Wireless Local Area Network (WLANs)

by Monika Dadool 09-Mar-19

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Wireless local area networks (WLANs) are identical to traditional LAN except that they have a wireless interface instead of cables and deliver wireless network communication over small distances via radio or infrared signals.

The main objective of designing WLANs is to extend wired networks, support network access, and user mobility.

WIRELESS LOCAL AREA NETWORKS are rapidly growing technologies in business i.e. approximately 70 percent of the organization has implemented WLAN's equipment as it offer outstanding benefits like portability, productivity, and flexibility. WLANs has not replaced wholly wired infrastructure but significantly, it has extended wireless device range. Nowadays, wireless technologies provide an extensive range of capabilities covering different people requirements and permits users to move their laptop anywhere without wire. thus, it results in increasing no of demands in different sectors such as Government agencies, home, business etc. It also provides very high-speed data communication covering areas such as a building or an office and permits users to move around in a confined area even though they are connected to the network.

NCR's Waveland and Motorola's ALTAIR are the Examples of wireless LAN's


Advantage of WLANS
* Ease of installation
* Very flexible
* Cost-effectiveness
* Very fast installed in an AD HOC configuration without any backbone network support
* Low hardware cost
* They improve the network expandability because it permits the integration of additional users and access points


Disadvantage
* Low quality as a comparison to wired LAN
* Slow down the throughput rate due to air-wave congestion.
* Quality reduces due to Radio transmission limitations.
* Interference increase error rates can hijack wireless network speed and stability.
* Multi-path propagation create large delays
* It's very easy to hack a WLAN .encryption is required
* More wireless devices are required to boost network


Challenges of WLAN
WLANs suffers from security issues because they use radio frequency signals for data transmission and receiving where the clients need to verify identity for security measures through authentication such as Encryption.

Types of Security attacks found in WLAN's  
* Bandwidth theft
* Eaves dropping
* Active attack
* Passive attack
* Close-in attack
* Insider attack

Different security methods can be used for monitoring security such as firewalls, packet filtering, cryptography and many more.

The configuration of WLANs includes the following components:
* AP
* NICS
* Security server
* Mobile devices


Access Point
An Access point acts as a router that permits wireless equipment for wired network access. They are positioned outside the firewalls for providing appropriate access.


Mobile Devices
Mobile Devices such as Personal Digital Assistants (PDAs), laptops, tablet PCs and some other identical mobile devices. These remote devices are configured with wireless network capability to access a WLAN.


NICs
Wireless Network Interface Cards (NICs) permits AP and mobile devices communications VIA radio frequency transmission. These cards contain a unique address known as MAC address which is further applicable for authentically purposes. The main condition is it must be compatible with the access point.


Security Server
The server is a centralized security system which ensures valid user access and manages all security parameters IEEE 802.11 is the standard used for deploying and WLANs implementation.


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