Open Authentication

The Open Authentication method allows authorization and associations with or without a WEP key. If the client does not use a WEP key, the client undergoes the normal association process with the access point. The user is then granted access to the network.

If a WEP key is used, both the client and the access point must have matching WEP keys. If the client uses a WEP key(s) that is different than the WEP key(s) of the access point, data traffic cannot be passed because the data is encrypted. Keep in mind that the header is not encrypted; only the payload (or data) is encrypted.

Using Open Authentication, the client goes through the normal association process, whether or not the client is using a WEP key. Once the client is associated, and data transmission begins, a client using a WEP key will encrypt the data. If the WEP key on the access point does not match, then the access point is unable to decrypt the data so it is impossible to send data via the WLAN.

Client sends an authentication request to AP (A). [ rf packet ]

Client sends an authentication request to AP (A). [ rf packet ]

AP (A) send authentication response containing the unencrypted "challenge" text. [ rf packet ]

Client encrypts the "challenge" text using one of it's WEP keys and sends it to AP (A). [ rf packet ]

AP (A) compares the encrypted "challenge" text with it's copy of the encrypted "challenge" text. If the text is the same AP (A) will allow the Client onto the WLAN. [ rf packet ]

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