Planning Your Wireless Network

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If using multiple access points, it is better if adjacent access points use different radio frequency channels to reduce interference. The recommended channel spacing between adjacent access points is 5 channels (for example, use Channels 1 and 6, or 6 and 11).

The time it takes to establish a wireless connection can vary depending on both your security settings and placement. WEP connections can take slightly longer to establish. Also, WEP encryption can consume more battery power on a notebook computer.

Unlike wired network data, your wireless data transmissions can extend beyond your walls and can be received by anyone with a compatible adapter. For this reason, use the security features of your wireless equipment. The modem router provides highly effective security features, which are covered in detail in this chapter. Deploy the security features appropriate to your needs

Restrict access based on MAC address. You can allow only trusted PCs to connect so that unknown PCs cannot wirelessly connect to the modem router. Restricting access by MAC address adds an obstacle against unwanted access to your network, but the data broadcast over the wireless link is fully exposed (see Restricting access by MAC address ).

Turn off the broadcast of the wireless network name SSID. If you disable broadcast of the SSID, only devices that have the correct SSID can connect. This nullifies wireless network discovery feature of some products, such as Windows XP, but the data is still exposed (see Hiding your wireless network name (SSID) ).

WEP. Wired Equivalent Privacy (WEP) data encryption provides data security. WEP Shared Key authentication and WEP data encryption block all but the most determined eavesdropper. This data encryption mode has been superseded by WPA-PSK and WPA2-PSK (see Configuring WEP ).

WPA-802.1x. Wi-Fi Protected Access (WPA) with user authentication implemented using IEE 802.1x and RADIUS servers (see Configuring WPA-802.1x ).

WPA-PSK (TKIP) + WPA2-PSK (AES). Wi-Fi Protected Access (WPA) using a pre-shared key to perform authentication and generate the initial data encryption keys. The very strong authentication along with dynamic per frame re-keying of WPA makes it virtually impossible to compromise (see Configuring Mixed WPA-PSK+WPA2-PSK Security ).

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