I had the chance to try out one of the most talked about technologies
of late, i.e. the 802.11b a.k.a. wireless LAN. I thought it’s pretty nifty!
I got my hands on a Lucent Orinoco AP-1000 access point (base
station) unit and some few Lucent Orinoco PC cards. If you’re a laptop
user, you’d find this quite a boon. We can now be really free from
the confines of the network cables as with these, you can really be
on the network and be mobile on your laptop! Of course, there’s a
limitation as to over what distance it can cover but from my initial tests,
it’s been great. Then, there’s also the issue of the laptop running out
of juice but that’s a whole different story! :) There are some things
within 802.11b that concerns me and that is security. Basically, if your
laptop is armed with one of those wireless LAN PC cards, you can
stumble into any networks that aren’t yours and within your range. If
the administrators of the network aren’t careful enough and do not
take enough precaution to lock it down somewhat, security breaches
can be a walk in the park. 802.11b does come with some security
features and for a small sized network, it’s just fine I suppose.
However, at a larger scale, the management of the network could be a
nightmare with the amount of ACLs, encryption keys, etc. that needs
to be maintained. Not only that, I feel like the mechanism provided
isn’t strong enough as mentioned in this
article. I’m in the midst of writing an article on my findings on 802.11b
so stay tuned.