Interop NY: A look at the show's own BYOD arrangements

In recognition of the central importance of BYOD issues to this year's Interop NY conference, organizers provided a specially configured Wi-Fi network as a demonstration of one possible solution.

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The system, provided by Cloudpath Networks, Xirrus and F5, features dual SSIDs -- one open network is used to register devices and provide them with an authentication app, allowing them to connect to the secured main network, which uses WPA2 Enterprise protection.

Compared to alternate solutions like standard WPA2 security or open networks with forced redirects to captive portals, this type of BYOD system has advantages, said Cloudpath founder Kevin Koster.

"The drawback to WPA2 Enterprise has always been the initial onboarding -- it takes configuration to get [users] on the network," he said.

However, the captive portal system requires users to manually sign in every time they connect -- which makes for a poor user experience, particularly for mobile device owners just hopping online to check their email.

Cloudpath was selected to run the BYOD demonstration after winning the prize for best wireless or mobile company at Interop Las Vegas this summer.

According to Koster, the system installed at Interop NY splits the difference -- while it requires a sign-up process, it's a one-time activation, and users don't need to be provided with any credential information in order to get a constant connection.

Along with Cloudpath's authentication system, the Interop NY setup uses Xirrus hardware to power the network, as well as F5's firewall to enforce access limitations.

"It worked great until yesterday morning when all of the vendors turned on their SSIDs, and all of a sudden, there were three pages of SSIDs," Koster said.

Email Jon Gold at jgold@nww.com and follow him on Twitter at @NWWJonGold.

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