Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Wireless network security

This week we are starting to talk about wireless networks. I really don’t have a lot of say on the subject because I’m not that familiar with all the challenges of a wireless network. My research focus is in security so I think I’ll talk about that as it relates to thoughts I have on wireless networking. Wireless networks are normally thought of networks where clients wirelessly single hop to an access point which then forwards that traffic onto a wired network. However, they can be more ad hoc as well—like wireless mesh networks.

Wireless networks suffer from the inability to completely control where its traffic goes. To mitigate the effects of wireless eavesdroppers, the single hop wireless topologies have features to encrypt traffic between the client and access point. However, to my knowledge, not a lot has been done in this regard in wireless ad hoc networks. There would be lots of challenges such as authenticating other wireless nodes in the network or dealing with packet loss/corruption. The one caveat with encryption is that every bit has to be reassembled in the order it was sent or entire messages will be lost. It might be interesting to look into this.

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