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IEEE 802.11 Wireless LAN Security Overview


Ahmed M. Al Naamany , Ali Al Shidhani, Hadj Bourdouce


Vol. 6  No. 5  pp. 138-156


Wireless Local Area Networks (WLANs) are cost effective and desirable gateways to mobile computing. They allow computers to be mobile, cable less and communicate with speeds close to the speeds of wired LANs. These features came with expensive price to pay in areas of security of the network. This paper identifies and summarizes these security concerns and their solutions. Broadly, security concerns in the WLAN world are classified into physical and logical. The paper overviews both physical and logical WLANs security problems followed by a review of the main technologies used to overcome them. It addresses logical security attacks like man-in-the-middle attack and Denial of Service attacks as well as physical security attacks like rouge APs. Wired Equivalent Privacy (WEP) was the first logical solution to secure WLANs. Hiwever, WEP suffered many problems which were partially solved by IEEE802.1x protocol. Towards perfection in securing WLANs, IEEE802.11i emerged as a new MAC layer standard which permanently fixes most of the security problems found in WEP and other temporary WLANs security solutions. This paper reviews all security solutions starting from WEP to IEEE802.11i and discusses the strength and weakness of these solutions.


WLAN, wireless LAN, security, IEEE802.11.