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Considerations for a small business WLAN, part 6: Additional software

Do wireless networks require additional software, or will they work with Windows?

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Read part 5: The cost of a wireless network

Most operating systems developed over the past two or more years have been designed to be very "wireless aware", meaning that they can easily be set up to work with wireless networks. Some may argue that software environments like Windows XP are a little too aware, since it is structured to sniff out the strongest Wi-Fi signal and lock onto it to allow access to the related wireless and wired networks. This can be a problem if you or your workers "accidentally associate" with an outside wireless AP and start channeling data or sending and receiving e-mail through that unauthorized AP. The problem becomes more severe if this outside AP is a "rogue access point" or "honey pot" that was deliberately set up to attract wireless signals and intentionally pen a wireless doorway into your sensitive data.

This was first published in March 2004

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