I say it often: any more, access points have become secondary players in the bigger Wi-Fi story. Sure, it’s fun to read about new APs- especially with Wave 2 fueling whopping performance claims- but what makes a WLAN system truly usable is all of the other stuff that vendors are adding to their WLAN solutions. APs either work well enough to keep a company in business, or they don’t. But the magic for Wi-Fi goes way past RF doings, as evidenced by Xirrus’ newly announced EasyPass.
EasyPass isn’t exactly revolutionary unto itself, but seeing Xirrus join others in the field doing similar means that wireless users are also getting the attention they deserve amidst the running hype of new hardware announcements. That’s a good thing- and Xirrus delivers it’s new onboarding solution without added appliances to manage.
As I reviewed the PR materials on EasyPass, I was struck by one notion in particular: with no need for certificates,etc, Xirrus’ new feature set has a similar feel to Aerohive’s Private PSK. I’m a huge fan, and wish every vendor offered this for guest WLAN. I did query Xirrus to make sure I was on target for EasyPass’ secure onboarding.
From Bruce Miller, Xirrus VP of product marketing (I run in those circles, you know):
Yes, security for EasyPass Onboarding is achieved through what we call a User PSK with every user assigned a unique PSK. The number of devices per user allowed can be controlled, e.g. 1, 2, 3, etc. This allows individual Wi-Fi security and control per user without captive portals and without the complexity of 802.1x/RADIUS, for example for BYOD users and headless devices. 802.1x security with a captive portal is supported as an option. EasyPass eliminates the agent / app downloads of other onboarding systems that add significant complexity to the process. We have seen that many organizations find their employees defaulting to use the non-secured guest network for access because of its relative simplicity.
Well done, Xirrus.