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Building Secure Wireless Networks with 802.11

November 27th, 2003

If you plan to deploy a wireless network at home or in the office, this book provides an easy to follow step-by-step planning and guidelines for a successful deployment and securing wireless network in any environment you choose.

Authors: Jahanzeb Khan and Anis Khwaja

Pages: 352

Publisher: Wiley

ISBN: 0471237159

About the authors

Jahanzeb Khan is Principal Engineer with RSA Security, Inc., where he is responsible for the research and development of encryption, Public Key Infrastructure, and wireless LAN Security standards. He is active in the 802.11b community and is a member of IEEE International.

Anis Khwaja works in the IT department of a leading financial service firm. Khwaja has more than fifteen years of experience in networking and is currently involved in deployment of 802.11b (Wi-Fi) networks.

The Book

The book consists of four main parts, each one devoted to a particular subject of wireless technology. Each part contains several chapters, which all together provide a step-by-step guide for understanding, deploying and securing an 802.11b wireless network.

The first part introduces the reader to the world of networking in general and wireless networking in particular. It begins with a decent portion of general networking stuff – topologies, standards, protocols and hardware – rather than with wireless network specifics, since general networking background is required for understanding wireless networks. It continues with a similar part dedicated to wireless technology, networks, terms, standards and operation modes. The part ends with the question that is so obvious that it rarely gets asked – “Is Wireless LAN Right for You?” – which makes the reader to think one more time whether a wireless network is indeed the right solution.

Second part’s emphasis is on securing wireless networks. This part consists of two chapters – the first is dedicated to wired LAN network security and the second to wireless LAN network security. The first chapter in this part provides information on various types of attacks as well as common methods, which are used to defense and secure networks. The ending chapter of the second part contains information on the weakness of IEEE 802.11 security standards, WEP (Wired Equivalent Privacy) and its weakness, 802.11X and VPN.

The third part provides information on how to design and deploy a secure wireless network. It starts with an overview on planning a wireless LAN and explanation on how to choose and shop for the right wireless equipment, according to the deployment scenario. It continues with discussion on the actual setup process of the wireless network. For the advance readers, the authors dedicated the last portion of this part to 802.1X authentication mechanism and Virtual Private Network (VPN).

The last part of the book is devoted to various methods of troubleshooting and maintenance of a wireless LAN.

My Opinion

The book is well organized and has a logical structure, which improves the readability and makes an easy to follow step-by-step guide. This book should be read by anyone who is planning to deploy a wireless network in any environment.

Though the book is a great asset, it has a nuisance – I have found many times a repeated material from the prior chapters or parts in the book.

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