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Passpoint™ Wi-Fi and CMX Connect – Seamless and Secure

Throughout the next couple of months, I’ve decided to blog about the great technology Passpoint™ Wi-Fi and how CMX Connect can help. Since this is a series of blogs I’d like to focus this first installment primarily on what Passpoint Wi-Fi is. First thing to understand about Passpoint is that it is an industry standard that allows devices to connect to hotspots effortlessly and securely. Because of this, it’s a technology that businesses (and its customers) have long been waiting for.

The following charts depict top barriers for wider adoption, implementation and usage of Guest Wi-Fi. As you can see the seamless authentication is the top barrier.

Passpoint1

I’m personally excited about Passpoint because of the seamless authentication and security it provides. For example, today’s mobile banking apps have become so easy to use that desktop versions seem difficult to use in comparison. My bank’s app even allows me to take a photo of a check and directly deposit the funds to my account within a matter of seconds. However, I’m only comfortable with mobile banking when using my home or office Wi-Fi because I know they’re WPA2 encrypted. Accessing private financial information is definitely not something I’m comfortable with within a public venue, using an unknown Wi-Fi portal.

So while the idea of providing guests with Wi-Fi is a generous one, using it can actually put personal information and devices at risk. Guest Wi-Fi is almost always open and rarely secured at Layer 2 due to the fact that deployment and operation is difficult when username/password or certificates are required. Furthermore, if a business uses username/password to secure their guest Wi-Fi they’re left with the challenge of knowing how to smoothly create and distribute user credentials without losing the guests’ attention.

The process of accessing Guest Wi-Fi for me, and many out there, is less than appealing because of these security issues and the lengthy process they require before allowing access the Internet. To combat this, businesses need to provide guests with a no-hassle way to maintain and distribute credentials to the guests using Layer 2 secured Guest Wi-Fi. This is where Passpoint comes into play.

According to the Wi-Fi Alliance, “Wi-Fi CERTIFIED Passpoint will transform the way users connect to Wi-Fi hotspot networks by making the process of finding and getting access to the right network seamless…when you are in a Passpoint-enabled hotspot, you’ll discover a newly smooth connectivity experience.”

Once a network is Passpoint-enabled and the guest devices are provisioned with appropriate Wi-Fi profiles and credentials, devices can seamlessly and securely connect to Wi-Fi. CMX Connect can help provisioning Passpoint profiles on guest devices. Passpoint also eliminates the hassle of: 1) Searching for a Wi-Fi network. 2) Navigating through portal splash pages. 3) Using costly cellular network data. For cellular carriers, this also means Wi-Fi offloading of user data – a huge need for sports stadiums, concert venues, etc.

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The pros of Passpoint™ for both businesses and their guests are plenty. I hope that I’ve been able to accurately portray its value and the solutions it brings to a plethora of connectivity issues. Please stay tuned for my next blog on how Cisco CMX Connect helps with Passpoint™ Wi-Fi using Cisco Wireless LAN Controllers.

Learn more about the CMX Connect 7.6 with MSE Release 7.6 and Creating a New guest Wi-Fi experience with CMX Connect.

 

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4 Comments

  1. Looking forward to the nex article. I think the profile provisioning is the challenge here.

  2. Excellent article! A very futuristic technology!

  3. Why is Passpoint profile provisioning not part of ISE? Or will ISE also have this?

  4. That's Great story- thanks for bringing the future into reality.