Security on wireless communication

Security is an important consideration in any communications system design but is particularly so in wireless communication systems. The fact that connections can be established in a untethered fashion makes it easier to intrude in an inconspicuous and undetectable manner than is the case for wired access. Further, the shared wireless medium is often perceived by the general public to be somewhat less secure than its wired counterpart. Therefore, a robust level of security must be built into the design of broadband wireless systems.

From the perspective of an end user, the primary security concerns are privacy and data integrity. Users need assurance that no one can eavesdrop on their sessions and that the data sent across the communication link is not tampered with. This is usually achieved through the use of encryption.

From the service provider’s perspective, an important security consideration is preventing unauthorized use of the network services. This is usually done using strong authentication and access control methods. Authentication and access control can be implemented at various levels of the network: the physical layer, the network layer, and the service layer. The service provider’s need to prevent fraud should be balanced against the inconvenience that it may impose on the user. Besides privacy and fraud, other security concerns include denial-of-service attacks in which malignant users attempt to degrade network performance, session hijacking, and virus insertion.