The question here is between 802.1x authentication and web-based, captive portal authentication. The former has high client requirements, the later seems too simple. Rob Flickenger’s Wireless Hacks has fired me up for captive portals. An excerpt, Dispelling the Myth of Wireless Security, makes clear the need for application layer security, an argument I’d say applies to wired and wireless network alike.
Point: wireless is exposing holes that have existed in our network security all along, but patching those holes will secure everything, including wireless without spending loads of money on expensive APs and proprietary clients.
The book, however, is about a lot more than that. Along the way, it shows us how to build community networks, custom APs, super long-range antennae, and much more. Want to build a wireless link from your friend’s house (which has DSL or cable modem) to yours (where cable won’t reach)? Wireless Hacks will show you.