How Wi-Fi 6 Can Help Businesses Protect Hotspots for Users

eWEEK DATA POINTS: Wi-Fi certified WPA3 technology–available with Wi-Fi 6–offers big networking improvements, enabling businesses to increase guest satisfaction and more proactively keep hackers out of user connections.


Wi-Fi has become a ubiquitous and crucial piece of how business gets done across the world, providing fast and easy wireless connections in airports, hotel lobbies and on all types of campuses and educational settings. But fast and simple hasn’t always meant safe, and too many organizations have offered publicly available hotspots that are fully open and highly insecure.

Ignoring significant threats is no longer acceptable. Offering wireless connections without security leaves valued customers and visitors vulnerable to all kinds of threats to their identity, privacy and even their bank accounts. While using a device VPN is an option and logging onto it is useful for accessing company resources remotely, let’s face it, how many people actually do that unless forced to do so?

The fact is that wireless LAN technology has now evolved to a point where fast, simple and secure become hallmarks of a guest network. Wi-Fi certified WPA3 technology–available with Wi-Fi 6–offers big improvements, enabling these businesses to increase guest satisfaction and more proactively keep hackers out of user connections. 

By the way, the coronavirus pandemic not withstanding, handshakes in Wi-Fi are still allowed (a little networking humor there!).

Dave Chen, a security expert at HPE's Aruba Networks, offers some valuable insight in this Data Points article, focusing on five ways that Wi-Fi 6 brings an optimized experience for customers on their mobile devices or laptops.

Data Point No. 1: Automatic Cellular Roaming on Wi-Fi Hotspots

Wi-Fi 6 technology enables integration with cellular networks to simplify roaming on open networks. By using SIM card credentials supplied by a network operator, Wi-Fi networks allow users to make calls and text just as they would on a cellular network. 

Data Point No. 2: Increased Security on Open Public Networks

Wi-Fi Enhanced Open is a feature that allows wireless communications of open networks — even those lacking a password — to be uniquely encrypted between the access point and individual clients. It is based on Opportunistic Wireless Encryption (OWE). 

Data Point No. 3: New WPA3 Features

WPA3 now includes 256-bit encryption in WPA3-Personal mode and is more individualized. Users on a WPA3-Personal network can’t ever snoop on another’s WPA3-Personal traffic.

Data Point No. 4: More Secure Handshake

This is due to a strengthened protocol called Simultaneous Authentication of Equals (SAE), aka the DragonFly Key Exchange. This represents another layer of security available within Wi-Fi 6 that further decreases the chances of a hack. 

Data Point No. 5: Improved System for Adding Wi-Fi Devices

WPA3 features a new system for Internet of Things (IoT) devices. WPA3 enables you to add IoT devices using a QR code and also features enhanced security for smart home devices, such as wireless IP cameras and other IoT devices that may have weak built-in security protocols.

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