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ITEC 644 Wireless Networking and Systems Final-Exam


You must answer the following questions by yourself. I will not tolerate any form of cheating. Your answers must be typed. Submission must be done either in hard copy or electronic form. The deadline of submission is 12/11/2007.

  • 1. If a total of 33 MHz of bandwidth is allocated to a particular cellular telephone system which uses two 25 kHz simplex channels to provide full duplex voice and control channels, the number of channels available per cell if a systems uses (a) 4-cell reuse; (b) 7-cell reuse (c) 12-cell reuse.

    • (a) 4-cell reuse would have 165 channels per cell

    • (b) 7-cell reuse would have 94 channels per cell

    • (c) 12-cell reuse would have 55 channels per cell

  • 2. What is meant by the TDMA and FDMA? Show that the North American digital cellular system (D-AMPS) actually uses both TDMA and FDMA.

TDMA is an acronym for Time Division Multiple Access. This is a cellular delivery technology that uses time-division multiplexing (TDM). TDM divides time into frames and each frame lasting 40 ms that is divided into slots of 324 bits east. Each user is then assigned to a slot in the frame. TDMA operates with an upstream frequency of 1850.01 MHz and a downstream frequency of 1930.05 MHz.

FDMA is an acronym for Frequency Division Multiple Access. This is a cellular delivery technology that divides the available spectrum into channels. Each user is then assigned to specific channel. In most cases TDMA is used on top of FDMA. Each frequency channel of FDMA is further split using TDMA to further increase access availability.

The North American digital cellular system or D-AMPS uses FDMA by operating a different frequency in each cell of a cluster. These frequencies are then further sub- divided by using TDMA to get three channels for each AMPS channel used.


Describe GSM system architecture and explain how it supports mobility.

GSM or Global System for Mobile communications is a 2 nd generation digital mobile telephone system. GSM uses a modified version of TDMA and digitizes and compresses the data. It is then sent out a channel with two other data streams each in its own channel. GSM operates in four frequency bands: 850 MHz, 900 MHz, 1800 MHz, and 1900 MHz. GSM uses 124 200 KHz channels with each channel supporting 8 users. The frequency used operates in a frequency hopping system with a slow hopping algorithm occurring up to rate of 217 times per second. GSM supports mobility through ubiquitous use following a standard set of protocols. The implementation of SIM cards and the general communication architecture used by GSM make tracking of available users very efficient using the Home Location Registry communicating with the Visitor Location Registry. There are three primary components comprising the GSM systems: the mobile station (MS), the base station subsystem (BSS), and the network and switching subsystem (NSS). GSM uses the SS7 or Signaling System 7 infrastructure base.

  • 4. Suppose that A, B, and C are simultaneously transmitting 0 bits, using a CDMA system with the chip sequence

3. Describe GSM system architecture and explain how it supports mobility. GSM or Global System for

What is the resulting chip sequence?

A+B+C = 000 =>

S = (3, 1, 1, -1, -3, -1, -1, 1)

  • 5. Explain the difference between frequency-hopping and direct-sequence spread-spectrum systems. Which of these is used with the CDMAone personal communication system?

Frequency-hopping spread spectrum systems use a frequency generator that is used to change the frequency many times a second following a pseudo-random pattern. This is known as a pseudo-random noise pattern. Each user has a unique hoping pattern and regularly hops over the available frequency spectrum. This modulation scheme is the simpler of these two.

Direct-sequence spread-spectrum systems use a process where the data is spread across the available frequency after being combined with pseudo-random noise. The transmitter and receiver must be synchronized to ensure the noise factors are understandable on both ends.

CDMAone personal communication systems use Direct-sequence spread-spectrum modulation.


Explain what is meant by a soft handoff. What advantages does it have?

Handoff is the process of passing a communication session from one wireless access point to another either for cellular or mobile data sessions. Soft handoff is the process of moving the user session from one access point or cellular tower to another without interruption to service. This occurs by making a connection to the new tower before releasing the connection to the old tower. During the handoff process some of the communication is sent to both towers simultaneously. The primary advantage of a soft handoff is that the user does not have any loss of connectivity which substantially lowers the risk of dropping the call completely during the handoff process.

  • 7. What are the advantages and disadvantages of satellites in low earth orbit, compared with geostationary satellites, for mobile communication system?

Satellites in low earth orbit (LEO) compared to geostationary (GEO) satellites have a lower lag time. The round trip distance is much shorter thus the transmission time is less. The primary problem of LEO satellites is the high cost associated with implementing a tracking system. Since LEO satellites are not stationary as GEO satellites are they must be tracked as the Earth moves. LEO satellites also provide a much smaller coverage area and more LEO satellites are required to cover the same amount of space as one GEO satellite.

  • 8. Explain the difference between FDM-FM and SCPC telephony via satellite. Suggest suitable applications for each.

FDM-FM is a satellite telephone transmission scheme based on FDMA. FDM-FM stands for Frequency Division Multiplexing – Frequency Modulation and allows multiple voice channels to be modulated on a single carrier channel. SCPC stands for Single Channel Per Carrier and allows a single voice channel to be sent on a single carrier channel.

  • 9. Why do GEO satellites orbit the earth at the same distance and above the equator?

GEO satellites orbit the earth at the same distance and above the equator because they are placed in a circular prograde orbit that has an orbital period equal to that of the earth. This equality makes the satellite appear to be stationary in the sky. Such a satellite must also by definition be aligned in the equatorial place otherwise the satellite is considered to be a geosynchronous but not geostationary satellite.

10. Explain the role of an Access Point (AP) in an infrastructure WLAN.

The primary role of an access point in an infrastructure WLAN is to provide a gateway from wireless users onto the wired LAN. The AP has both a wireless and a wired interface allowing network access to mobile users.

11. Access points (APs) are typically used to connect

a wireless LAN to

a wired LAN

infrastructure. The 802.11 protocol used to communicate between a wireless node and an AP uses Request-to-Send (RTS) and Clear-to-Send (CTS) frames as well as acknowledgments of frames. Why does the 802.11 protocol use these frames when the 802.3 (Ethernet) protocol does not?

There are two known problems that these frames assist in resolving. Because wireless LANs use a shared medium there has to be some mechanism to provide access to that medium without encountering an access conflict. The RTS and CTS frames provide this functionality on wireless LANs while wired LANs have other access methods available. However, with wireless LANs the first problem that requires an alternate access method is known as the Hidden terminal problem. This occurs when two stations (A and C) try to communicate simultaneously with a third station (B). A and C can not hear transmissions from each other but they both can hear transmissions from B. When A and C transmit at the same time a collision occurs at B and the transmission is lost. The second known problem is that of the Exposed Terminal. This is a similar issue to Hidden Terminal except in this instance station B wishes to transmit A while C wishes to transmit to D. B sends a transmission to A and C can hear the transmission from B and does not send a transmission to D even though a collision would only occur in the space between B and C if C transmitted to D.

Using RTS and CTS eliminates both problems. The station wishing to transmit sends an RTS frame that includes information about the receiving station and the length of time required to transmit. Any other station within range hears the RTS and knows the medium is going to be in use for the time specified. The receiving station receives the RTS and when ready to receive the transmission sends a CTS frame that also includes the transmission time. In this case any station with the receiving stations area then knows the medium will be in use for the specified time. In this way all stations that overlap with either the sender or the receiver will not transmit until the specified time has passed allow the transmission to complete without error.

12. When might you prefer to deploy 802.11a over 802.11b? Why? Where does 802.11g fit in between these two technologies? How does 802.11g obtain better performance than


802.11a uses the 5GHz frequency range while 802.11b and 802.11g both use the 2.4GHz range. You may want to use 802.11a if the coverage area is already saturated with 2.4GHz activity. This is only possible if the obstructions in the coverage area are minimal as the 5GHz range does not penetrate as well as the 2.4GHz range

802.11a has a maximum bandwidth of 108 Mbps when running in turbo mode but is normally only 54 Mbps. It uses Orthogonal Frequency Division Multiplexing (OFDM) modulation which provides for the higher bandwidths than found in


802.11b has a maximum bandwidth of 11 Mbps while operating in the 2.4GHz frequency. This standard uses Direct Sequence Spread Spectrum (DSSS) modulation and while the data rate is not as high as 802.11a this standard provides better range and obstruction penetration widening the coverage area.

802.11g then falls in between 802.11a and 802.11b using the best features of both. 802.11g operates in the 2.4GHz frequency providing a larger coverage area with better obstruction penetration as does 802.11b. It also uses the OFDM modulation technique 802.11a to increase the bandwidth to 108 Mbps in turbo mode with the standard rate of 54 Mbps. 802.11g has much better overall performance than 802.11b because it uses OFDM.

13. Describe the difference between Piconets and Scatternets in Bluetooth.

A Piconet is an ad-hoc network consisting of at least two and a maximum of eight active Bluetooth devices. One device acts as the master device and the others act as slaves. There can also be an additional 255 devices on the network that are in a parked or inactive state. The maximum distance of a piconet is around 10M.

In contrast a Scatternet is an ad-hoc network consisting of multiple Piconets. This arrangement is achieved by having the master device in one network take on the additional role of slave to the master device of another network thus extending the overall network. This internetworking of Piconets allows more than eight active devices on the network which can also extend the network beyond the maximum Piconet distance of 10M.

14. Explain the difference between ad hoc network and mesh network. What kinds of application are ad hoc mainly used for?

Ad Hoc networks are multihop networks where most nodes are wireless and

connections and routes are extremely dynamic as the network builds and changes. Most ad-hoc network traffic is peer-to-peer. Mesh networks on the other hand are also multihop networks where there is a mixture of wireless, mobile, and fixed nodes. Mesh networks connections and routes are not as dynamic as ad-hoc networks and the primary traffic is from user-to-gateway.

Ad-hoc networks are primarily used for temporary extensions to an infrastructure network where cabling requirements are prohibited due to time and resource constraints. Extending a wireless network through an ad-hoc extension to accommodate a conference meeting is a perfect application use for ad-hoc networks. During the conference wireless coverage is made available and when the conference is over the ad-hoc network is no longer needed,

  • 15. Define and describe RFID, WiMax, WAP

RFID is an acronym for Radio Frequency Identification. This technology is currently primarily used to track inventory. A small RF transceiver and microchip of either a passive or active design is placed on a particular inventory item. As that item comes in close enough range to an RFID scanner the information on the microchip is read through RF transmission to assist in tracking the movement and location of the inventory item. Current costs associated with RFID make it a very short range technology.

WiMax is an acronym for Worldwide Interoperability for Microwave Access wireless mesh technology that can provide access over distances of 3000 square miles. The technology operates on the 2GHz, 11GHz, and 66GHz frequencies depending on the application need and line of sight availability. This is based on the 802.16 standard is primarily used for last mile access through a mesh topology.

WAP is an acronym for Wireless Application Protocol. WAP is used to provide wireless devices access to Internet sites. Because many web pages include high bandwidth items such as audio and video the page can not be viewed on a cell phone due to lack of physical resources in the phone. WAP is a protocol that is used to encode HTTP data as WML or Wireless Markup Language which is a light weight programming language. The WML data can then be seen on a WAP compliant browser allowing low resource availability phones access to web content.

  • 16. What are some of the attacks in wireless networks, what are some of the defenses against these attacks?

Malicious Association occurs when the victim’s station is tricked into associating

with the hacker’s access point. Jamming occurs when an attacker uses a hardware device to overpower a wireless signal. Man-in-the-middle attacks occur when an attacker tricks the victim into believing he is the access point and tricks the access point into believing he is the station. Mac spoofing occurs when an attacker substitutes their actual MAC address with a stolen MAC address to gain unauthorized access to a wireless network.

Some defenses against these attacks include the use of personal firewalls on client PC’s. This should be followed by the use of mutual authentication protocols. Such protocols ensure that the client machine and the access point are who they say they are. Encryption should be put in place to make sure that the wireless traffic is not easily readable from a hacker in the near vicinity. WPA is the encryption protocol of choice. Additional measures that can be taken include reviewing security logs, keeping equipment software updated to prevent attacks on known flaws, do not use default user names and passwords on wireless equipment, and disabling the SSID so the network is not as visible.

  • 17. Define and describe SSID, WEP, WPA

SSID is an acronym for Service Set Identifier and is primarily the name of a wireless LAN. WEP is an acronym for Wired Equivalent Privacy. This is the initial attempt at security of wireless LANS and is based on the RC4 symmetric stream cipher. WEP uses a static 40 or 104 bit key for authentication and encryption. This key then had another 24 bits added to it which was called the IV or Initialization Vector. The IV was sent in the clear which made WEP very unsecure. WPA is an acronym for Wi-Fi Protected Access and is the successor to WEP. WPA is more secure than WEP because it increases the key sizes as well as changes the way the key information is sent over the network. WPA comes in a personal version and an enterprise version. The enterprise version works with TKIP or Temporal Key Integrity Protocol to periodically change the keys used for encryption the wireless traffic. WPA can also be used with a pre-shared key. Another feature of WPA is that it is built to be integrated with the 802.1x standard to also improve authentication as well as encryption.

  • 18. Give three reasons why voting in public elections over the Internet is not a good idea from the point of view of security.

Voting in public elections over the Internet is not a good idea from a security

viewpoint because of the many possible points of attack that are available. To begin with most people who use computers know very little about how they operate or how the Internet works. Considering this they are very likely to have a personal computer that is ‘infected’ with some type of malicious software without them knowing about it. The malicious software could easily be used to change the selections they make during an Internet voting session without the user’s knowledge. Secondly, we are always hearing about denial of service attacks occurring. Such an attack could occur and prevent a voter’s submission from reaching its destination and again the user may not be aware of the denial of service situation. Finally, the protocols used on the Internet are not sufficiently reliable to guarantee transmission across the Internet to the correct destination. For instance, Domain Name Service protocols are vulnerable to many types of attacks which can easily have Internet Voting traffic directed to a server that has been set up by a malicious hacker. The user sent their vote but they did not know that they did not truly vote in the election. These are three reasons why Internet voting should be avoided when considering security.

19. Search the Internet for an interesting case involving privacy and write a 1 page report.

Radio Frequency Identification or RFID has garnered a good bit of attention in recent months because of the security and privacy issues that it raises. Many people have serious concerns that the use of RFID technology will lead to an omnipresent police

state where everyone and everything is constantly tracked by the government. However, not everyone’s viewpoint is as severe as this. Most people believe that RFID technology will be used for marketing purposes as discussed in (Junkbuster, 2005). (Junkbuster, 2005) discusses how implementing RFID technology into clothing and cars will lead to a huge marketing industry specializing in gathering, tracking, and selling information about consumers. While the technology itself would make such tracking quite difficult at this time there is the possibility that the technology could advance to provide this type of system for retailers. It is surmised that they could place a very inexpensive reader at the doors as well as their checkout counters. They would then be able to pinpoint the unique RFID tag of each individual to movement patterns through the store as well as payment information such as cash, check, or credit cards. One retailer doing this may not be that harmful as the information would be limited to their store but there is concern that the retailer could then sell their database of RFID tracked individuals to other’s (Junkbuster, 2005) thus providing additional information to be cross referenced. After a couple of times of such interchanges a retailer would have a very good profile of the consumer’s purchasing habits as well as their traveling patterns. This is where many people consider RFID to be a technology empowering invasion of privacy. (Junkbuster, 2005) then proposes that this leads to another problem. With such a vast reservoir of consumer information the government would have little trouble gaining access. Would the government then be able to know what consumer’s had purchased and could taxation be tied to those purchases. The final outcome is not one the most consumers would desire.

Consumers need to be made aware of what RFID is and what it is capable of. The technology has great potential but currently would not be reliable enough with consumer detection to scan and read RFID tags on personal items. Because of the close proximity requirements of the technology anyone trying to gather personal information would easily be noticed by the person being tracked. When entering stores reading devices could be placed at the doors but depending on the size of the doors it is likely that multiple devices would be required and when combined with the infrastructure requirements to support the readers such tracking becomes infeasible due to resource constraints. RFID is a positive technology but should not concern consumers at this time with invasion of privacy.

Junkbuster, 2005.

RFID and Privacy.

Retrieved on December 7, 2007 from

20. Bonus: Why won’t a North American GSM phone work in Europe and how would a North American GSM user obtain service on a trip to Europe?