Chapter 9. Setting Up an Access Point

Access points come in all shapes and sizes. Most access points deployed today are firmware devices running a proprietary operating system. These access points are usually inexpensive yet reliable. Unfortunately, securing these access points can be a challenge as they have very few security-specific options and are generally not very flexible.

Linux, FreeBSD, and OpenBSD machines can be converted to access points with the proper drivers and configuration options. Access points running on general-purpose operating systems provide much more flexibility to meet the challenges of specific security requirements. However, like any host, these machines must be properly secured and monitored to prevent attackers from compromising the host or the network.

This chapter will show you general techniques for locking down access points for secure use. It will also show you how to setup Linux, FreeBSD, and OpenBSD to run in HostAP mode, turning the machine into a full-fledged access point.


Mac OS X also has a feature called Airport Software Base Station. Enabling this provides a peer-to-peer 802.11b network, not a BSS network like a regular AP or HostAP as discussed in this chapter.

General Access Point Security

Several security features are common across most access point vendors. The manner in which these features are configured vary from vendor to vendor. Please consult the documentation that came with your access point to determine the correct method. ...

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