Wi-Fi Alliance Voice-Enterprise Certification: Standardized Fast Secure Roaming

Two of the most important aspects of building a successful modern enterprise wireless LAN are enabling transparent user mobility across the network and strong security to protect sensitive corporate data. 

However, these two objectives have historically been difficult to achieve in tandem. A balancing act between mobility and security has caused an unpleasant trade-off for organizations due to the time-consuming processes that strong security methods require. On one hand, high performance mobility can be provided when relatively weak security is implemented with an Open or WPA2-Personal WLAN, but this leaves sensitive corporate data at higher risk of exposure. On the other hand, much stronger security can be implemented with WPA2-Enterprise, lowering the exposure risk of sensitive corporate data, but resulting in poor mobility performance due to the time-consuming 802.1X authentication process. Thus, the introduction of more secure Wi-Fi networks solved one problem (security) but created another (roaming performance).

The industry needed a high performance, yet secure, solution to this mobility problem. The answer lies with fast secure roaming. Pre-standard solutions, such as CCKM and OKC have been around for some time but have failed to realize widespread adoption, especially by client manufacturers. The Wi-Fi Alliance™ Voice-Enterprise certification program, introduced May 2012 and already appearing in major WLAN products, brings a standards-based fast roaming method to market, which serves to align infrastructure and client manufacturers on a common implementation method and provides the benefits of low-latency roaming performance while maintaining strong security with WPA2-Enterprise.

I dive deeper into the Voice-Enterprise certification program and implementation details of fast secure roaming in the new whitepaper, "Wi-Fi Alliance Voice-Enterprise Certification: Standardized Fast Secure Roaming" [PDF].

Whitepaper: Wi-Fi Alliance Voice-Enterprise Certification
(Click to Download)

Download this whitepaper to learn:
  • Challenges in providing both transparent user mobility and strong security
  • Requirements that products must pass to achieve Voice-Enterprise certification
  • Performance criteria that Voice-Enterprise products must achieve
  • Technical details of the Fast BSS Transition specification, based on IEEE 802.11r, for both controller-based and controllerless WLANs
  • Performance optimizations available with Radio Resource Measurement (802.11k) and Wireless Network Management (802.11v), both part of the Voice-Enterprise program