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Management Of Internetworking

Wireless Networks And Security

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Abstract: University A is facing security issue in the existing network and is in need of a network model that can link all the devices within the campus. It is a combination of wired and wireless networks. The major security issues include third party access, poor configuration and poor authentication models. Under the network design, we have linked protocols like WPA/WPA2 and standards like IEEE 802.11x along with suitable device models that shall add value to the requirements and also encourage users to have wonderful experiences. The proposed model has a number of strengths like high performance, non-redundancy, reusability, customization, flexibility and reliability. 

Introduction: The evolution of wireless technologies has added ease to networking despite the geographical limits. However, there are growing concerns on security. For the campus mentioned in the case study, there is already a wired network in place and it is essential to implement a wireless network that ensures better connectivity, security, speed and reliability. As it is for an educational institution, it is obvious that confidentiality of data has to be maintained and this is the reason that the campus tries to adhere to IEEE standards and reliable routers and other networking components to structure the WLAN design. The purpose of this paper is to create the design and evaluate the suitability to the given case.

Question 1: Analyse.

Analyse the problem of providing security of the above campus network using WPA or WPA2.

Answer: Security problem: The given case study is about the networking structure within a small educational campus that has multiple classrooms, library and cafeteria and is in need of internet access across the campus. However, the firm is clear that the users are limited.

There are 3 security concerns faced by the organization.

• Access of third party to the confidential data possessed by the organization

• Poor authentication of users (Needs effective security and cryptographic techniques)

• Use of multiple vendors in the networking structure raises confusion on the configuration and the accessibility of data

Data loss during transmission and reception can be yet another challenge if the wireless network does not contain stronger protocols. As the coverage area is definitely wide, it is important to identify security protection tools during data exchange. It is essential to address all these security issues with a solution that supports multiple vendors, multiple operating systems and multiple devices. Further, there is also a need to establish a single IEEE 802.11x network solution that has the ability to protect data possessed by management. There is no need to create a new algorithm/solution for the same.

Yet, there is a need for a solution to address the third party attacks on the data shared across the network. This is the most serious security issue out of all the points mentioned. This can lead to data loss, data manipulation and data leaks. Keeping all these security issues in mind, a network design is created in the upcoming section.

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Question 2: Design.

Create a design part of the proposed solution with suitable diagram.

Answer: Wireless network of Campus A: As mentioned in the requirement, the systems within the campus shall be connected with cables. However, the internet and other networking features shall be connected in a wireless scheme.

Wireless network of Campus A.jpg

The ideal network for this campus is as provided by Cisco. This wireless network design allows users to bring their own devices and also establish authenticated connection to the core network. The design is split into different sections based on the geographical sections. The core campus is connected to services section, data centre and guest department. Cisco Router is being used to establish connection across the entire network. The data centre of the campus includes application and file servers and cryptographic algorithms to secure the data. This acts as a central data server and includes a firewall for data transmission and reception. 

Cryptographic algorithms including encryption and decryption are applied to avoid third party attacks to this network . On the other hand, the guest system allows the access of new users to this network and this can typically include new students, parents and visitors. A separate WAN is connected to the same. In case the campus plans to allow users to access the authenticated data from any part of the world, then the off premise section of this design shall work. If the campus looks forward to add new branches or buildings with new users, there is a provision for the same in this network design. As of now, the entire network is linked via router and does not involve any wires between buildings.

Question 3: Evaluate/Justification

Evaluate your proposed solutions and write justification of your evaluation

Answer: Network security establishment: As we have made use of Cisco wireless network to connect devices and buildings in wireless establishment, network security is crucial. The Cisco networking infrastructure makes use of WPA/WPA2 to ensure interoperability and assure end users about data privacy and authorized access. As there is scope for enterprise operation mode, we shall use the same. For the authentication, the protocol would be IEEE 802.1X followed by EAP. The encryption follows AES or TKIP/MIC protocol and this takes care of the encryption keys, passwords and maximizes the overall security to protect the system from network attacks.

To establish this network security in the proposed campus, it is important to configure devices as follows :

• Wireless LAN controller

• Lightweight access point (LAP)

• Layer 2 switch

All these should be connected to the Cisco secure ACS server. Eventually, all of these are connected to the wireless client. Once this setup is created, each of the devices can be configured separately and then the security system shall be established.

Security requirements for wired and wireless networks: The security requirements vary between wired and wireless networks. The primary difference in terms of networking between these types is that wired uses cables and wireless uses radio frequencies so as to establish the connectivity . Wired network is faster as the users are fixed and it works within a specific geographical limit. Hence, it is also secure. On the other hand, wireless network is less secure and there will be a lot of interference that can interrupt the transmission speed.

Though these are the differences, the security mechanisms are available widely in wireless networks. This is to ensure that hubs do not suffer in terms of speed or performance. While wired network even in the case of this campus works with firewall software, we have implemented WEP (wired equivalent privacy) encryption technique for the wireless system to remain safe. DoS (denial of service) is a common attack that occurs on a network and affects the performance on the whole. It also alters the data and prevents the server from offering the desired service. With security components like anti-spyware programs, anti-virus programs and strong encryption techniques, it is possible to even tighten the security system of the wireless network.

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802.1x authentication mechanism: This mechanism is definitely helpful as it allows centralized management. As the user groups are limited in this campus, centralized structure shall remain even productive. Dynamic key allocation and dynamic VLAN assignment tighten the overall authentication structure. Users receive keys based on that moment. Hence, it is difficult for new users or even attackers to use the existing passwords to manipulate confidential data. The 802.1x authentication mechanism also encourages SSID restriction. This rotation of encryption keys gives a lot of control to the network administrator.

Solution evaluation: The proposed design is ideal for a number of reasons. First of all, this can serve 3,000 users belonging to university A with the existing infrastructure and also ensure interoperability. Further, it gives an opportunity for students to even bring their own devices. This gives comfort and reminds of the efficient capacity planning scheme in place.

With the proposed design and algorithms, the access control is role based. It is essential to split roles of the users and allocate them with active directory accounts . The wireless system is already connected to the active directory and every user accesses the system with suitable rights and limitations. By this way, it is possible to maintain confidentiality of data and allow access to only the right volume of data.

The WLAN design here is optimized for different types of devices including mobiles so that it gives the same seamless experience to all of its users. It is this mobile optimization associated with this network that shall give a wonderful end user experience. There is a separate guest section in the created network design and it shall offer the same quality of experience that guarantees mobility, elevated performance and security.

Subsequently, there is a separate space for the storage of application and files. As it is an educational campus, there is a possibility for huge volumes of data to be stored and exchanged. Since all the users (including students and teachers) shall access to the same network, we need to ensure availability and non-redundancy of data. With this design, the availability is high and the high performing router shall speed up the access timing to this server . Similarly, redundant data are eliminated and users gain access to quality data that are also trustworthy.

Looking at these features, it is evident that they fulfil the needs of the education campus. Implementation of standards like IEEE 802.1x can also improve the overall authentication structure and allow users to have seamless experience. This type of design allows reusability and cost effectiveness. Hence, the campus shall save a lot of money on that part and can customize as and when required.

Question 4: Conclusion

Briefly summarised the outcomes of the work using 2/3 sentences.

Answer: Conclusion: When it comes to education campus, building a strong network is important. Based on the budgeting, purpose and type of users, it is important to create a design. Being a small campus, there are limited users. Keeping the needs in mind, the network design has been created in this paper. The proposed design includes WLAN, implements IEEE 802.1x standard and also secures the communication within the network with the help of WPA/WPA2. Hence, it is even possible to address requests from a large coverage area. The Cisco design used for this campus is highly reliable and guarantees high performance. It is easy to deploy and gives scope for better authentication protocols and easier deployment. The section on justification has listed the excellent features of proposed model that make it the best and ideal for the campus.

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