Controlling SSID proliferation for better Wi-Fi performance

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Why Wi-Fi network proliferation leads global organizations to reduce the number of SSIDs 

Because of the growing demand for connectivity and the need for more bandwidth, overseeing the Wi-Fi spectrum is critical. The proliferation of Wi-Fi networks, or SSIDs, is causing performance deterioration, ranging, in severe instances, to approximately 40% bandwidth loss in 2.4GHz networks*. Concurrently, improved security requires individualized user profiles and usage history for compliance management.

SSID stands for Service Set IDentifier. It’s a wireless network name. In a corporate environment, multiple SSIDs typically mean different network access levels and differentiated authentication types. This is useful for segmenting user classes. It’s considered a must within  the scope of layer two  local area networks. 

Cloudi-Fi identity platform
Non unified SSID - Managment challenges

The network experiences a rise in both the quantity and diversity of users. As connected devices become globally prevalent, BYOD (bring your own device) strategies gain widespread acceptance, and electronic handheld devices proliferate among all employees, the need for heightened segmentation and differentiation of user profiles becomes imperative in managing their connectivity and security. The multiplication of SSIDs has often been the obvious way forward to give that segmentation. Notwithstanding its advantages, the practice has considerable drawbacks. From a radio frequency (RF) spectrum standpoint, the existence of numerous SSIDs engenders superfluous interference and congestion.

Each additional SSID introduces overhead to the wireless spectrum, potentially precipitating a decline in overall network performance and dependability. With recent Wi-Fi 6, some improvements, i.e., BSSID, have been brought to help limit these drawbacks. However, not all devices can support these.
Furthermore, the administration and upkeep of a plethora of SSIDs impose a significant operational burden, necessitating a substantial investment of time and resources on the networking infrastructure and IT management sides.

Unified SSID - Improving Wi-Fi performance

Controlling SSID proliferation for better Wi-Fi performance

The imperative to mitigate these challenges underscores the significance of diminishing the number of SSIDs for optimizing wireless functionality. This contributes to an amelioration of the velocity and dependability of the wireless network. Additionally, a rationalized SSID framework simplifies network administration, facilitating streamlined troubleshooting procedures and imposing security policies.

Cloudi-Fi addresses this challenge by minimizing Wi-Fi overhead and streamlining network infrastructure management. In a zero-trust context where the Internet has become the space for all applications, the user’s gatekeeper is moved within the cybersecurity platforms.

Cloudi-Fi transforms Wi-Fi access control

Cloudi-Fi transforms Wi-Fi access control by shifting focus from the conventional SSID segregation layer to a sophisticated identity paradigm. By incorporating technologies like captive portal and DHCP fingerprinting, Cloudi-Fi surpasses the basic segregation of devices and users by broadcast domains. Instead, it introduces a holistic approach, isolating them at the physical layer while assigning access rights at the security layer. This approach is not confined to access points but extends to firewalls, cloud-based firewalls, and proxies.

This all-encompassing strategy applies to users, visitors, partners, BYODs (Bring Your Own Devices), and IoT (Internet of Things). Each entity undergoes individual identification and authentication, resulting in the allocation of a unique security profile tailored to its specific needs. 802.1x might persist solely for employee devices with specific local access policies and certificate-based authentication.

Captive portal technology ensures users and devices are authenticated before network access, heightening overall security. Simultaneously, DHCP fingerprinting identifies devices based on unique characteristics, enhancing the precision and granularity of access control. Departing from traditional Wi-Fi gatekeeping signifies a notable advance in network security, offering a more nuanced and flexible approach that enables finer user profiling and increased compliance.

Captive portal all-in-one solution

Whether overseeing access points, firewalls, or cloud-based security measures, Cloudi-Fi’s inventive approach ensures access control is robust and adaptable to the evolving landscape of network-connected devices and users. By adopting an identity-centric model, Cloudi-Fi establishes a new standard in Wi-Fi access control, promoting a more secure and dynamic network environment.

Thanks to Cloudi-Fi, the identity paradigm moves from a simple SSID or switch port to a true user and device perspective. Depending on the user type within, different identity providers are available, from social networks for visitors to corporate directories for employees BYOD. Within DHCP, IoTs are attached to security profiles based on dynamic device recognition and static fingerprinting. This identity is then leveraged within the corporate security stack.

Cloudi-Fi addresses this challenge by minimizing Wi-Fi overhead and streamlining network infrastructure management. In a zero-trust context where the Internet has become the space for all applications, the user’s gatekeeper is moved within the cybersecurity platforms.

Within that infrastructure, the vendor-agnostic approach that Cloudi-Fi has been developing and maintaining enables corporations to deploy these identities within their local firewalls, a tunnel from distributed SD-WAN into cloud security, or Wi-Fi access points. Our integration with major firewall vendors and Cloud security solutions transforms unauthenticated traffic into identified traffic. The visibility and control that were loose and restricted to a per-SSID/VLAN view now becomes an end-to-end cybersecurity object, giving control back to the IT administrators while freeing the radio infrastructure from SSIDs and beaconing overhead.

This unique model offers dedicated user security profiling and compliance on top of captive portal features like targeted marketing. Enabling this identity from our cloud platform within the site security stack not only improves profiling capabilities and granularity but also leverages local internet security and breakouts in firewalls or cloud proxies. The corporate WAN is then discharged from that traffic.

Splitting the Wi-Fi space with SSIDs was an obvious choice. Still led to performance dramas and is now superseded by security capabilities at the higher levels of the cyber security stack. Get this in your network with Cloud-fi :-)