Hotspots need VLAN
Wireless security is a big issue! There is a widely held misconception that encrypting your data using a VPN (Virtual Private Network) or by using Wireless Encryptions keys will protect your PC from attack while using a public HotSpot.
The fact is that VPN only protects the data while it is being sent from one place to another. The PC itself has all it’s “file shares” and “ports” exposed to other users on the network. This means that a casual hacker could try to gain access to your PC.
This can be as easy as browsing your “Network Neighbourhood”. You can then see all the other clients attached to the HotSpot network.
Some vendors say that it is up to the customer to protect themselves, but suppliers can do better than this by providing VLAN (or Virtual LAN) Wireless access points which create a private network for every client joining a HotSpot network.
In a similar manner, the use of Encryption keys can restrict who uses the network, but once authenticated the clients can still see each other. These keys have the added complication of adding complexity to the system and making it unfriendly to customers. Plus, once the key is given out to a customer it is no longer private so the point of the key is negated anyway.
The only way to secure a HotSpot network is with VLAN …
.. and Hospitality Internet provide it with every installation*.
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*VLAN will protect the shared services on a device. Wireless users should still use VPN and SSL encryption for the sending of data over public wireless networks.