Thursday, October 1, 2015

Challenges in the Unlicensed Wireless Spectrum...

It seems that many of the wireless manufactures are ever seeking ways to improve security on a medium that seems very easy to compromise. For the most part they have done a good job in doing so. However, depending on what vertical you are in, utilizing these tools can land you in some hot water!

An international hotel chain was recently fined from the FCC over blocking personal WiFi hotspots. The practices that were used to accomplish this outcome are very common among most enterprise based wireless deployments today. They exist mainly for a primary reason to keep unauthorized clients from associating to AP's they shouldn't. The problem shows up when that de-association practice is taken a step further by de-associating clients from their own hotspots. As you can imagine, it left the end user trying to access the Internet an undesirable choice, pay the hotel to use their Internet. That didn't fly too well in the eyes of the FCC. Since what we use every day is unlicensed spectrum, it should be shared by all.

Ultimately it should be the responsibility of the end user to use the equipment appropriately. IPS controls can be used to effectively maintain integrity of an enterprise wireless network. Making sure your wireless network has proper Rogue containment is always going to be good practice, along with a host of other tweaks based on your environment. Just make sure you're not the next one in line to write a fat check to the government!

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