Wireless security beyond 802.1x - Essay Example

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801.11 is a wireless local area network standard that provides better encryption for networks using the 802.11b (Wi-Fi), 802.11g, and 801.11a standards. The 802.11i standard needs the use of new encryption key protocols such as the Temporal Key Integrity Protocol (TKIP) and AES…
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Wireless security beyond 802.1x
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Wireless Security Beyond 802.1x Grade May 25th Wireless Security Beyond 802.1x 801.11 is a wireless local area network standard that provides better encryption for networks using the 802.11b (Wi-Fi), 802.11g, and 801.11a standards. The 802.11i standard needs the use of new encryption key protocols such as the Temporal Key Integrity Protocol (TKIP) and AES (Advanced Encryption Standard). For a long time, 802.11 wireless security has been safeguarded with the use of 802.1x. However, there are several research technologies that have been developed to enhance 802.11 wireless security (Gao, Zheng & Lu, 2015). The technologies include the IPsec VPN and 802.1x. However, many consider the IPsec an improvement on the 802.1x. However, to ascertain the truth, we need to carry out an analysis of the protection provided by the different technologies.
The 802.1x assists in controlling access to a computer network. The technology is a port-based access control method that is defined by the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineering which can be configured to require mandatory authentication between the network and the client. Communications become impossible without the authentication. Many people consider the 802.1x technology as the foundation of wireless security. However, deploying the 802.1x technology has its challenges. The technology requires devices that are compatible with 802.1x . The technology has weakness in its protocol, as it only authenticates at the establishment of a connection. Further connection does not require authentication, resulting in security risks (Al-Shaer, 2014). Additionally, the technology does not have centralized management capability. As such, the IPsec VPN became introduced.
The Virtual Private Networks based on IPsec allow a layer of security to become a part of the wireless network, allowing for the protection of all traffic that flows in and out of the network. The method has several advantages over 802.1x including;
Invisibility - Since the technology is based at the network level, it remains invisible in its operations (Snader, 2014). The end users do not have to learn its existence, nor do they have to interact directly with it, which is different from the 802.1x technology that requires authentication from clients.
Monitoring and security - Since the technology is based on the network layer, it can easily monitor all traffic which passes via the network, and secures both inbound and outbound traffic.
Lack of dependence on applications - The IPsec technology does not depend on applications to become effective, as the s=entire system is operated at the network level. As such, it avoids compatibility issues, which are common in 802.1x systems.
However, there are several disadvantages of using the IPsec. Some of these disadvantages include;
Broken algorithms - A number of key algorithms used by the IPsec have been cracked, making the technology less reliable. As such, it poses a great risk, as people usually do not change their security algorithms.
Higher processing loads - The encryption and decryption of information through IPsec will result to a massive movement of megabytes of data. As such, more processing power is required for the technology, compared to 802.1x.
As such, when we compare the wireless technologies, it becomes evident that IPsec allows for the definition of zones with varying levels of trust, while 802.1x has the same trust levels (Aydin & Aydin, 2014). In addition, both technologies act as methods of preventing entry or access to vital systems. However, there are several differences. After carrying out the analysis, it becomes evident that using the IPsec VPN is more beneficial, considering the lower compatibility costs, invisibility and security level provided by the method.
Al-Shaer, E. (2014). Modeling and Verification of Firewall and IPSec Policies Using Binary
Decision Diagrams. In Automated Firewall Analytics (pp. 25-48). Springer International Publishing.
Aydin, A. H., & Aydin, M. (2014). Studying the Performance of Secure IEEE 802.11 g.
American Scientific Research Journal for Engineering, Technology, and Sciences (ASRJETS), 2(1), 12-17.
Gao, W., Zheng, X., & Lu, B. (2015, April). IEEE 802.11 i WLAN Security Protocol Based On
Genetic Software Engineering Model. In 2015 International Conference on Advances in Mechanical Engineering and Industrial Informatics. Atlantis Press.
Snader, J. C. (2014). VPNs Illustrated: Tunnels, VPNs, and IPsec. Addison-Wesley Professional. Read More
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