What is a wireless LAN?
A collection of two or more devices connected via an open-air medium in order to share data.
Types of Wireless LAN
Ad Hoc Network: A wireless network composed only of stations without access points1." This type of network can be used anywhere. There are very few requirements for this to work. This could potentially be the most dangerous of all wireless networks. Since this type of network is going to be setup on the fly when two people want to share data it is more probable that less consideration is going to be placed on security.
Access Point: A wireless LAN transceiver that acts as a center point and bridges between wireless and wired networks1." A wireless network that is installed with access points should be fairly secure in today's networking environments with a few considerations. In the future one of the most common types of wireless LANs will be a LAN deployed inside of a building for the use of laptop computers, hand held devices and other mobile network connected equipment.
Both ad hock networks and networks centered around access points may use the IEEE 802.11b standard. "802.11b: The IEEE standard that specifies a carrier sense media access control and physical layer specifications for 5.5 and 11 megabit per second wireless LANs1." The 2.4 Gigahertz frequency range is typically used3. Typical speeds of 11 Megabits can be achieved depending on the distance from the access point and the type of area the network is being used. Information provided by vendors typically indicate 400 feet in an open air environment and 100 feet in a typical office environment for 11 Megabit traffic. The speed can drop to 5.5 Megabit or even lower depending on many factors.
Security in today's wireless environment
When using a...