Sample Term Paper

To authenticate a device on the WLAN, the wireless standard 802.11 provides two methods i.e. Open System Authentication (OSA) and Shared Key Authentication (SKA). In OSA, the wireless device does not have a specific cryptographic key to allow for authentication with the AP. As such OSA is a “null-authentication algorithm” that allows any device network access. SKA on the other hand requires that the client configure a static key that is used to send an encrypted message to the AP. If the AP can decrypt this message, it responds with an authentication response that grants the client access.

Wireless LAN deployments should be made as secure as possible. Standard 802.11 security is weak and vulnerable to numerous network attacks which include sniffing data packets, collecting particular frames or coercing information from a WLAN to derive the key to gain authentication etc. A number of vendors offer solutions to prevent exploitation of these vulnerabilities, for example Cisco Wireless Security Suite which can augment 802.11 security to create secure wireless LANs.

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