A New Authenticator
This thesis is part of a larger project on non-binary alternatives to authentication; in contrast to the binary authentication used in IEEE 802.1X and IEEE 802.11i. This thesis project seeks to define, implement, and evaluate a non-binary wireless access authentication mechanism. It introduces a new authenticator that implements such a new non-binary authentication mechanism.
In today’s wireless local area networks it is generally not possible to continue a multimedia roaming session smoothly, because of the long delay caused by authentication – during which no traffic other than authentication traffic is permitted. In the best cases this high delay results in a long communication interruption interval without media, while in the worst cases the session is aborted by the higher layer application as the application believes that the connectivity is lost. Thus introducing a more appropriate authentication mechanism enables mobile users who move into a new wireless local area network cell to continue to send and receive packets with greatly reduced handover latency (in comparison to existing authentication mechanisms). This new authentication mechanism potentially enables seamless roaming for users of conversational multimedia services (for example, a voice over IP call could continue despite a movement from one cell to another).
This thesis demonstrates that it is possible to allow unauthenticated users to immediately begin to communicate, while simultaneously limiting their traffic. These limitations in traffic are implemented by traffic shaping. Additionally, using traffic shaping also offers a number of new possibilities – such as offering different qualities of service, allowing negotiation for different maximum bandwidths, etc.
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