In earlier chapters we alluded frequently to "the new security solutions." We talked a lot about the difficulty of implementing good security and explained how the existing Wi-Fi security solutions had fallen short of what was needed. In this chapter we introduced IEEE 802.11i RSN and Wi-Fi Protected Access (WPA). This new generation of security methods will take over from WEP and finally meet the needs of both high security and scalability for large systems.
Systems based on RSN and WPA need not be complicated to install if the vendor has delivered all the pieces correctly. However, many pieces are required, and a full explanation takes some time. In this book we devote Chapters 8 through 12 to describing all the pieces and the way in which they depend on each other. To ease the learning process, in this chapter we have described a layered approach to thinking about the various components and have provided a map to show how the numerous standards fit together in an implementation.
As with many complicated systems, when all the pieces are put together it is not hard to understand what is going on. The difficulty is that in the beginning you can be overwhelmed by the number of pieces. To ease you through this burden, in the following chapters we lead you through the core access control descriptions first, and then look at the higher layers that provide the authentication. Finally we return to the wireless level to look at key distribution and implementation of the actual Wi-Fi security protocols.