212 Developing Practical Wireless Applications
Intelligent Transportation Systems (ITS)
The generation of ideas and technologies doesn’t stop with 802.11n – 802.11p is also
worth a mention here. It hasn’t received a great deal of press, just some occasional anec-
dotal references (dailywireless.org). Nevertheless, the promise is to deliver an Intelligent
Transportation System (ITS) operating in the 5.9GHz band. The 802.11p working group
established the Wireless Access in Vehicular Environment (WAVE) offering a Dedicated
Short Range Communication (DSRC) medium enabling a communications link between
a vehicle and roadside equipment. It is envisaged that toll collection and vehicle safety
will be the initial application-base, as well as intervehicle-communication.
If there is a single wireless technology that can proclaim to have changed the way we
choose to live and work we have to attribute that trophy to WiFi. Other wannabes
such as Bluetooth and/or UWB and ZigBee can only dream about capturing a signif-
icant percentage of the market. WiFi is evolving at such a fast pace not even UWB,
WiFi’s nearest competitor, will be able to keep up. As for the WiFi versus WiMAX
contest there really isn’t much to see, as WiMAX will have to battle it out with
HSDPA. WiFi has made the steps forward it needs to be integrated into most con-
sumer electronic products, but of course, it must avoid becoming complacent with its
market share, although it’s never advisable to be running and constantly looking over
your shoulder. With a comfortable grounding and a well-defined future plan its future
should be secure. The sun is still shining on WiFi and the wind is blowing gently in
its hair – it feels good to be WiFi.
WiFi has truly captured a vast consumer-base and occupies a large number of
homes and offices.
The concept of making wireless was a really simple one.
Take that NIC and transform into a WNIC.
WiFi is nowadays a brand name, trademarked and licensed by the WiFi
When a manufacturer develops a WiFi product it will undergo a certification pro-
gram to ensure that the product complies with criteria that has been established
by the WiFi Alliance.
If the product satisfies the compliance criteria, then the product can display the
WiFi Alliance logo.
The IEEE 802.11 specification defines the PHY and MAC layers for WiFi.
The sheer simplicity in renovating the PHY and MAC layers of the original NIC
has now brought us the original 802.11 specification.
A fixed networking environment was secure; hackers had to typically use another
fixed network to attempt to gain access to your network infrastructure.
Nowadays, wireless brings about a new breed of hacker.
The original introduction of WEP and its bias towards the RC4 algorithm
resulted in numerous attacks on WiFi.
WPA (and WPA2) soon emerged after the weaknesses were identified with WEP.
WPA became ratified by the IEEE in 2004 and WPA2 is the certified 802.11i
WPA offers us several new key enhancements, namely the TKIP, the 802.1X User
Authentication and EAP.
In a move that is almost as fast as a synaptic nerve, the WiFi Alliance have offered
us WiFi Protected Setup.
An initiative that aims to simplify the configuration of WiFi equipment within
the home and office.
The WiFi Protected Setup initiative is a valuable directive that will see yet more
consumers embracing the technology with open wallets.
The WiFi Alliance will adopt its ease-of-use strategy within the certification program
and they will expect to start certifying products early 2007.
In another initiative the Alliance launched the WMM Power Save certification
program encouraging manufacturers to reduce their power consumption by utilizing
a more efficient data transmission scheme.
The data transmission scheme relies on the ability to send large data payloads in
the shortest amount of time possible in an attempt to induce the WiFi hardware
802.16 has seen a number of amendments and extensions, and in 2005 it saw a new
update that is now commonly known as Mobile WiMAX.
WiMAX is a different technology to that of WiFi, but many argue and perceive
them as complementary and not competing, as they resolve two different problems.
In some instances the difficulty and cost associated with deploying a cabled infra-
structure for some last mile environments may be served much more economically
WiFi: Enabling True Ubiquitous Connectivity 213