Explaining Wireless LAN Technology & Standards

BCMSN Module 6 Lesson 3

BCMSN 6 – 3

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Objectives
 Identify the characteristics of the 802.11b standard.  Identify the characteristics of the 802.11a standard.  Identify the characteristics of the 802.11g standard.  Compare and contrast the 802.11a/b/g standards.  Describe common Wireless LAN security threats.  Describe ways to mitigate common security threats.

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Unlicensed Frequency Bands

 ISM: Industry, Scientific, and Medical frequency band  No license required
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 No exclusive use  Best effort  Interference possible
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Radio Frequency Transmission
 Radio frequencies are radiated into the air via an antenna, creating radio waves.  Radio waves are absorbed when they are propagated through objects (e.g. walls).  Radio waves are reflected by objects (e.g. metal surfaces).  This absorption and reflection can cause areas of low signal strength or low signal quality.

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Radio Frequency Transmission
 Higher data rates have a shorter transmission range. The receiver needs more signal strength and better SNR to retrieve information.  Higher transmit power results in greater distance.  Higher frequencies allow higher data rates.  Higher frequencies have a shorter transmission range.

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WLAN Regulation and Standardization
 Regulatory agencies FCC (United States) ETSI (Europe)  Standardization IEEE 802.11 http://standards.ieee.org/getieee802/  Certfication of equipment Wi-Fi Alliance certifies interoperability between products. Certifications include 802.11a, 802.11b, 802.11g, dual-band products, and security testing. Certified products can be found at http://www.wi-fi.org.
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6

Standards and Implementation Process
Standards Group 802.11
The Nature of Engineers and the “Design-byCommittee” Environment Mean the IEEE Often Defines Overly Feature Rich Standards with Many Options

Industry Group WiFi
The Industry Bodies’ Role Is Remove Much of the “Bloat” Introduced as “Features” into the IEEE Standards, Often by People Not Even Selling Equipment

Company Cisco
Cisco® Adds Differentiating Features to the “Minimal” Set Defined by Wi-Fi; in the Past, This Has Included More Security.

“Feature Bloat”

“Minimal Features”

“Differentiated Features”
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802.11b

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802.11b Standard
 Standard was ratified in September 1999  Operates in the 2.4-GHz band  Specifies Direct Sequence Spread Spectrum (DSSS)  Specifies four data rates up to 11 Mbps 1, 2, 5.5, 11 Mbps  Provides specifications for vendor interoperability (over the air)  Defines basic security, encryption, and authentication for the wireless link  Is the most commonly deployed wireless LAN standard
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2.4-GHz Channels
Channel Channel Center Channel Frequency Identifier Frequency Range [MHz] Regulatory Domain Americas Europe, Middle East, and Asia X X X X X X X X X X X X X Japan

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14
BCMSN 6 – 3

2412 MHz 2417 MHz 2422 MHz 2427 MHz 2432 MHz 2437 MHz 2442 MHz 2447 MHz 2452 MHz 2457 MHz 2462 MHz 2467 MHz 2472 MHz 2484 MHz
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2401 – 2423 2406 – 2428 2411 – 2433 2416 – 2438 2421 – 2443 2426 – 2448 2431 – 2453 2436 – 2458 2441 – 2463 2446 – 2468 2451 – 2473 2466 – 2478 2471 – 2483 2473 – 2495
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X X X X X X X X X X X

X X X X X X X X X X X X X X
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2.4-GHz Channel Use

 Each channel is 22 MHz wide.  North America: 11 channels  Europe: 13 channels  There are three nonoverlapping channels: 1, 6, 11.  Using any other channels will cause interference.  Three access points can occupy the same area.
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802.11b/g (2.4 GHz) Channel Reuse

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802.11b Access Point Coverage

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802.11a

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802.11a Standard
 Standard was ratified September 1999  Operates in the 5-GHz band  Uses orthogonal frequency-division multiplexing (OFDM)  Uses eight data rates of up to 54 Mbps 6, 9, 12, 18, 24, 36, 48, 54 Mbps  Has from 12 to 23 nonoverlapping channels (FCC)  Has up to 19 nonoverlapping channels (ETSI)  Regulations different across countries Transmit (Tx) power control and dynamic frequency selection required (802.11h)
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Understanding the 5 GHz Spectrum
5 GHz UNII Band
5.15 5.25 4 Ch 5.35 4 Ch 5.470 11 Ch To Be Defined 5.725 5.825 4 Ch UNII-3 30dBm

US (FCC)

UNII-1 UNII-2 17dBm 24dBm

Europe

23dBm

30dBm

UNII-1: Indoor Use, Antenna Must Be Fixed to the Radio UNII-2: Indoor/Outdoor Use, Fixed or Remote Antenna (Must Implement 802.11h After Jul 19, 2007) UNII-3: Indoor/Outdoor; Fixed, Pt-to-Pt Can Employ Higher Gain Antenna Europe: Must Implement 802.11h

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IEEE 802.11h Spectrum Management
 Primary use of 5 GHz bands outdoors is radar in many countries.  802.11h is an addition to the 802.11 family of standards.  802.11h rules are designed to minimize interference.  Uses Dynamic Frequency Selection (DFS) and Transmit Power Control (TPC).  Radios must comply to benefit from 11 new channels.

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802.11a Channel Reuse
 802.11h DFS not available
Manual channel assignment required

 802.11h DFS implemented
Channel assignment done by Dynamic Frequency Selection (DFS) Only frequency bands can be selected

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802.11g

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802.11g Standard
 Standard was ratified June 2003  Operates in the 2.4-GHz band as 802.11b Same three nonoverlapping channels: 1, 6, 11  DSSS (CCK) and OFDM transmission  12 data rates of up to 54 Mbps 1, 2, 5.5, 11 Mbps (DSSS / 802.11b) 6, 9, 12, 18, 24, 36, 48, 54 Mbps (OFDM)  Full backward compatiblity to 802.11b standard

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802.11g Protection Mechanism
Problem: 802.11b stations cannot decode 802.11g radio signals.

 802.11b/g AP communicates with 802.11b clients with max. 11 Mbps.  802.11b/g AP communicates with 802.11g clients with max. 54 Mbps.  802.11b/g AP activates RTS/CTS to avoid collisions when 802.11b clients are present.  Additonal overhead reduces throughput.

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Self Check
1. What are the 3 non-overlapping channels available in 802.11b/g? 2. Which standards operate in the 2.4-GHz band? 3. What frequency band does 802.11a operate in? 4. Which standards offer data rates of up to 54Mbps? 5. What is data rate shifting?

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802.11 Standards Comparison

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802.11 RF Comparison
802.11b – 2.4 GHz
 Most commonly deployed WLAN standard

802.11g – 2.4 GHz
 Higher throughput  OFDM technology reduces multipath issues

802.11a – 5 GHz
 Highest throughput  OFDM technology reduces multipath issues  Provides up to 23 nonoverlapping channels

BCMSN 6 – 3

Pro Con

 Interference and noise from other services in the 2.4-GHz band

 Interference and noise  Lower market from other services in penetration the 2.4GHz band

 Only 3 nonoverlapping  Only 3 nonoverlapping channels channels  Distance limited by multipath issues  Throughput degraded in the presence of 802.11b clients
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802.11 Standards Comparison
802.11b Ratified Frequency band No of nonoverlapping channels Transmission Data rates [Mbps] Throughput [Mbps]
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802.11g 2003 2.4 GHz 3

802.11a 1999 5 GHz Up to 23

1999 2.4 GHz 3

DSSS

DSSS

OFDM

OFDM

1, 2, 5.5, 11 1, 2, 5.5, 11 6, 9, 12, 18, 24, 6, 9, 12, 18, 24, 36, 48, 54 36, 48, 54 Up to 6 Up to 22 Up to 28

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WLAN Industry Standards
Network Radio Speeds
IEEE 802.11n Multichannel Greater Than 100 Mbps IEEE 802.11g 2.4 GHz—OFDM Up to 54 Mbps IEEE 802.11a 5 GHz—OFDM Up to 54 Mbps IEEE 802.11b 2.4 GHz—DS Up to 11 Mbps
Proprietary 1999
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 IEEE 802.11a/b Ratified 2000 2001 2002 2003 2004 2005 2006 2007
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Range Comparisons

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Ratified IEEE 802.11 Standards
 802.11: WLAN 1 and 2 Mbps at 2.4 GHz  802.11a: WLAN 54-Mbps at 5 GHz  802.11b: WLAN 11-Mbps at 2.4 GHz  802.11d: Multiple regulatory domains  802.11e: Quality of Service  802.11f: Inter-Access Point Protocol (IAPP)  802.11g: WLAN 54-Mbps at 2.4 GHz  802.11h: Dynamic Frequency Selection (DFS) Transmit Power Control (TPC) at 5 GHz  802.11i: Security  802.11j: 5-GHz channels for Japan
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Worldwide Availability

http://www.cisco.com/go/aironet/compliance

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General Office Wireless LAN Design
 Eight 802.11g access points deployed  7 users per access points with no conference rooms provides 3.8 Mbps throughput per user  7 users + 1 conference room (10 users) = 17 total users, provides 1.5 Mbps throughput per user
54 Cubes—4 Conference Rooms
Conference Room Conference Room

120 Feet

Conference Room

Reception

Conference Room

95 Feet

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Activity
Data rate shifting.  Use a laptop to associate to an access point in your area. It is important that you know the physical location of this AP.  Open the wireless management utility to determine the current data rate for your connection.  Move the laptop to an area geographically farther away from the AP. You might also try moving to a room behind a thick wall.  Did your data rate change? What about signal quality?

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Self Check
1. What technology is 802.11n based on? 2. What is the 802.11e standard? 3. What wireless standard has the highest throughput, providing up to 28 Mbps throughput?

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WLAN Security

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Why WLAN Security?
 Wide availability and low cost of IEEE 802.11 wireless equipment  802.11 standard ease of use and deployment  Availability of sniffers  Statistics on WLAN security  Media hype about hot spots, WLAN hacking, war driving  Nonoptimal implementation of encryption in standard Wired Equivalent Privacy (WEP) encryption  Authentication vulnerability
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Wireless LAN Security Threats

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WLAN Sniffing and SSID Broadcasting

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Mitigating the Threats
Control and Integrity Privacy and Confidentiality Encryption Protection and Availability Intrusion Detection System (IDS)

Authentication

Ensure that legitimate Protect data as it is Track and mitigate clients associate with transmitted and unauthorized trusted APs. received. access and network attacks.

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Evolution of Wireless LAN Security
Initial (1997)
Encryption (WEP)
No strong authentication Static, breakable keys Not scalable

Interim (2001)
802.1x EAP
Dynamic keys Improved encryption User authentication 802.1x EAP (LEAP, PEAP) RADIUS

Interim (2003)
Wi-Fi Protected Access (WPA)
Standardized Improved encryption Strong, user authentication (e.g., LEAP, PEAP, EAPFAST)

Present
Wireless IDS
Identification and protection against attacks, DoS
IEEE 802.11i WPA2 (2004)

AES strong encryption Authentication Dynamic key management

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Wireless Client Association
1. Access points send out beacons announcing SSID, data rates and other information. 2. Client scans all channels. 3. Client listens for beacons and responses from access points. 4. Client associates to access point with strongest signal. 5. Client will repeat scan if signal becomes low to reassociate to another access point (roaming). 6. During association SSID, MAC address and security settings are sent from the client to the AP and checked by the AP.
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WPA and WPA2 Authentication

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WPA and WPA2 Encryption

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Wi-Fi Protected Access
 What are WPA and WPA2?
Authentication and encryption standards for Wi-Fi clients and APs 802.1x authentication WPA uses TKIP encryption WPA2 uses AES block cipher encryption

Gold
WPA2/802.11i
• EAP-Fast • AES

Silver
WPA
• EAP-Fast • TKIP

 Which should I use?
Gold, for supporting NIC/OSs Silver, if you have legacy clients Lead, if you absolutely have no other choice.
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Lead
Dynamic WEP
• EAP-Fast/LEAP • VLANs + ACLs

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WLAN Security Summary
Enhanced Security

Basic Security Open Access
No Encryption, Basic Authentication 40-bit or 128-bit Static WEP Encryption, WPA

802.1x, TKIP Encryption, Mutual Authentication, Scalable Key Mgmt., Etc.

Public “Hotspots”

Home Use Virtual Private Network (VPN)
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Enterprise Business Traveler, Telecommuter
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Remote Access

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Security Evaluation
 Evaluate effectiveness of encrypted WLAN statistics.  Focus on proper planning and implementation.  Estimate potential security threats and the level of security needed.  Evaluate amount of WLAN traffic being sent when selecting security methods.  Evaluate tools and options applicable to WLAN design.

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Activity
Packet sniffing programs have become more user friendly in recent years. NetStumbler is one of the easiest packet sniffers to use.  Read this short Wikipedia article about NetStumbler and decide for yourself if you want to download it and explore your wireless network. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/NetStumbler

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Self Check
1. Describe some common threats to WLANs. 2. Where would “open security” be appropriate? 3. What are 2 types of encryption used by WPA or WPA2? 4. What is an IDS and what security features are enabled by IDS?

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Summary
 The 2.4-GHz and 5-GHz frequency bands are used by WLAN 802.11 standards.  The throughput per user depends on the data rate and the number of users per wireless cell.  802.11b has data rates of up to 11 Mbps at 2.4 GHz.  802.11a has data rates of up to 54 Mbps at 5 GHz.  802.11g has data rates of up to 54 Mbps at 2.4 GHz.  802.11a has a shorter range than 802.11g.  For maximum efficiency, limit the number of users per cell.  Different WLAN security types with authentication and encryption satisfy the security requirements of enterprise and home users.
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Resources
 For fee 802 standards http://standards.ieee.org (for fee)  Free 802 standards http://standards.ieee.org/getieee802/ (Standards are available six months after release for free)  LWAPP http://www.ietf.org/html.charters/capwap-charter.html  Mobile Ad-Hoc Networks (MANET) http://www.ietf.org/html.charters/manet-charter.html  Wireless LAN Compatibility Association http://www.wi-fi.org
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Q and A

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