System Fundamentals For Cyber Security/Networking/Wireless

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The Wi-Fi logo used by the Wi-Fi Alliance.

Wi-Fi (also spelled Wifi or WiFi) is a popular technology that allows an electronic device to exchange data wirelessly (using radio waves) over a computer network, including high-speed Internet connections. The Wi-Fi Alliance defines Wi-Fi as any "wireless local area network (WLAN) products that are based on the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers' (IEEE) 802.11 standards".[1] However, since most modern WLANs are based on these standards, the term "Wi-Fi" is used in general English as a synonym for "WLAN". Only Wi-Fi products that complete Wi-Fi Alliance interoperability certification testing successfully may use the "Wi-Fi CERTIFIED" trademark.

A device that can use Wi-Fi (such as a personal computer, video-game console, smartphone, tablet, or digital audio player) can connect to a network resource such as the Internet via a wireless network access point. Such an access point (or hotspot) has a range of about 20 meters (65 feet) indoors and a greater range outdoors. Hotspot coverage can comprise an area as small as a single room with walls that block radio waves or as large as many square miles — this is achieved by using multiple overlapping access points.

Wi-Fi can be less secure than wired connections (such as Ethernet) because an intruder does not need a physical connection. Web pages that use SSL are secure but unencrypted internet access can easily be detected by intruders. Because of this, Wi-Fi has adopted various encryption technologies. The early encryption WEP, proved easy to break. Higher quality protocols (WPA, WPA2) were added later. An optional feature added in 2007, called WPS, had a serious flaw that allowed an attacker to recover the router's password.[2] The Wi-Fi Alliance has since updated its test plan and certification program to ensure all newly certified devices resist attacks. The use of WPS greatly reduces the time required to gain access by the use of so called "brute force" attacks.

References[edit]

  1. What is Wi-Fi? - A Word Definition From the Webopedia Computer Dictionary
  2. http://sviehb.files.wordpress.com/2011/12/viehboeck_wps.pdf