wep vs. wap vs. 802.1x !

Posted on Nov 11, 2004

There’s some horrible confusion going on over at Wi-Fi Networking News, where the attempt to expose silliness in a USA Today article is producing yet more silliness.

As Glenn says:

802.1x isn’t better than WEP.

because, as he observes, they aren’t the same kind of thing. 802.1x is about authenticated port access. It is used to determine whether or not the switch or access point that your using should accept your traffic. 802.1x typically uses a username/password challenge scheme for authentication. WEP is all about encrypting the data that flows over your link to an access point. It makes complete sense to use both WEP (or WPA) and 802.1x at the same time.

That said, there still seem to be oddities in Glenn’s posting. For example:

802.1x is encrypted only to the access point.

It’s possible to find an interpretation of this that makes literal sense, but it’s not a particularly useful assertion. 802.1x traffic generally only flows between your device and the access point - beyond that it’s usually some form of AAA protocol in use (mostly commonly radius).

Update: Glenn updated the article.