An Overview of Wireless Networking Standards and encryption standards
The wireless networking is done in the same manner all over the world. So, there is the standard which has been fixed by the relevant authorities so that everyone can follow the same standard. For the past many years, the standard of the 802.11 have changed so much. Now, there are the new standards which include the 802.11a, 802.11 g, 802.11 b etc. are here. Also, with the new standards, the new encryption types have also been introduced so pretty much of the part has been changed. So, one should get a knowledge about them all. Here are the networking standards and the encryptions which are available for the users;
There are various IEEE 802.11 standards there. These are the standards which have been maintained by the IEEE committee and they are the LAN/MAN standards. Here comes the section of IEEE which is 802. Also, there are many wireless standards that are being changed all the time. One can always check for the latest update at the official website of IEEE.
The standards which are being followed these days are mentioned below;
802.11a: More than a decade ago, the first wireless standard came out which was named as the 802.11a. it works in the range of 5Ghx and one can also get special licence to get it used up to the 3.7 GHz or even the higher power. Hence, these protocols can be used at some really large distances. But most of the implementations are done using the 5 GHz range. The speed that this standard uses is around 54mbit/s. it is the maximum speed speaking theoretically. When it was introduced, many organizations got attracted towards it since it had some amazing speed. Now, the newer version has outrun it since it has come with the more range.
802.11b: it is the new version of the version. It came out almost the same as the first one did. The both came out at the same time. But there is something negative which is associated to it. There are some devices which are associated to it and they use the frequencies. So while using the 802.11b, one has to be very careful else there would be too much interferences of the existing devices.
802.11g: This is the version which has come out. It is a great upgrade to the b version and is also works with the 2.4 GHz range. So, the range is almost the same as the range of b versions. But, it was faster and one could get up to the 54mb/s as they did in 802.11a's time. The good part about it was that it was made backwards compatible with the b version. So the old b device was able to communicate with the g one. Also, one didn't have to swipe everyone's wireless adaptors. So, the 802.11g could be installed and then people were encouraged to move towards the faster speed. Since the frequency of the 802.11g and 802.11b were the same, so the same problem which happened to later one happened to this version as well. That is because the physics' laws cannot be changed anywhere. If something is out there that is sending out some signals with the speed of 2.4 GHz, then it would surely conflict with signals that were being sent with the 802.11g.
802.11n: it is the one of the newest standard which has been introduced and it has the advantages that the user gets the options to use 2 various kinds of the frequencies ranges and even both, at the exact time. For 802.11n, there is the 2.4 GHz and 5 GHz available. Also, one can now get lots of the throughput. The maximum speed of the 802.11n is, theoretically speaking, 600mbit/s. hence one can observe easily that what a great improvement in speed this version has brought.
Speeds, distances and frequencies:
The type 802.11a runs at the speed of 5 GHz which can be improved to the 3.7 GHz if a special licence is obtained. The speed is the 54Mbits per second. The area covered by it is really big. With the special licence it can go up to the 5000 meters. The 802.11b has the 2.5 GHz technology and it runs at the speed of 11Mbit/second. It can go only till 140 meters and the area covered is small. The main problem here is, that there are some other frequencies which and mess up with its frequency and hence one can face some problems using it. 802.11g is the upgraded version and it also has the 2.4 GHz range. The seed is 54Mbit.second. The latest version which is the 802.11n runs at the speed of 600 Mbit/second. Hence it is a great innovation.
The truth is that if the wireless networks do not include any complex types of encryptions, then they are somehow, useless. There is one challenge which is associated with the wireless network. That is, that every wireless network also has the properties of the radio transmitter and the radio receiver. Everyone can listen to what's happening and if one isn't the part of the network, he can just turn on the radio station on his dial. To overcome such problems, the encryptions are used. It is done in a way that if one can listen to what's happening; he cannot understand that what it is. To do this, the each of the byte and the bit is encrypted so one can never understand the meaning. Here are the some encryption types which are being used these days;
WEP: WEP is basically the original standard for the encryption. It stands for the wires equivalent privacy. There are two various kinds of the encryption which were done in here. One was the 128 bit and the other was the 64 bit key. But there were some specific weaknesses which were found with this protocol. One was able to work with all of the key streams. At the beginning of each stream, one could find some raw data which was pretty non-random. So, by using that information, people got enable to out all the packets together and then figure out the secret keys for the network. Once the secret key was gained, one could have the power to know what happening. So was, it was such a huge issue. People got to determine that what were the keys and they could figure it out with in some minutes only by sending some packet to those wireless networks. So, now the WEP isn't used. It is possible that it is available in one's access point. But the new access points which are in some new wireless connections do not allow the users to even choose this type. They don't even put it in as an option. Even if someone sees it, it is very strongly recommended to never ever use this type of encryption.
WPA: When the problem with the WEP came to the light, then there was a very quick and large need that arose and it demanded to have a new encryption type. It was called the WPA. Is means the Wi-Fi Protected Access. The method which was used by WPA was called as the RC4 with the other things called as the TKIP. The TKIP gave a new solution and each of the packets was given a different name. Hence, some of the problems which were found in the WEP were covered up. But it happened only for a short time. It didn't take the others long enough to figure out another way. The security still had some flaws and there was the need to have new encryption type.
WPA2: This one was the final replacement for the WEP. It is safe to say that it was the replacement for the WPA as well. But since it was kind of an upgraded version of WPA, it was named as WPA2. The methods which are used by this to encrypt the data are very difficult and hard to figure out. Hence it provided some more security to the data that was transmitted through one point to another. The previous version of WPA used the RC4. This version came up with the AES. AES stands for the advance encryption standard. It works more effectively than the RC4. Also, the TKIP was replaced as well. And instead of it, a newer protocol as introduced which was named as the CCMP.
The WPA2 has some even newer version as well. It is known as the WPA 2 Enterprise. This is the encryption type which is now being used by the large organizations. The method of the access has changed here as well. Before this, one used to get connected through the pre shared key, Also, now one cannot use the authentication which is done by the username and the passwords. Now, there is some whole new way of accessing the network which doesn't include the pre shared key and the network can't be accessed from home by using the authentication username and password.
TKIP: This is the encryption protocol which is the vital part of the wireless LANS. It has been designed to provide some secured encryption which couldn't be interpreted by anyone. It came and fixed the problems which arise then the WEP was being used. Hence it replaced the WEP in the WLAN products. It is like, a suit of the algorithms which work like a wrapper for the WEP which has allowed the users having the outdate WLAN equipment's to get updated to the TKIP. Hence they can replace without spending money on the new hardware. WEP's original programming is used by the TKIP but the additional code has been wrapped at the beginning and the end. Hence it has been modified. Hence this new kind of encryption can now encrypt the each and very packet of the data. This way, the breaking into the security becomes too difficult since one cannot make sense of the all packets and hence cannot understand the message. But, the TKIP is only good when it comes to upgrading the security which is on the devices which have been equipped with the WEP to begin with. It cannot answer to the security issues which arise and are faced by the WLAN. So, it is not that reliable and efficient.
AES: This is the encryption type which is mainly used when someone wants to send some really sensitive data through the emails. It is sued if someone wants to put some text in the encrypted form. The result of this encryption is shown in the form of base64 which is encoded so that the character encoding problems can be avoided. It is actually the short form of the systematic encryption algorithm. AES has successfully been designed to become efficient and effective in both the software's and the hardware. It can support the block having the lengths of 128 bits and the key's length which can be supported are if 192, 256 and 128 bits.
The thing is that AES has got some strong encryption technology and it is the right choice. It is assumed that all the devices on the work can support it. But, TKIP is strong enough and has the tendency to be supported by the more of the equipment's available in the market once they can save some money. But still, it is advised that AES should be the first option and TKIP is a good option too, but always made it as the second option.
Now, one can see properly that there are many standards which have been changed and may of the encryption types are out there in the market and the news is that in those encryption tapes, some are not so safe. So, one should be having the knowledge about all of these so that when he is about to select the protocol or the encryption options, he can make the best choice without any hesitation. Also, the safes encryption and the protocol choice have to be chosen if one wants to protect the precious data. There are the types of encryption which can save money, like TKIP, but this money is worthless if it cannot protect the data and the data can be stolen easily.