Wireless Local Area Networks (WLANs) have certainly advanced over the last 15 years,
haven't they? WLANs have become commonplace in universities, airports,
coffee shops, and other major public places. Decreasing costs of WLAN equipment has also
brought the technology into many homes as well. In 1998, the WLAN market was estimated at
about $.3 billion; by 2005 it was $1.6 billion, a more than 500% increase. Rapid growth
is expected to continue for at least the next several years.
WLANs can be defined as short-range packet data communications between base stations
and user terminals that permit data rates up to 54 Mbps for coverage in indoor hot spots.
Direct communication between terminals is also possible. WLAN allows people working
within the same building to access an intranet or the internet wirelessly.
OK, that describes what a WLAN does -- but there are all sorts of different standards
that govern HOW a WLAN works, including IEEE 802.11 and alphabetical variants (WIFI), 802.16 (WIMAX),
Bluetooth, HiperLAN (in Europe), and others still on the drawing boards or just entering the
This page is intended to help guide you from the basic theory of WLANs, to the design of WLANs,
through the selection of vendor hardware and system architecture, to discussions of WLAN security
issues. We provide links to recent and not-so-recent news stories on WLANs, reference books
available for purchase,
and a wealth of free information on the Web! Please explore the links and
topics below to gain a more complete understanding of today's WLAN Systems!
delivers heavy blow to WLAN security" 8/6/01 EE Times.Com article By Patrick Mannion.
"A new report dashes any remaining illusions that 802.11-based (Wi-Fi) wireless local-area
networks are in any way secure. The paper, written by three of the world's foremost cryptographers,
describes a devastating attack on the RC4 cipher, on which the WLAN wired-equivalent privacy (WEP)
encryption scheme is based." THIS IS A MUST-READ ARTICLE FOR ANYONE INTERESTED IN WLAN!
WLAN Uptake Trend Intensifies, 07/17/01 Internet.com article By Matthew Peretz. This
article reports on new study by analysts at Sage Research, where poll results from 129 US companies
indicates that Wireless LANs are rapidly gaining acceptance.
802.11g white paper (pdf - 105 Kbytes).0.
.36.3 a major contributor
to the 11g standard, Texas Instruments' William Carney prepared this
concise, easy-to-understand white paper which discusses the evolution
of the 802.11g standard and its elements, with additional discussion regarding
issues raised, market implications, the next steps for furthering the standard's adoption
and what this means for TI's existing and future customer base. An appendix featuring 802.11 data
and reach rates is included. Issued in 2003 before the 11g standard gained final approval.
"Your 802 Wireless Network
Has no Clothes", a paper by William A. Arbaugh, Narendar Shankar, and Y.C. Justin Wan,
of the University of Maryland's Department of Computer Science, March 30, 2001.
Adobe Acrobat (.pdf) version -- (~324K)
802.11 Security Vulnerabilities,
A bibliography of links to recent research papers on 802.11 security issues put together by
the University of Maryland, College Park.