Wireless LANs

Course 227

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This three-day course is an experiment-oriented course that integrates topics at the MAC layer (and above) of Wireless LANs (WLANs) and Wireless Personal Area Networks (WPANs). The course emphasizes hands-on learning through experiments and case studies. It will offer attendees the ability to conduct laboratory experiments and design projects that cover a broad spectrum of issues in WLANs and WPANs. The characteristics and operations of IEEE 802.11a/b/g/n WLANs will be described as well as that of Bluetooth WPANs. Laboratory experiments will be conducted to show the tradeoffs of the virtual carrier sensing mechanism, observe interference issues with other devices operating on the ISM band, describe Mobile Ad-hoc NETwork (MANET) operations and routing protocols, configure secure infrastructure and MANET WLANs, deploy hotspots, and use modeling, simulation, and emulation tools to evaluate WLANs (including system in the loop capabilities). Real infrastructure and MANET WLANs will be deployed and configured in class under different network scenarios. Different tools and techniques will be introduced to monitor, measure, and characterize their performance (and realize the tradeoffs). Known techniques to attack WLANs will be shown and proper security practices to avoid well-known threats will be discussed. All concepts will be summed up in an experiment that aims at deploying a secure hotspot.

Students are encouraged to bring their laptop computers to class in order to participate in the exercises.

Learning objectives

Upon completing the course you will be able to:

  • Describe the characteristics and operation of IEEE 802.11 WLANs and Bluetooth WPANs.
  • Understand the different knobs and dials that affect performance of IEEE 802.11 WLANs and the tradeoffs of each.
  • Construct and manage 802.11 WLANs (infrastructure and ad-hoc) and Bluetooth WPANs in Windows and Linux environments.
  • Use diagnosis tools and techniques to monitor, measure, and characterize the performance of WLANs and WPANs.
  • Use of network simulation tools to model and evaluate the performance of MANETs.
  • What it takes to deploy a hotspot (user access control, NATing, logging).

Target Audience

Professionals such as engineers, product developers, managers, security officers, city/state government or law enforcement professional, and network administrators who have a special interest in quickly getting up to speed with practical aspects of WLAN (infrastructure, ad-hoc) and WPAN (piconet, scatternet) management and operation.


Day One

 • Introduction to WLANs • Getting to know your toolkit
WLAN Overview
 • Wireless environment and an overview of the IEEE 802.11 family of standards • MAC overview • Adaptive rate control • Link layer positive acknowledgements • Frame Check Sequence • Error recovery • Hidden node problem • CSMA/CA • Virtual carrier sensing • Interframe spacing • MAC backoff • Fragmentation • Management operations • Framing • Power save mode

Day Two

WPAN Overview
 • Characteristics • Modes of operation • Packet format • Air interface • Security • Coexistence issues with 802.11
 • Concept of operation • Routing basics • AODV • OLSR • ETX metric

Day Three

WLAN Modeling, Simulation, and Emulation
 • Modeling, simulation, and emulation tools • OPNET IT Guru • NS-2 • CORE • System in the loop
WLAN Security
 • WEP basics • Security vulnerabilities • Breaking WEP • DoS against a WLAN • Using 802.11i (WPA2)
 • Building blocks • DHCP • NAT • User access control