The following document is ONLY intended to provide current students with a “sample” of
what previous students have submitted as a final research outline. This document is NOT
intended to serve as an exemplar of the optimal way to complete this assignment. Instead,
this document can serve as a learning tool on how to avoid typical grading mistakes made
by research groups that have developed this document in previous semesters. Listed below
are “some” of the written comments I provided the group as part of my grading summary:
- Tell (convince) the audience why the topic you are going to present will be valuable to them in
their professional career.
- Include page numbers in your summary.
- Be careful of using “single sentence” bullet points in your summary. Typically, bullet points
with only a single sentence to not provide enough detail to show me that your group has fully
researched your topic. (KEY POINT)
- If your use technical term or abbreviations – be sure to explain to the audience what the terms
or abbreviation mean (e.g., Mbps, PCMICA, etc.).
- Be sure to include proper line spacing between main and supporting points.
- Since you are discussing the operation of a technology – you may want to include some
pictures or diagrams that best illustrate: what the key components look like, and how the key
components operate as a system.
- Your group did a fabulous job research data communications standards. You may want to
“scale down” your summary of the technical aspects of each standard to the core capabilities
concerning each standard (e.g., distance, quality, etc.). You also may want to compare and
contrast the capabilities of each standard.
- Good idea to bring examples of core technological components of Wi-Fi to class so your
classmates can actually see the technology.
- Good discussion of the advantages of Wi-Fi – BUT, be sure to minimize single sentence bullet
points in your summary!
- Good discussion of disadvantages facing Wi-Fi – BUT, your list of how security risks could
impact an organization is NOT supported by additional information. Any point your team makes
in their outline should be followed by supporting information!
- Your discussion of disadvantages facing Wi-Fi had too many “unsupported” lists (e.g., Power
Management, System Operability, etc.). YOU MUST provide additional supporting information
for all main points presented in your outline.
- It looks like your group tried to include too many examples of how Wi-Fi is being used to
support business operations. The end results of your efforts were a number of “incomplete”
business examples. I would highly recommend that you select only four or five strong business
examples that you can fully support and document in your paper.
- Good idea to include photographs that FULLY SUPPORT your outline’s core topics.
- Once again – it looks like your group “threw together” a number of unrelated points regarding
the future of Wi-Fi. I would recommend that your group selects four or five interesting points
concerning the future of Wi-Fi.
- The summary section was very weak and incomplete. It should summarize the key points you
want the audience to take away from the presentation.
- I would have liked to see some discussion on your groups opinion of Wi-Fi. Now that you have
researched the topic – what’s your opinion!
- The literature review on the topic was acceptable. I would have liked to see a few more
This outline received the following grade: 43
Project Team Number: 1
Project Team Location: DeKalb
Project Team Members: Bob Beatty, Chung Liu, and Samantha Rice
Presentation Topic: Wi-Fi
Current Date: January 1, 2004
Current and Future Role of Wi-Fi Technology
With the growing popularity and use of Wi-Fi, it is important to understand what it is,
what it can do, its advantages, limitations, and its future.
• Present members of group.
o Bob Beatty, Chung Liu, and Samantha Rice
The goal of this outline is to:
• Define and describe Wi-Fi.
o A brief history of Wi-Fi, talk about what it is, who makes Wi-Fi products,
their applications (brief), and the various types and uses.
• Examine the Advantages and Disadvantages of Wi-Fi.
• Discuss Applications of Wi-Fi:
o A brief look at some business applications with a featured business case
• State the Future of Wi-Fi.
What is Wi-Fi?
• Define and describe Wi-Fi (Ohrtman, 2003)
o Wi-Fi is the industry standard for products based on IEEE 802.11 as
defined by the Wi-Fi Alliance. Wi-Fi products are tested for compatibility
among different manufacturers.
o Wi-Fi also represents freedom. It allows the user to receive data while
outdoors, in a warehouse, a conference room, or lounging on a sofa. If a
client is within range of a base station, they can access Internet service
with out the fuss of connecting any cables.
o The downside is that when outside of your own area, at a hotspot, you
must use several passwords, or codes to access the Internet.
o The process of Wi-Fi is best explained in contrast to cable
A typical desktop computer is connected to a larger network (LAN),
wide area network (WAN), or the Internet via a network cable to a
hub, router, or switch.
The computer uses a card (network interface card, NIC) to send zeros
and ones down the cable while changing the voltage on the wires from
+5 volts to -5 volts in a prearranged cadence.
Wi-Fi replaces the use of a cable with small, low-powered two-way
Instead of changing the voltage, the zeros and ones are encoded by
laying an alternating radio signal over a constant existing signal in a
The alternating signal encodes zeros and ones on the radio waves.
802.11b specification allows for the wireless transmission of
approximately 11 Mbps of raw data at distances up to a few hundred
feet over the 2.4 GHz unlicensed band.
Distance of the signal is influenced by various impediments, materials,
and line of sight.
o Wi-Fi Interfaces
These come in many shapes, sizes and form factors. They are built
into many devices, such as standalone security cameras.
Many laptops come with built-in Wi-Fi transmitter-receivers.
If not, you must add a PCMICA card. Older PDA’s require an
The cards are the shape and size of a credit card, and fit into a
corresponding slot in the laptop.
They can be easily taken out and used in other devices.
• Data Transmission
o 802.11 standard provide two radio frequency (RF) variations (as opposed
to infrared) of the physical (PHY) layer.
o DSSS-direct sequence spread spectrum
Use technology similar to Global Positioning System (GPS) satellites
and some types of cell phones.
Each information bit is combined with a longer pseudoramic
numerical (PN) in the transmission process.
This results in a high-speed digital stream, which is modulated onto a
carrier frequency using differential phase-shift keying (DPSK)
DSSS works by taking a data stream of zeros and ones and modulating
it with a second pattern-the chipping sequence.
This sequence is also known as the Barker code, which is an 11-bit
This chipping or spreading code is used to generate a redundant bit
pattern to be transmitted, and the resulting signal appears as wideband
noise to the unintended receiver.
A big advantage with this system is even if bits in the chip are lost in
transmission the radio can recover the original transmission.
Chipping is used to convert each bit of user data into a series of
redundant bit patterns. This aids in checking and ensuring data is sent
o FHSS-frequency-hopping spread spectrum.
A signal is sent using random distribution over time across a series of
Each transmission is brief to avoid interruption or jamming.
The main problem in developing this system was synchronization
between the transmitter and receiver to the frequency being used at
any point in time
The hopping rate is set at 2.5 hops per second with each transmission
occupying a channel less than 400 milliseconds.
o Both were designed to comply with the FCC regulations for operation in
the 2.4 GHz band, which is an unlicensed spectrum.
• Networking technologies: (Aspinwall, 2003)
o In most wireless schemes, you build a network by connecting radio
transmitters to computers and PDAs and then use a central access point to
manage the network.
o All networks include stations, usually network adapters installed in or
connected to computers.
o A network adapter, required for each device on the network, includes a
radio transmitter/receiver and usually an antenna to boost the radio’s
o Most networks include at least one access point (AP), which is a device
that manages the network and extends its range.
o The AP features a radio and usually has an external antenna.
o Management software allows the access point to authenticate network
users, provide security, and share resources over the network.
o Adhering to the same wireless standards is important in transmitting
o The process starts at the radio. All radios must operate at the same
frequency level to transmit and receive each other’s signals.
o To turn these signals into packets of information, devices must also be
used which adhere to the same wireless standard, which specifies the
frequencies at which the radios communicate, as well as a number of other
requirements for communication among them.
o Access points should be placed in a proper location to be most effective.
In the middle of the desired coverage area, on a high wall, away from any
physical obstructions is often best.
o The use of multiple access points on a single network is known as
o Multiple access points on the same network must share the same SSID
name, but be set to different non-overlapping channels to avoid
• Range (Ohrtman, 2003)
o One misconception of 802.11b is limited range of 100 meters. With the
right set up, it can reach 20 miles point to point.
o The primary networking architectures are MAN, WAN, LAN and Mesh
o By stepping down from a MAN to lower bandwidth networks, wireless
networks can reach out to residential and other low-density markets.
o Wi-Fi systems act like small routers, with each node relaying to its nearest
o Messages hop peer to peer across a broad interconnected nexus.
o The cool things about the new peer-to-peer structure is it is an example of
viral telecommunications, which is a new, bottom-up phenomenon, and
it’s performance increases with the number of nodes.
o Metcalf’s law states that the value of a network increases exponentially
with the addition of every new node. More nodes equal better service.
o By empowering the subscribers to be the network, cost to service
providers go down.
o The exciting thing is the network could be communally owned.
• Standards (Various Types and their Evolution) (Brisbin, 2002)
o Interchangeable parts (Smith, 2003)
The key to the utility of Wi-Fi is its adherence to a global standard.
It works against hardware platforms and network operating systems.
You can put a network together using pieces from a dozen different
You can carry your PC from room to room, house to house, or hotel to
coffee shop, and not have to worry about the brand access point in use
at those places.
The standards are detailed descriptions of how an over-the-air
interface between a client and base station, or between two clients,
They define signal strength, data information, and speed. They also
act as a recipe for encryption.
o IEEE 802.11
The Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (pronounced I
triple E) develops and approves standards for a wide variety of
IEEE designates networking standards on which new products can be
IEEE designates networking standards with the number 802.
Wireless networking standards use the subset 802, and are designated
by the number 11.
The first IEEE wireless standard was adopted in 1997.
This was a RF-based standard operating in the 2.4 GHz frequency
band, with a maximum throughput of 2 Mbps.
In 1999, 802.11 High Rate was renamed 802.11b, and 802.11a; a
higher speed standard using a different spread-spectrum method was
added. In 2002, 802.11g joined the ranks of approved wireless
Apple computer introduced the first widely available 802.11b products
They were called Air-Port, and their line consisted of a wireless access
point (base station) and a PC card for Macintosh laptops. Apple didn’t
invent the technology, but were the first to exploit it.
Most wireless networking products today are based on 802.11b
Appeared in 2002.
Instead of using the crowded 2.4 GHz band where other 802.11
standards operate, the 5 GHz band utilized is wide open, with few
competing for access.
Since the FCC has allocated a greater swath of the 5 GHz spectrum,
the wider band can provide more channels and bandwidth for wireless
More expensive due to lack of compatibility. You can’t use it with
Approved in 2002 as the third IEEE networking standard.
Has a maximum speed of 54 Mbps, and uses the same OFDM spread-
spectrum technology found in 802.11a.
Operates in the 2.4 GHz band, and is compatible with 802.11b. This
makes it a good fit for small business and consumers.
Backed by IBM, Intel, and Erickson among others, Bluetooth is a
standard developed by the Bluetooth Special Interest Group.
It is similar to 802.11b and g in the fact it uses radio-based technology
that operates in the 2.4 GHz band and uses FHSS.
Its top speed is 1 Mbps, with a range around 50 feet.
The main difference with Bluetooth is it acts as a personal area
network (PAN). This makes it useful in connecting computers and
peripheral located close to one another or for synchronization of
PDA’s and host devices.
Microsoft and Apple backed Bluetooth in 2002, showing support for
A radio-based standard operating in the 2.4 GHz band.
Use FHSS, like Bluetooth.
Remains significantly behind 802.11 in the marketplace.
Described as an all-inclusive standard that can move both voice and
data around a home network.
Developed in Europe by the Broadband Radio Access Network
(BRAN) group within the European Telecommunications Standards
Not popular in United States yet.
Used to facilitate communication among wireless stations, rather than
routing it through a central access point.
Wi-Fi was a term used as a substitute for IEEE 802.11.
The Wireless Ethernet Compatibility Alliance (WECA) adopted Wi-Fi
as an easily understood brand for all qualifying 802.11b products.
WECA was formed by product vendors to promote IEEE 802 and
develop a certification program, designed to ensure that wireless
products are fully compliant with the 802.11 standard.
WECA tests and certifies products and grants vendors whose products
meet the requirements to use the Wi-Fi logo on their equipment and
Wi-Fi certification only applies to 802.11b products. The WECA plan
to expand the certification to include 802.11a and g in the future.
• Hotspots: (Ohrtman, 2003)
o Hotspots are areas with public Wi-Fi LAN access.
o They are places where any person who purchased equipment with the
IEEE 802.11 capability can legitimately connect to an access point and get
service from an open location, such as McDonalds.
o The most exciting element about this innovation is it poses a real threat to
the cellular phone industry. If enough access points are installed in public
places, IEEE 802.11 could eventually provide universal wireless
broadband access in cities.
o Hotspots have the following components: Subscribers, Access points to
provide wireless coverage, Hotspot controllers to provide access control,
authentication server to verify legitimate users, local content intranet
services, and public Internet services.
• Examples of Wi-Fi Hardware
o Display an access point and a wireless network interface card.
• Comparison of the wireless connectivity (Rothman, 2003)
o Short-range radio – 6 ft. to 20 ft.
o Infrared – 20 ft. to 50 ft.
o Bluetooth – up to 30 ft.
o Wireless Ethernet (Wi-Fi) – up to 300 feet
o Cordless phones – 500 ft. to 7,000 ft.
o Family radio service – up to 3 miles
o Citizens band – up to 5 miles
o Mobile-phone networks – 2 miles to 12 miles per cell tower
Advantages of Wi-Fi
• User Mobility
o Users can access files, network resources, and the Internet without having
to physically connect to the network with wires.
o Users can be mobile yet retain high-speed, real-time access to the
o And the best thing of all, it's fast. In fact, it's several times faster than the
fastest cable modem connection.
o Workplace continues to evolve beyond the traditional desktop as
employees and workgroups become more mobile. When people conduct
business away from their desktop environment, they lose access to
valuable applications, Internet content and communications tools. Wi-Fi
would be able to provide this because of its user mobility
• What are the benefits of enterprise mobility (Wi-Fi) for a company?
o Improved productivity
Enhanced worker efficiency through increased accesses to online
Increased knowledge sharing amongst workers, customers, and
o Customer Loyalty
Better customer service- employees are better informed, have
shorter response times, have an improved ability to sense and
Higher quality interaction with customer
o Cultural Enhancement
Attracting and retaining employees, by allowing them to work
where and when they choose, and by providing them the
personalized tools for appropriate, customized info.
Strengthens corporate culture
o Business Resilience
Able to quickly react to adversity via multiple channels
Rapid deployment in reaction to an “event.”
o Cost Savings
Reduced cabling costs
Reduced costs to move and add people to network
• Rapid Installation
o The time required for installation is reduced because network connections
can be made without moving or adding wires, or pulling them through
walls or ceilings, or taking modifications to the infrastructure cable plant.
o The WLAN Internet connectivity is great for any company whose site is
not conducive to LAN wiring because of building or budget limitations,
such as older buildings, leased space, or temporary sites.
o For example, WLANs are often cited as making LAN installations
possible in buildings that are subject to historic preservation rules.
o Installation is much less expensive then wired LAN.
o While the initial investment required for WLAN hardware can be higher
than the cost of traditional wired LAN hardware, overall installation
expenses and life-cycle costs can be significantly lower. Long-term cost
benefits are greatest in dynamic environments requiring frequent moves
o Enterprises can also enjoy the flexibility of installing and taking down
WLANs in locations as necessary.
o For example, users can quickly install a small WLAN for temporary needs
such as a conference, trade show, or standards meeting.
o WLAN network topologies can easily be configured to meet specific
application and installation needs and to scale from small peer-to-peer
networks to very large enterprise networks that enable roaming over a
Disadvantage of Wi-Fi
o There have been numerous published reports and papers describing attacks
on 802.11 wireless networks that expose organizations to security risks.
o How will this affect a organization
Loss of proprietary information
Legal and recovery costs
Loss of network availability
Loss of confidentiality
Loss of Integrity
Many other security risk
o Following figure shows different kinds of attacks against WLANs:
(wireless local area networks).
o The three basic security services defined by IEEE for the WLAN
environment, WEP or Wired Equivalent Privacy, are as follows:
Authentication: A primary goal of WEP was to provide a security
service to verify the identity of communicating client stations. This
provides access control to the network by denying access to client
stations that cannot authenticate properly. This service addresses
the question, “Are only authorized persons allowed to gain access
to my network?”
Confidentiality (Privacy): Confidentiality, or privacy, was a second
goal of WEP. It was developed to provide “privacy achieved by a
wired network.” The intent was to prevent information
compromise from casual eavesdropping (passive attack). This
service, in general, addresses the question, “Are only authorized
persons allowed to view my data?”
Integrity: Another goal of WEP was a security service developed
to ensure that messages are not modified in transit between the
wireless clients and the access point in an active attack. This
service addresses the question, “Is the data coming into or exiting
the network trustworthy—has it been tampered with?”
o Security problems with WEP include the following:
Security features in vendor products are frequently not enabled
• Security features, albeit poor in some cases, are not enabled
when shipped, and users do not enable when installed. Bad
security is generally better than no security.
WEP is vulnerable.
• WEP provides no forgery protection
• WEP provides no replay protection
• Radio Frequency Interference
o Unregulated Frequency - anyone can use it.
o With popularity also comes congestion.
o Some common items that can cause interference:
• Bandwidth Limitations
o Wireless means sharing bandwidth. It’s a step back for Ethernet as wired
equipment offers better access without sharing bandwidth with other users.
o Wired offers gigabit speeds, 1000 megabits per second, whereas wireless
is from 11-54 megabits per second.
• Power Management
o Wireless devices are generally mobile and running out of battery power is
• System Operability
o Different vendors
o Different standards – 802.11x
• Installation Issues
o More difficult to plan installations than wireless
o Walls, ceilings, and other obstacles can cause some waved to change their
• Health Risks
o As with other wireless (cellular) communications, any long term risks are
o Citations in the scientific literature that suggest physical or neurological
damage from exposure to microwaves and other radio emissions.
• Wireless home networks
o It’s a fast way to share an Internet connection among several computers
• Wireless college campuses
o 90% of public universities have deployed some sort of wireless network.
o Drexel University in Philadelphia - The first major university to be
completely wireless indoors and out with 300 access points in 2000 (Akin,
• By 2006, there will be 103,841 public hot spots, tech consultancy Gartner
o Internet Service Providers
In May of 2003, Verizon 150 Wi-Fi access points in Manhattan for
o Airports and Hotels
Get access through memberships with providers or at daily access
Baltimore BWI Airport and the Willard InterContinental offer
wireless Internet access at no charge. (Harris, 2003)
o RV Parks and Campgrounds
Of the seven million households with RVs, 16% access the
Internet. (Thomas, 2003).
o Coffee shops
Starbucks has 2600 stores with Wi-Fi for customers. (Hamilton,
o Conference Centers
QCenter – St. Charles business conference center with hot spots in
public areas for their clients to surf.
o Hospitals are using Wi-Fi to save time and be more accurate with patient
records. (Geier, 1999)
o Physicians value saving minutes as a quantifiable gain. (Rogoski, 2003)
• Featured Business Case: Delnor-Community Hospital - 2001
o Hospital Information: Not-for-profit, Mid-sized 118 beds
o Pre-Wi-Fi infrastructure: 164 four year old computers, combination of
Planars (wall-mounted terminals) using Windows 95 personal computers
connected with Cat 3 cable to hubs.
o Problems with current equipment:
Not HIPAA compliant
End of useful life at over four years old as they could not support
software updates because of operating system
Systems were old so repairs were frequent
Could not run needed application to read scanned documents
Could not run web browser needed for research
• Project objective: To replace the Planar Computer devices in the patient care areas
and departments with a solution that would meet the needs of the staff with
minimal disruption to the end user and patients.
o Limited budget
o Support privacy
o Limited room at nurse’s station
o Wired computers and replace wiring at an estimated cost of $600 per
o Mobile computers with a wireless solution
o COWS – computers on wheels
o Standards-based WLAN
o LEAP – Cisco’s solution to wired equivalent privacy
• Advantages of Solution
o Replaced 164 computers with 91 (60 on carts)
o Wired 30 access points instead of 164 computers
o Utilization of PCs increased as the computers are not in patient rooms
o Privacy enabled – computer could be positioned for private viewing
o Nurse’s stations gained valuable room as the computers were not placed at
o Main application (telnet) is encrypted over wireless, not over wired
o Delnor was named as one of the most wireless hospitals in Hospitals &
Health Networking Magazine in July of 2003.
o Limited bandwidth – wired offers speeds up to 1000 Mbs.
o Carts are expensive - $1000 – almost doubles cost of computers
o Haven’t really capitalized on WLAN two years later
No bar scanners
No physician access
Medical systems run on same frequency
Carts are bulky and storage space is scarce
• Business application conclusion
o Anywhere access to networked services has made people more productive
o Information is real time
o Increases accuracy of information
o Saved money – even with the cost of the cart the wireless project was less
than a wired solution.
Future of Wi-Fi
• Agree on Standards (Molta, 2003)
o 802.11a - 54-Mbps WLAN using OFDM signal in 5-GHz UNII bands.
Arguably the most significant enterprise WLAN standard thru
o 802.11b - 11-Mbps WLAN using CCK signal in the 2.4-GHz band.
The original Wi-Fi, it’s a cheap and ubiquitous legacy standard
suitable for many applications.
o 802.11g - 54-Mpbs WLAN using OFDM signal in the 2.4GHz band
Promises backward compatibility with 802.11b, but at the cost of
overall system performance.
o 802.11i – 802.11 MAC enhancements for security.
The foundation is there but deliberation on details is painstaking.
o 802.11e – 802.11 MAC enhancements for quality of service.
Critical to support for time-sensitive applications, including voice
o WPA - Wi-Fi Alliance’s Wi-Fi Protected Access interim security
Based on key components of 802.11i, an interim security solution.
o 802.1x - Port-based security standard used to support WLAN authenticate.
Stable, but uncertainty exists regarding standard authentication
types like TLS, LEAP, TTLS, PEAP.
o 802.11n - Enhancements for higher throughput.
Just forming, working to push channel data rates past 100 Mbps.
o LWAPP – Lightweight Access Point Protocol.
IETF foray into WLAN standards, may be significant in
standardizing communication between APs and switches.
• Security: Is a major concern being addressed by developers. Standard 802.11i
• VoWLAN: Voice over wireless LAN. Instead of creating new hardware devices,
VoWLAN puts the burden on the network and lets software do the work for
already-existing handsets. (Molta, 2003)
o Revenue Forecasts
o Comparison of Features
o Security – this is the number one hurdle for VoWLAN
o Voice Quality – The upcoming 802.11e standard will add QoS to Wi-Fi
o Roaming – Both within Wi-Fi networks and from WLANs to wide area
networks (WAN) is a key challenge.
• AirForce One by Broadcom is the first Wi-Fi solution to combine a 2.4 GHz
radio, power amplifier, 802.11b baseband processor, and medium-access
controller on a single CMOS chip that’s smaller than a postage stamp. (Quain,
o 70% less transmit power
o 80% less receive power
o 97% less standby power
o Low price of $12 per chip
• More ‘HotSpots’ planned by McDonald’s, SBC, Cometa Networks. (Schwartz,
• UPS tests Wi-Fi at 66 retail stores in the Chicago market. (Brewin, 2003)
• Growth and Use of Wi-Fi
o Wi-Fi spending on hardware and subscriptions is expected to reach $3.4
billion this year and is growing at the rate of 30%.
o Wi-Fi is an amplifier of other technologies. It turns nearly every machine,
from laptops to cash registers, into network devices.
o It fuels the demand for always-on broadband connections.
o This paves the way for the next generation of Internet services.
In this outline the following has been expressed:
• Explanation of Wi-Fi.
• Wi-Fi has a lot of advantages and some disadvantages with a large one being
• Wi-Fi is being used in many different applications.
• A glimpse of the future of Wi-Fi.
Although Wi-Fi is a popular and convenient method of access networked services, it has
some vulnerabilities. Understanding the technology and its weaknesses will help
implement and safeguard the use of it.
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