connect1With the explosion of smart mobile devices, consumers expect to have Wi-Fi access at pubic venues everywhere they go. Venue owners are under pressure to provide reliable Wi-Fi guest access in a simple and easy way. Wouldn’t it be great to be able to do that AND extract some value out of your investment in setting up the Wi-Fi network as well? Cisco Connected Mobile Experience (CMX) is an industry leading solution provides just that: an easy, customizable and location-aware way to onboard guests using CMX Connect, an ability to gain insights into guest behaviors using CMX Location Analytics and an opportunity to engage guests in meaningful ways using CMX Browser Engage.

With MSE Release 7.6 coming out later this year, we wanted to give you a closer look at new feature CMX Connect. 

With CMX Connect, the guest or visitor in the venue can gain access to Wi-Fi by following an easy three step process.

  1. Guests register by filling required information and accept terms and conditions. If guests have already registered within a set duration, they do not need to register again and would go straight to the advertisement page (step 2).
  2. Guests watch an advertisement or an announcement predetermined by the venue owner. The splash page and the advertisement is context-based, as in you can customize what the guest sees per their location in the venue. For example, if they are in China, their splash pages could be in Chinese. Or if they are in the food court, the advertisement could be a food coupon–if they’re in the shoe department, they’d see a deal on sneakers..etc.
  3. Guests can choose to log in to social networks or go straight to browsing. The guest will either be redirected directly to their desired website, or to a default website set by the venue owners.

Since CMX Connect is built with mobile experience in mind, the splash pages are designed to provide best experience for guests whether they connect using their phones, tablets or laptops.


Figure: Sample Captive Portal pages configured with CMX Connect as experienced by guest accessing Wi-Fi

From the backend, administrators can configure the whole user experience easily using a template. Administrators can define registration fields (whether it is a text or a drop down list), set their own terms and conditions, upload background image, and set the header and footer. CMX Connect provides plugins to insert advertisements, promotions or announcements. Administrators can enable social connectors,  set the default redirect page, and set up multiple, location-based splash pages. All of this can be done in a central CMX Dashboard.

CMX Connect is a different guest access solution and separate from CMX for Facebook Wi-Fi. For CMX for Facebook Wi-Fi, Cisco has partnered with Facebook to provide a deeper integration with Facebook. Using CMX for Facebook Wi-Fi, guests could get Wi-Fi access by check-in on the location’s Facebook page. In other words, the landing page will be the Facebook page of that particular venue. In exchange, venue owners will be able to have insights about the demographics of their guests such as age, gender, countries, etc. on the Insight tab of the Facebook page.

CMX Connect requires Release 7.6 software with Cisco Mobility Services Engine (MSE), Wireless LAN Controller, Access Points to be deployed. The solution supports both Local mode and FlexConnect deployment scenarios. The following steps describe the process involved in setting CMX Connect up.

  • WLCs with Guest WLAN should be configured with Open Layer 2 security and Web Passthrough Layer 3 security.
  • Guest WLAN is configured for external web auth type with CMX Connect captive portal URL as the external server URL.
  • Cisco MSE is hosting the CMX Connect captive portal as part of the CMX Browser Engage Service. CMX Dashboard is the UI that allows admins to login to MSE and customize the captive portal.
  • Splash templates should be tied to different Points of Interest (location)


Figure: Sample WLAN Configuration on WLC for Connect Captive Portal

In summary, CMX Connect is an seamless, customizable, location aware guest captive portal that easily on-boards guests and provides them Internet connectivity. CMX Connect experience is hassle free for repeat users as they do not have to re-register for network access. It also allows venue owners to promote their brand or content by inserting banners or advertisements before granting guests access to the internet.

To learn more about Connected Mobile Experiences, visit www.cisco.com/go/cmx.