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The field of wireless network systems has witnessed tremendous growth in recent years causing it to become one of the fastest growing segments of the telecommunications technology. As wireless networks evolve with increasing size and profitability, they will be able to integrate with other wireless technologies enabling them to support mobile computing applications and perform as efficient as wired networks. Due to the difficulties posed by the wireless transmission medium and the increasing demand for better and cheaper services, the area of wireless networks is also an extremely rich field for research and development. The fast growth of wireless systems in recent years, together with the exponential growth of the Internet is increasing the demand for wireless data services. Traffic on upcoming wireless systems is expected to be a mix of real-time traffic such as multimedia teleconferencing, real time voice, and data-traffic such as WWW browsing and file transfers, with users desiring diverse Quality of Service (QoS) guarantees for different types of traffic. Guaranteeing the QoS for these traffic types is considered a challenge and on-going research activity. This keynote will address the current trends in research and development in wireless networks and communications. Also, it will shed some light on the future and challenges facing the progress in this fascinating technology. We will review the fundamental techniques in the design, operation, and evaluation of wireless networks and systems. We will present some of our recent research results including new protocols for wireless networks. Among these, an adaptive MAC protocol for distributed wireless LANs that is capable of operating efficiently under bursty traffic conditions. According to the proposed protocol, the mobile station that is granted permission to transmit is selected by means of a neural-based algorithm. Another new protocol for dynamically setting 802.11 wireless LAN waveforms and transmission- power levels based on the wireless channel's signal to noise ratio will be introduced. Our method, known as Signal-to-Noise Ratio-Waveform Power Adaptation (SNR WPA), changes the power in discrete steps matched to each of the 802.11 data rate-waveform steps. By matching the power to the spreading symbol rate, our technique maximizes the network throughput while minimizing MAC layer contention. We present a new scheme to authenticate and authorize 802.11 wireless nodes within a network. This new layer of security relies on a neural network decision engine that restricts network access to mobile nodes whose physical location is within a threshold distance from the wireless access point or the controller of the network. This method gives an extra layer of security and allows enforcing policies by which network access is only allowed from a certain section of the network. We will also introduce a new security scheme that attempts to fix a flaw in the disassociation mechanism of the WPA protocol. Other related wireless research efforts by our group will be presented.