Would your device connect to the strongest signal available?, discussion help

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Have to be at least 150 words. Also needs to do more than just agree or disagree.

1) I found this interesting to see what I could find on the question “Would your device connect to the strongest signal available?” According to Coleman & Westcott, “Most client stations make a roaming decision based on the received amplitude of known access points. In other words, a client station decides to roam based on its individual perspective of the RF environment. 802.11k mechanisms provide a client station with additional information about the existing RF environment.” I also read depending on the device you are using it can also have an aggressive setting that seeks out a stronger signal and will connect to it once it is available. I would think our building would have to have an aggressive setting for our RF hand helds at work. Since we travel across large distances and it would have to leap from one signal to another and in order to keep us performing that is one of the options I see that would help.

Mobile Assisted Handover ( MAHO) is a technique used by digital phones and cellular systems working together to provide better handover between cells. From this sentence, I would get that this is how our mobile devices would stay connected as well we can’t always be using the same cell tower and would jump from tower to tower as we drove around the globe?

2) WPA/WPA2-Personal allows an end user to enter a simple ASCII character string, dubbed a passphrase, anywhere from 8 to 63 characters in size (Coleman & Westcott). A problem that was happening was intruders would be able to see individuals using the same key over the encrypted network and eventually can put it together through ciphers. If I am understanding from the example in Figure 13.5 of our work book when I use the password from my phone to log into my SSID I give off an encrypted Pre-Shared Key (PSK). When I log on through my Laptop that same PSK comes up as a different encryption making it more difficult for the intruder to put the information from both devices and solve the cipher. It still intrigues me that we have come so far in the encryption keys from the 8 to 63 characters that some individuals can put these programs together and solve these hidden ciphers. These types of puzzles and challenges just sounds like a lot of fun. It may be work but these are things that make job interesting from either side that you may be on.

3) Hi Class,

When I think of Operating Systems (OS) being vulnerable to attack I immediately (and maybe unfairly) think PC Windows based systems (i.e. Windows 7, etc) as being highly susceptible. In an earlier post I mentioned that closed systems are less vulnerable to attacks or viruses. Hey wait a minute ….. Isn’t Microsoft Windows Operating System a proprietary Operating System (OS)?

Perhaps … but don’t forget the popularity of the Internet and open computing has not escaped even the mighty Microsoft .The Windows OS has adopted many open standards and with each release of their OS, more open system computing standards (e.g. 802.11, WEP, SMTP, FTP ,Telnet, WinSock) are wrapped into their OS. Also, in order to build applications around the Windows OS, Microsoft releases an application-programming interface (API) to encourage other vendors to develop their own applications (also to deny Anti-Trust accusations). To say Microsoft OS systems is a closed system is slightly misleading. There are many windows of opportunity for clever hackers to take advantage of Microsoft lapses in security.

NTC247ers: Do you think operating systems are less vulnerable to attack when compared to Microsoft OSs? Why or why not?

4) Hi Class, In Chapter 8 of Geier (2005) it’s observed that many wireless set-ups run in default mode that leads to a wide- open security vulnerability. My experience is a little different. I say some run without security features enabled because they feel it’s too complicated and intrusive. Some say all these protective measures actually slow the connection down ( e.g. turn off the firewall) .

I sympathize with their dilemma ~ unless the connection contains the most sensitive information, I would not want the connection to be slow to the point that my productivity would be practically zero. A problem experienced by my customers could be a slow session due to encryption. Encryption is used to protect the data in the event that the data is intercepted and is performed on the aggregate bit stream of the 802.11 wireless standards. It should be very difficult to reconstruct the original bit stream without a complimentary decryption device or algorithm. The disadvantage of encryption is that the decryption process adds multiple additional errors for any error encountered. Forward error correction (FEC) is available in all modes employing encryption to help counter this characteristic, which is known as error extension.

Subsequently, when encryption is used the overall error rate increases which may also contribute to packet loss. Depending on protocols being used at both the lower and higher layers of a network stack, the error correction overhead can be quite time consuming. A respectable Bit Error Rate (BER) for an unencrypted would be less than 10-8 ( one bit error per 100 million bits received) while a respectable BER for an encrypted signals would be a relatively much smaller vale of 10-6 ( one bit error per 1 million bits received) .

NTC247ers: Is it possible for robust wireless network security to be transparent to the user? Should it be?

5) Rogue Wireless Devices

This is something I had recently heard about on the news and had already mentioned it to some coworkers. When hearing about this I had not even thought about how easy it could be to become a rogue wireless device and act as a portal to the Internet. Because the rogue device will likely be configured with no authorization and authentication security in place, any intruder could use this open portal to gain access to network resources (Coleman & Westcott). This is a good example of having your devices “Ask to Join Networks” turned on, because you don’t want to accidentally start to use a wireless connection that you are un aware of. Even when going into a Starbucks don’t be afraid to ask which connection is theirs, because it is where the free open wireless is available is the easiest for someone to use one of these rogue wireless devices. Users that are associated to the same access point are potentially just as vulnerable to peer-to-peer attacks as Independent basic service set (IBSS) users. The few things that come to mind that can be achieved by using the rogue wireless device is sharing of files and I believe you can use a character share option to log what is being typed or stored passwords.

6) Hi Class,

In Chapter 12 of Coleman (2014) we examine dead-spots and in Chapter 15 of Coleman (2014) Figure 12.7 we learn that a received signal requires to be well above (> 25 dB) the noise floor to achieve good bandwidth.

There are countless root-causes why a wireless signal (be it 802.11 networks, television, radio) can be distorted or not received . For example with 802.11 devices

1. A network device shares the same frequency with another RF device resulting in a corrupt, lossy, or slow bandwidth.

2. A network device is too far away from the source. Resulting in very low signal strength which translates to a very slow or no connection at all.

Let’s use an analogy to help understand this situation ….

Suppose you (the receiver) are listening to a well-known lecturer (broadcaster) in very crowded cavernous lecture hall. This would be the equivalent of your laptop computer connected to a wireless network (WLAN receiving an uninterrupted and clean signal. Suddenly the person sitting next to you begins a conversation with their neighbor. Not only would this behavior be rude, but you are now unable able to hear the lecturer clearly. You may be able to concentrate and hear some of the lecturer’s words, but are unable to hear key parts of the lecturer’s discussion.

This situation is no different than the microwave frequency interfering with your laptop’s receiver. The lecturer and your rude neighbor are sharing the same frequency range. However, your ears are sometimes unable to distinguish between the lecturer and your neighbor’s signal.

NTC247ers: What could be done so that you could hear the lecturer more clearly? Hint: There are many-many approaches and solutions. One obvious solution being a way figure out how to decrease the source of the noise. I’m looking for the obvious and not so obvious solutions.

7) This chapter got me thinking about wireless security at work as well as home. We use consumer grade wireless equipment at work because we are a small company and don’t have that many users that need wireless access. After reading and learning more, I am going to look into enterprise grade equipment in the hopes that it will be a more upgradeable solution that the consumer stuff we’ve been buying.

This chapter also makes me want to setup a RADIUS server at work and home. I think that as time and hackers progress it will become more necessary to have better encryption and authentication methods, so why not start now? Does anyone have experience with RADIUS servers? How big of a server could you need for 7-15 devices?

8) Hi all,

In this chapter so far, I found the information about rogue access points the most interesting. As per chapter 14, it states that rogue access points are mostly created by employees (Coleman & Westcott). I never really new what this type of connection meant. I have seen a co-worker of mine before bring their portable device (Belkin) and try to create a wifi connection. I tried to inform them that the company does monitor these type of things and it wasn’t safe. It’s amazing how all these things can be singled out. I know the chapter says that this happens a lot with companies (Coleman & Westcott) but I wonder how often.


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