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Network Security – how should an open wireless access point be run beside a safe network?

So, let’s say we want to have an open wireless access point for some reason. (Maybe offering it to guests if you’re a business?) There are certainly a lot of BAD ways to give open wireless access. As we’ve seen in this series so far, it could be quite easy to hijack all connections in a network using arp spoofing. If you run business machines on a network you do NOT by any means want an open access point on the same subnet. Here are some possibilities though…..


Let’s say we’ve got a dsl modem/router that gives out addresses in the 192.168.1 range of addresses. Further, let’s say we’ve got a firewall/router setup providing a “safe network with a 192.168.0. range of addresses. So, what are our options?

Access point plugged into 192.168.0. range…. bad idea, the clients could hijack network traffic using arp poisoning.

Wireless router plugged into 192.168.0. range (with clients in the 192.168.2 range) Interesting thought. ARP poisoning would not be possible, but it would be possible for 192.168.2 clients to scan and access tcp services in the 192.168.0. range (which is upstream.) the router would basically prevent tcp access INTO the wireless address subnet, but would not prevent “browsers” working their way out.

So, we could plug and access point into the main dsl/router and give wireless clients a 192.168.1…. address? The only problem with this is that traffic from the firewall to the dsl router could be hijacked using arp spoofing by any of the wireless clients.

So, here the best option seems to be this…. wireless ROUTER plugged into 192.168.1 dsl/router which means the wireless clients can be assigned addresses within their subnet (192.168.2 for instance.) So, the best setup for a side by side safe and “wide open” network seems to be a “Y” configuration…

Safe Net and Unsafe Net are peers with different “internal” subnets. (So they’re each behind a router/firewall)

And the router to the world is upstream for both the safe and the unsafe routers.

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Posted by on January 30, 2006.

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Categories: Computers, Networking, Security

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