. Bluetooth

b. RFID tags

c. VoIP

d. ultra-wideband modulations

ANSWER = c. VoIP

 

5.5. When access points are placed where users typically gather, such as conference rooms and cafeterias, these areas are called ______.

ANSWER = hot spots

 By: David Ivey

What is Wifi?   How Does it Work   Benefits   Security   Future   Overview   Bibliography

 

 

BIBLIOGRAPHY

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 Griffith, Eric.  802.11i Security Specification Finalized.  June 25, 2004.  March 13, 2005
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 Griffith, Eric.  A Warm Welcome to WPA2.  September 2, 2004.  March 13, 2005
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How WiFi Works. 13 March 2005
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“How WiFi Works?” CNN. 5 Dec. 2004         <http://www.cnn.com/interactive/tech/0303/wifi.explainer/content1.html>

Protecting your Bluetooth Devices.18 April 2005.
<http://www.bluetooth.com/protect.asp>

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VPN.  March 11, 2005.  March 14, 2005 <http://www.webopedia.com/TERM/V/VPN.html>

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 What’s New in Security: WPA (Wi-Fi Protected Access).  October 25, 2004.  March 16, 2005
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WiFi Technology: Definition and France's Telecom's Positioning. Feb 2003. 13 March 2005.
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  WPA.  June 18, 2003.  March 14, 2004 <http://www.webopedia.com/TERM/V/VPN.html> 

What is Wifi?   How Does it Work   Benefits   Security   Future   Overview   Bibliography