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Wireless Technologies

Wireless technology releases us from copper wires. A user can have a notebook computer, PDA, Pocket PC, Tablet PC, or just a cell phone and stay online anywhere a wireless signal is available. The basic theory behind wireless technology is that signals can be carried by electromagnetic waves that are then transmitted to a signal receiver. But to make two wireless devices understand each other, we need protocols for communication.

In this chapter we will first take a look at what Windows XP Professional has promised to bring to you in wireless technology. Then we will discuss the current security problems with wireless networks and your options for dealing with them. Last, we will present two methods that you can use to secure your wireless networks.

You will see two concepts heavily reinforced: authentication and encryption. These concepts will be the glue for our two recommended methods of secure wireless networking. If you just cannot wait, the first method is a solution using an IPSec VPN located on (or behind) a dedicated firewall that separates the wireless network from an intranet. The other method uses a combination of 802.1x authentication with a back-end Internet Authentication Server and dynamic WEP keys for encryption. Both methods use strong authentication, which can be based on client certificates.

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