WiFi Network Services and Security

 The picture has become somewhat confused as service providers started using WiFi to deliver services for which it was not originally designed. The two major examples of this are wireless ISPs and city-wide WiFi mesh networks.

Wireless ISPs (WISPs)
One business that grew out of WiFi was the Wireless ISP (WISP). This is an idea of selling an Internet access service using wireless LAN technology and a shared Internet connection in a public location designated as a hot spot.

From a technical standpoint, access to the service is limited based on the transmission range of the WLAN technology. You have to be in the hot spot (i.e. within 100m of the access point) to use it. From a business standpoint, users either subscribe to a particular carrier's service for a monthly fee or access the service on a demand basis at a fee per hour. While the monthly fee basis is most cost effective, there are few intercarrier access arrangements, so you have to be in a hot spot operated by your carrier in order to access your service.

City-Wide Mesh Networks
To address the limited range, vendors like Mesh Networks and Tropos Networks have developed mesh network capabilities using WiFi's radio technology.

The idea of a radio mesh network is that messages can be relayed through a number of access points to a central network control station. These networks can typically support mobility as connections are handed off from access point to access point as the mobile station moves.

Some municipalities are using WiFi mesh networks to support public safety applications (i.e. terminals in police cruisers) and to provide Internet access to the community (i.e. the city-wide hot spot).

Wi-Fi - Security

Security has been one of the major deficiencies in WiFi, though better encryption systems are now becoming available. Encryption is optional in WiFi, and three different techniques have been defined. These techniques are given here −

Wired Equivalent Privacy (WEP)
An RC4-based 40-or 104-bit encryption with a static key.

WiFi Protected Access (WPA)
This is a new standard from the WiFi Alliance that uses the 40 or 104-bit WEP key, but it changes the key on each packet. That changing key functionality is called the Temporal Key Integrity Protocol (TKIP).

IEEE 802.11i/WPA2
The IEEE is finalized the 802.11i standard, which is based on a far more robust encryption technique called the Advanced Encryption Standard. The WiFi Alliance designate products that comply with the 802.11i standard as WPA2.

However, implementing 802.11i requires a hardware upgrade.
WiFi Network Services and Security WiFi Network Services and Security Reviewed by Joseph Chikeleze on April 27, 2018 Rating: 5

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