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Networks

WLAN Concept Course

Master the mysteries of Wi-Fi for secure connectivity

This course immerses you in the world of wireless networks to help you understand the fundamentals of WLAN (Wireless Local Area Network) and ensure secure connectivity. You'll learn about standards, protocols, network architectures, authentication and encryption techniques to protect your data and your network.

75 minutes

4.3/5

4,3/5

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Contents

📡Wlan - Introduction to Wireless

For today's network architects and administrators, security isn't an afterthought. It's a top priority for them! In fact, many IT professionals now work exclusively in the field of network security.

Do you understand what makes a LAN secure? Do you know what threats actors can make to break network security? Do you know what you can do to stop them? This module is your introduction to the world of network security.

It is widely used in homes, offices and campuses. It facilitates the mobility of users, who connect with laptops, tablets, smartphones...

There are many different network infrastructures that provide network access, such as wired LANs, service provider networks and cellular phone networks. But it's WLAN that makes mobility possible in home and office environments.

In companies with a wireless infrastructure in place, savings can be made every time equipment changes, when an employee moves into a building, when equipment or a laboratory is reorganized, or when moving to temporary or project sites.

A wireless infrastructure can adapt to rapidly changing needs and technologies.

Wireless networks are based on the standards of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) and can be classified into four main types: WPAN, WLAN, WMAN and WWAN.

 

Wireless personal area network (WPAN) 

Uses low-power transmitters for a short-range network, typically 6 to 9 meters (20 to 30 feet).Bluetooth and ZigBee-based devices are commonly used in WPANs. WPANs are based on the 802.15 standard and a radio frequency of 2.4 GHz.

 

Wireless LAN (WLAN)

Uses transmitters to cover a medium-sized network, typically up to 90m (300 ft.). WLANs are suitable for home, office and even campus use. WLANs are based on the 802.11 standard and a 2.4 GHz or 5 GHz radio frequency.

 

Wireless MAN (WMAN)

Uses transmitters to provide wireless service over a wider geographical area. WMANs are suitable for providing wireless access to a metropolitan city or specific neighborhood. WMANs use specifically licensed frequencies.

 

Wireless Wide Area Networks (WWAN)

Use transmitters to provide coverage over a wide geographical area. WWANs are suitable for national and global communications. WWANs also use specific licensed frequencies.

 

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💡 Why use Wireshark

Wireshark offers many advantages for cybersecurity beginners and network professionals alike. Here are just a few reasons why you should consider using Wireshark:

    • Identifying network problems: Wireshark lets you examine network traffic for performance problems, outages, congestion and configuration errors. It helps you locate bottlenecks and resolve problems quickly.

    • Threat analysis: Wireshark can be used to analyze malicious traffic and detect network attacks such as DDoS attacks, phishing attacks, intrusion attempts and more. This enables you to strengthen your network security and take preventive measures.

    • Learning network protocols: Using Wireshark, you can study network protocols such as TCP/IP, DNS, HTTP and more. This gives you an in-depth understanding of how networks work, and helps you to better diagnose problems.

🕹️ Wireless LAN components

1. Wireless Network Interface Card (NIC)

Wireless deployments require at least two devices with a radio transmitter and a radio receiver tuned to the same frequencies:

  • Terminals with wireless network cards
  • A network device, such as a wireless router or access point

To communicate wirelessly, laptops, tablets, smartphones and even cars include built-in wireless network cards that carry a radio transmitter/receiver.

 

However, if a device doesn't have a built-in wireless network card (NIC - Network Interface Controller), a USB wireless adapter can be used.

Note: Many wireless devices you're familiar with don't have visible antennas. They are built into smartphones, laptops and wireless home routers.

 

2. Wireless Home Router

The type of infrastructure device with which end devices associate and authenticate varies according to the size and requirements of the WLAN.

For example, a home user typically interconnects wireless devices using a small wireless router, like the one shown in the figure.

The wireless router has 3 functions:

  • Access point : provides 802.11a/b/g/n/ac wireless access.
  • Switch: provides a four-port, full-duplex 10/100/1000 Ethernet switch to interconnect wired devices.
  • Router: provides a default gateway for connection to other network infrastructures, such as the Internet.

 

3. Wireless access point

Although range extenders are easy to install and configure, the best solution is to install another wireless access point to provide dedicated wireless access to user devices.

Wireless clients use their wireless network card to discover nearby access points advertising their SSID.

Clients then attempt to associate and authenticate with an AP (Access Point).

Once authenticated, wireless users can access network resources.

 

 

📶 Wireless LAN operation

Wireless LANs can support a variety of network topologies. The 802.11 standard identifies two main wireless topology modes: ad hoc and infrastructure. Connection sharing is also a mode sometimes used to provide fast wireless access.

 

  • Ad hoc mode

This is when two devices connect wirelessly peer-to-peer (P2P) without using access points or wireless routers. Examples include wireless clients connecting directly to each other via Bluetooth or Wi-Fi Direct. The IEEE 802.11 standard refers to an ad hoc network as an Independent Basic Service Set (IBSS).

Wireless LANs can support a variety of network topologies. The 802.11 standard identifies two main wireless topology modes: ad hoc and infrastructure. Connection sharing is also a mode sometimes used to provide fast wireless access.

 

  • Infrastructure mode

This is when wireless clients interconnect via a wireless router or access point, as in WLANs. Access points connect to the network infrastructure using the wired distribution system, such as Ethernet.

 

  • Connection sharing

A variant of ad hoc topology involves activating a smartphone or tablet with cellular data access to create a personal access point. This feature is sometimes referred to as connection sharing. A hotspot is usually a temporary quick fix that allows a smartphone to provide wireless services from a Wi-Fi router. Other devices can associate and authenticate with the smartphone to use the Internet connection.

 

 

 

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WLAN, or Wireless Local Area Network, is a wireless network that enables devices to connect and communicate with each other using radio waves, offering flexible and convenient connectivity.

WLAN is the general concept of wireless networking, while Wi-Fi is a specific technology used for WLAN. Wi-Fi is based on IEEE 802.11 standards and is commonly used for wireless connections in both domestic and professional environments.

WLAN offers convenient wireless connectivity, enabling users to move around freely while staying connected. It offers greater mobility, facilitates collaborative working and provides easy access to the Internet and network resources.

A WLAN network uses wireless access points (Access Points) to enable devices to connect to the network. Access Points transmit data wirelessly between devices and the wired network, enabling communication and Internet access.

The key components of a WLAN network include access points, wireless network cards in devices, antennas for wireless signal transmission and client devices such as laptops, smartphones and tablets.

To secure a WLAN network, we recommend the use of security protocols such as WPA2 (Wi-Fi Protected Access 2), which encrypt transmitted data. It's also important to set strong passwords for access points, and to regularly update device firmware.

WLAN-related security concerns include the risks of unauthorized network access, Man-in-the-Middle attacks, wireless data interception and vulnerabilities of outdated security protocols. Proper configuration and security measures are essential to minimize these risks.

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