Chapter 18. Wireless LAN Security

18.1. Introduction

The 802.11 security architecture and protocol is called Wired Equivalent Privacy (WEP). It is responsible for providing authentication, confidentiality and data integrity in 802.11 networks. To understand the nomenclature, realize that 802.11 was designed as a “wireless Ethernet.” The aim of the WEP designers was therefore to provide the same degree of security as is available in traditional wired (Ethernet) networks. Did they succeed in achieving this goal?

A few years back, asking that question in the wireless community was a sure-fire way of starting a huge debate. To understand the debate, realize that wired Ethernet[1] (the IEEE 802.3 standard) implements no security mechanism in hardware ...

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