Wireless Metropolitan Area Networks (W-MAN) refer to a wireless network set of standards. W-MANSs cover a large physical area as the name Metropolitan suggests. They could span up to dozens of square miles, which is by far a large area compared to the area covered by W-LANs. The rationale of this paper is to discus the security issues in a W-MANs system.
In a wireless network system, assets refer to those tangible components of the system. With regard to wireless network security, they are the components susceptible to stealing, destruction, or disruption from perpetrators. These components include base stations that relay the W-MANs signals, subscriber terminals, and the client devices used by the user to access the network for example laptops, PDAs, and other devices.
Perpetrators refer to the agents that bring about insecurity or compromise to the wireless network system. Often, perpetrators have a motive, which could be personal; for instance, a thief might steal to resell the assets stolen to have a source of income. In addition, they could be rival companies that provide similar wireless services in a bid to get a competitive edge by destroying competitor networks; these are especially dangerous because they are more likely to have extensive resources available to them.
Threats refer to the mode of compromise that can be caused by perpetrators to the wireless system. Indeed, this could take many forms; for instance, stealing of assets, an accidental association where a user’s computer latches onto a wireless network access point for a neighboring owner due to proximity. It could also be malicious association where a perpetrator intentionally cracks or breaches the network security to gain access.
Safeguards refer to the security measures taken to protect the system from potential threats. They include physical protection of assets like base stations and personal client devices. The network itself can also be protected through signal hiding techniques such that the perpetrators are not able to locate the network, and encryption, which is the best method for protecting the confidentiality of information that is transmitted over the network.
Despite all the security safeguards that may be implemented to protect the system, loopholes are usually present in the system. These are referred to as vulnerabilities. An example of one vulnerable point could be a “back door” in the wireless network encryption algorithm, which is usually set up by the programmer for his or her own troubleshooting.
Emerging technology promises advancement in wireless network technology. Larger network coverages and more sophisticated encryption algorithms are no doubt in the interest of major technology companies and research centers. Therefore, the improved software patches are developed daily, a situation that will inhibit potential perpetrators.
As is evident from the above analysis, wireless networks and, in this case, W-MANs are generally susceptible to many forms of attack due to the increasing need for wireless internet. However, modern technology has continued to improve, a situation that provides many forms of protection against potential threats. In essence, this technology has overseen the rise of many Internet service providers.