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How to Keep Your Network Users Happy & Your Support Calls to a Minimum

So, you’ve made the jump to a shiny new Passpoint® or 802.1x EAP network and provided downloadable profiles to your users so that they can use this fine, secure network. The world is great, users are happy, and then reality sets in—a network change is required.

Network changes come in all shapes and sizes:

    • A certificate expires
    • The user changes a password on a related platform
    • You need to revoke user access
    • You need to extend access for a longer period
    • You simply want to change the friendly name shown in the network scan list
    • You want to add access to another secure network

Regardless of the change, the user is typically impacted. Any of the above changes ordinarily requires all affected users to visit a web service to download an updated profile. With the clock ticking and the user experience being tested, there is no way of telling how long that manual cycle will take or how many help desk calls will be made as users lose their connections. It’s definitely not the seamless experience that lead you to adopt Passpoint in the first place.

Another hurdle to overcome is related to the upcoming release of iOS 14 and the introduction of the new MAC Address Randomization setting called Use Private Address. This feature randomizes a device’s MAC address for any Wi-Fi network once every 24 hours, whether it’s connected or not. That means users will have to re-authenticate the same device with the same credentials repeatedly over the course of an extended usage period on a hotel or transportation (train, airline) network.

What can you do as a Wi-Fi provider to keep your users happy and your support calls to a minimum?

The solution: ConnectionAssist from Single Digits.

ConnectionAssist is a fully featured network configuration and policy management solution that enables service providers, network operators, and enterprises to manage network profiles from a centralized policy server. The resulting profiles are automatically pushed out to devices running applications that include the Single Digits ConnectionAssist Profile Manager SDK. The SDK reduces network onboarding friction for users and gives network operators and service providers in-life profile management and mitigation of MAC randomization by having a static user identifier in those network profiles with a minimum of effort.

And here is the best bit: If something changes, such as a certificate expires – which happened when the widely used AddTrust root certificate expired at the end of May 2020 – the certificate simply needs to be updated in the policy server, and the change will be pushed out to devices. Devices receive the update and can update any profiles already installed with the new information, allowing users continued access to the network(s). The result is fewer lost network sessions for users, fewer calls to the help desk, and increased user satisfaction.

The SDK periodically “calls home” to check if there are any changes it needs to implement, but any updates in the backend can also be configured to send a “silent” push notification which triggers the containing app to request a policy update. The frequency at which the SDK calls home is configurable, so if you know you have a change coming, you can increase the update frequency in the lead up to that change so that it’s rolled out as fast as possible once made. Of course, users can also manually trigger an update request.

Available for iOS 12+ and Android API 21+, the SDK can be added into any application to quickly and simply onboard users onto your network. Network credentials can be added by the containing application or be included in the response from the policy server, according to need.

Don’t let your network changes impact your users’ experience on the network. Consider implementing a profile solution that removes the friction for your end user while enabling you to make sure your shiny new network stays shiny.

Let us introduce you to ConnectionAssist!

By Charlie Allgrove
Product Developer/Architect, Single Digits

 


 

Manage Wi-Fi network configurations for users and devices with our ConnectionAssist platform, which includes our Profile Manager SDK (Software Development Kit), Mobile Applications, and a robust Management Portal for managing network policies.

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