This book is written principally for system administrators but will also be useful to technically oriented home users and design engineers. It focuses on why the new Wi-Fi security methods are secure and how they work. You will finish with an understanding of Wi-Fi security so you will know what you are doing, and why. The book does not flood you with pages of installation and configuration instructions for specific vendor equipment, as that information changes frequently and becomes obsolete. You should use this book alongside vendor documentation to create customized security solutions.

System administrators have been badly burned in the past by assurances that Wi-Fi LANs had effective built in security, assurances that did not hold true over time. We feel that administrators will not want to take at face value statements like "the new WPA and IEEE 802.11i methods are completely secure." They should be able to see for themselves how the security methods are implemented and understand for themselves why the types of weakness that existed previously have been overcome. Only when this trust is reestablished can administrators continue deployment in comfort. This book attempts to provide all the information needed for this understanding.

If you are a design engineer in any networking field, wireless or otherwise, you will find this book relevant. The security technologies incorporated into WPA and IEEE 802.11i are the state of the art for data networking, and it is much easier to learn and understand technology when it is described in the context of a real system. It seems likely that some of the techniques incorporated into the wireless LAN area will also be applied to wired LANs in the future.

If you are just generally interested in the area, you will find lots of material describing the approach to security that is needed to provide a robust defense. You may choose to skip some of the chapters that describe the protocol and you will probably be surprised to see the real examples of hacking tools presented in the later chapters.

We assume that you have a reasonable understanding of how computer networks operate. You don't need to be an expert, especially to understand the first part of the book, but we presume you know what a Wi-Fi access point does and how it is connected to the rest of the network. We don't explain terms like Ethernet or TCP/IP in detail. There is a primer on IEEE 802.11 if you are not familiar with the protocol used to communicate over the air.

    Part II: The Design of Wi-Fi Security