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Thread: The future of wireless networking

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    HEXUS webmaster Steve's Avatar
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    The future of wireless networking

    From one n to another, this time 802.11n. Wireless networking is hot right now. Lots of people like it, lots of people have it, lots of people want it. Manfaucturers know this and are all striving to provide products that will grab them a piece of the market share. Unfortunately, some manufacturers are a bit too eager, often jumping ahead of standards such as the up-coming 802.11n.
    An IEEE 802.11 task group, TGn, was formed in January of last year to develop a new amendment to the 802.11 standard. Its goal was to build on existing technology to develop higher throughput—at least 100M bps—while maintaining compatibility with existing standards.

    ...

    Final ratification is expected to take until late next year or early 2007. And it will probably be several additional months after that before true 802.11n-compliant products are available on the market.

    A number of manufacturers, including Belkin, Linksys, Netgear and D-Link, have released or announced products that incorporate some of the proposed 802.11n technologies, but none of them uses all the proposed technologies.
    eWeek has the full article.

    When I setup my wireless network I bought an Edimax AP to go with my Centrino notebook. The AP is very basic, but that's what i like. It supports only the standards - 802.11g and WPS/WEP. I know any wireless device should work with it because there are no proprietary standards built into it.
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    mutantbass head Lee H's Avatar
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    Its all great having faster wireless connections with greater ranges but what they need to do is improve the security, make it easier to activate security and also make it easier for the masses to understand.

    Recently, Carl (my brother) got some wireless networking equipment and proceeded to take it home and get his ADSL wireless. The next day I went round and asked for the IP address to secure his router correctly and make sure nobody could gain access. To cut a long story short, I actually gained access to a USR wireless router with the "DEFAULT" logins and his equipment is Buffalo Branded.

    Another test was to install netstumbler on my housemates laptop and drive with it scanning down the main road to a friends less than 1 mile away. In this test we found 64 Access points all shouting " HERE I AM ... COME USE MY BANDWIDTH " and 20+ of them had the default login still as the main accounts.

    I've seen a wide range of wireless equipment in the past and some of the ways of activating security within these IS HIDDEN with the ultra admin deluxe menu's and can be frightening to the "unitiated".

    What they need to do is wake-up to this fact that some people are scared to mess with the routers and make an easier way of activating some form of security such as PSK, WEP, Mac filtering without resorting to being a router guru.

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    There needs to be standards that all wireless products must include, other wise you end up in a situation like myself and my flatmates where you have a PSK router, I have a PSK module, but everyone elses is WEP only.

    It's very annoying to find that you can't do what you wish and it isn't clearly explained on the packaging.
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    daft ideas inc. scottyman's Avatar
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    I think what's making it worse is that most of the manufacturers are trying very hard to make their kit "individual" across brands - but even across their own product lines. dlink as an example swapped menu designs 3 times in one year across a singe range of products. this was effectively just the skin - but even so, it's hard even for an IT pro to keep up to date with locations of essential security features.
    The fact that belkin's last generation 54-g type wireless router required you to run a scripted setup application - which did not force you to set a WEP/WPA key is an example of exactly how lax manufacturers are currently being.
    It should be a requirement to test to find optimal channel, change the SSID and force a WEP/WPA key (depending on client capabilities), and finally set a username/password on the box.
    I suppose the issue of user training is a major factor - but at the end of the day - once this is set up and that info is safely stored on a 16mb USB memory key supplied with the router (hey mr manufacturer - this is a good idea - I only know of three companies who had run this as a trial) then you've got security against lost passwords, a secured router - and a user who is starting to get paranoid enough.

    Case in point - a client of mine lost access to her wireless network when a neighbour got their boxes confused, changed the SSID and set a password. This was not even on her own box.
    I've now got to sort it out. FUUUUN.

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    Quote Originally Posted by scottyman
    Case in point - a client of mine lost access to her wireless network when a neighbour got their boxes confused, changed the SSID and set a password. This was not even on her own box.
    I've now got to sort it out. FUUUUN.
    LOL classic

    I did nearly the same as I was rushing to get it done as I *hate* doing techy stuff out of work hours when not getting paid and nearly totally secured the USR router when the fact was it wasn't even My brothers.

    Also, I noticed that with windows XP SP2 - the windows firewall was affecting his "media convertor" so it could not see any access points (even the buffalo ADSL router that was <1M away) until this was turned off and then it found the router and connected to it straight away.

    I agree with you on the fact manufacturers are a bit slack when it comes to wireless security and so far the only company I have seen address this situation is buffalo with their AOSS system which is a great idea and should be rolled out more I've brought a few of these points up to various manufacturers when they've popped in for a chat and they love to have any feedback regarding matters of this nature and how to make the "more user friendly".

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