Wireless network provider Xirrus launched a new product called EasyPass Personal Wi-Fi this week (8 October 2015), which allows users to create their own personal and secure Wi-Fi network.
By accessing what becomes a private solution via the Xirrus cloud managed Wi-Fi network, users and their data are safeguarded when they access public Wi-Fi, guest networks and hotspot environments.
A recent Xirrus survey on Wi-Fi usage revealed that 76% of people know that public Wi-Fi is not secure, but 62% still use it regardless of security implications. EasyPass Personal Wi-Fi allows users to create a secure personal network via a simple, one-time process that authenticates all devices, ensuring the data across their platforms is safe inside the public network at all times.
Speaking to Wireless at the IP Expo Europe event in London, UK this week (7-8 October), Ian Bayly, VP, EMEA & Channel Strategy at Xirrus, explained that the development of the product was driven by the need to address three key market trends: how to cope with device proliferation; how to provide a faster experience with higher throughputs; and how to address security concerns when using public and guest Wi-Fi to reduce the risk of identity theft.
‘Those three trends have driven us to think about that on-boarding experience,’ he said. ‘When you get off an airplane in another country and you switch on your mobile phone, it all works. It knows who you are, it connects you automatically onto the network without the need to authenticate you, and you can do everything you’d normally do. The question for us was: how do we get Wi-Fi to do that? The answer is EasyPass Personal Wi-Fi.’
Bayly explained that the usual method of device on-boarding is for the device to connect to network and go through an authentication process. What EasyPass Personal Wi-Fi does is turn that concept on its head by enabling the network to on-board itself onto the device. The users create their own networks in other words.
‘The way it works is that you arrive at your hotel, for example, and go into your room. You go onto the EasyPass splash page and create your own secure EasyPass Personal Wi-Fi network. You create your own SSID, which you give a name, and enter a password. Once you hit create, it goes out over the Cloud and creates your own network on the access point in your room. The device connects automatically and you have a personal Wi-fi area around you for all your devices,’ said Bayly.
‘All your other devices will automatically connect to it too. So, once you’veestablished the network your tablet is connected and you can sync up your Netflix account with your Apple TV; your laptop syncs up its work and your smartphone is on the network.’
He continued: ‘What is important is that it is secure. You are using your password, your own personal SSID and we can set it up so that the SSID is not broadcast. If anyone walks past your hotel room they will not be able to detect your Wi-Fi. If your network is not visible then no one knows you are on it, so you can’t be hacked or have your data spoofed.’
Unlike a virtual private network (VPN), which encrypts end-to-end connections back to a corporate network and requires additional software, EasyPass Personal automatically encrypts the data on the Wi-Fi network. This means businesses can easily offer security on their public Wi-Fi networks without additional complexity.
Devices communicate within the secure personal network, the traffic is encrypted, users can connect devices very easily and no additional IT expertise is required to deploy and manage each user.
Besides hotels, other public Wi-Fi environments that can reap the benefits of short term secure Wi-Fi communications include restaurants, retail and event venues, as well as university dormitories, assisted care facilities and multi-tenant buildings which require longer-term use.
With EasyPass Personal, these establishments can now offer a much a greater level of Wi-Fi security, and at the same time it gives them the opportunity to offer new services, attract new business and create customer loyalty. Establishments like hotels could offer the EasyPass Personal Wi-Fi solution to their VIP guests, for example.
‘This is a unique service,’ said Bayly. ‘No one has done this before. Other Wi-Fi vendors will use Hotspot 2.0 or dynamic VLANs for on-boarding, but you’ve got to get the hotel provider to authenticate your device, which has to be Hotspot 2.0 compliant, so there are a lot of areas you can trip up on. The process is not that simple, while EasyPass is both simple and secure.’
Bayly added: ‘Regular guest on-boarding and personal Wi-Fi is the essence of our new product. It is unique and we are very excited about it, as we think it will tick a lot of boxes for people looking for a quick on-boarding solution and a secure Wi-Fi experience.’
Xirrus EasyPass Personal is included at no charge with all XMS Cloud deployments and is available for shipment today. To learn more about EasyPass Personal, visit www.xirrus.com/easypass-personal/