A Better Way To Do Guest Wireless

Don’t you hate it every place you go you have to connect to a Guest network, then in most cases either give away your soul in providing personal information and risk being spammed by that company. Surely there is a better way to do guest wireless, a way that perhaps doesn’t even require me to actually do anything at all, I walk into the building and BLAM i’m connected automagically.

So firstly, let’s understand the typical mobile device and how it connects throughout a day.

A day in the life.png

You start off at home on your WIFI, then when you leave the house you use LTE, in the office WiFi and then other places you might visit its either LTE unless you manually connect to the venues WiFI and maybe give them your soul completing the captive portal.

So what does LTE really have to do with captive portals i hear you asking? Well the main reason why captive portals will hopefully be going away soon. I still don’t get it I can hear. Well this all comes down to 5G you know that technology that was going to kill off WiFi networks, well it turns out its the WiFi networks that are going to make it work. All we have to do is look at how bad the 3/4G signal penetration is into buildings, I for one need to either use WiFi Calling or go outside to make calls. 5G is going to be worse, the “Core” of the 5G spectrum is in the 2.5GHz and 3.5-4GHz bands. Those in the wireless field already know a bit about these spectrums and how they attenuate within buildings – how is that going to work when the tower is outside my house, I doubt it will be directly outside my house probably 1-10km away.

So how do we fix this issue of cellar not being good indoors and why do we care? Well we care because people want the phone to ring, text messages to come through for some reason, sure there are other solutions not using the WiFi but they are expensive, have vendor lock-ins and make you roof look like antenna city, without taking into consideration will this other solutions interfere with my corporate WiFi.

So  at Mobility Field Day 4 we saw presentations from both Aruba and Cisco around how they are planning to use the existing wireless networks to fill this cellar coverage gap but to do that first they need to make getting onto the wireless seamless and automatic without you needing manually join the network.

So before you all go but if all these transit guests users just automatically connect to my network, wont my back-hall to the internet die? Well Aruba has done some real world analysis and it turns out that whilst the number of users on this SSID (in their case Aruba Passpoint) the network traffic was very low

Unique Devices.png


So how are they doing it?  We Aruba are looking to Passpoint and having the carriers push the profile to the devices. This worked quite well at MFD4 when it was live tested with a couple of the delegates. This solution is really nice, I look forward to seeing if they extend the authentications out to other provides like Apple and Google so we are not reliant on service providers.

Watch the presentation from Chuck here:

Cisco are taking a slightly different approach and building on Passpoint in what they are calling “Open Roaming” which they hope will become a standard soon. This takes the approach of allowing anyone to be the authenticator in the first live tests done at CLUS last year they partnered with Samsung to do this.

I have previously written about Open Roaming here

Watch the presentation from Matt here:

I really like both approaches especially if am going to be able to automagically connect when ever I walk into an airport, event or potentially even office spaces




2 thoughts on “A Better Way To Do Guest Wireless

  1. Pingback: A Better Way to Do Guest Wireless - Tech Field Day

  2. Pingback: Captivating Wireless Connectivity with Cisco OpenRoaming - Gestalt IT

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