In the recent years the focus and interest for wireless networks has been increasing. However, it is the security mechanisms (or lack of so) that has caught most people's attention. This is mostly well-deserved criticism as the legacy WEP security mechanism is highly insecure. IEEE released a new standard, 802.11i, to counter the weaknesses. In this thesis I will discuss the characteristics of and problems related to WEP and 802.11i.
Another interesting subject in the world of wireless networks is MANETs. A MANET is a wireless self-configuring network of nodes without any fixed infrastructure. The nodes can move arbitrarily around and the routing is performed by the nodes themselves. Several routing protocols exist for use in MANETs and some of them offer the possibility of using gateway for external connectivity. An interesting approach is to enable differentiation in who can perform external communication. This can be done by using a 2-level approach which involves that nodes authenticated at level 1 are only allowed to communicate within the MANET. Nodes authenticated at level 2 are free to communicate outside the MANET. This thesis will look at the possibility of taking advantage of 802.11is' enhanced security mechanisms in MANETs with a 2-level authentication model. Challenges and security issues with this approach will be discussed.
Some basic wireless and security theory are provided as a foundation for further reading of this thesis. Nevertheless, the reader should be familiar with both wireless networks and information security.