Unlock a Better Wi-Fi Connectivity Experience for Residents

In our last post, "How to Deliver Home-like Wi-Fi with Enterprise Level Network Control," we introduced readers to the basics of our Personal Pass Key experience and the mechanics behind it. In this post, we will dive into what makes the Personal Pass Key experience so revolutionary, especially for the multifamily industry.

Get Connected, Stay Connected

At Eleven, our mission is to simplify managed Wi-Fi and developing our Personal Pass Key solution has been a big part of that mission. We set out to solve common challenges we were seeing through our customers, and we knew we wanted to build something that was easy and frictionless for everyone: service providers, property managers, and residents. 

The onboarding process starts with the property manager. Once a prospective resident confirms their tenancy, property managers can enter the resident with their move-in and move-out dates into ElevenOS. That way, Wi-Fi access automatically starts and ends on the residents’ move-in and move-out dates. To make it easier for the property manager, they can complete multiple residents’ Wi-Fi registration by uploading a spreadsheet of residents that are moving in.

On move-in day, an onboarding email with a link to the network onboarding page is automatically sent to new residents. From there, the resident simply accepts the terms of use and then receives the SSID and their own, easy to remember, Wi-Fi password (aka Personal Pass Key) to access the Wi-Fi. These steps are all driven by ElevenOS. Users can also opt-in to SMS and receive their key and future notifications via text message.

Once the user completes the simple onboarding process, they gain access to the property Wi-Fi on any and all devices simply by using the key they were assigned. Just like we’re used to at home, devices will “remember” the network and auto-connect whenever they are in range. Guests can get on the guest network normally provided alongside the resident network.

A common challenge for multifamily connectivity is getting browser-less devices online (such as video game systems or smart speakers) especially in senior and assisted living facilities where residents are often not as tech-savvy. Since Personal Pass Key does not require a log-in (captive) portal for access, it’s much easier to get all types of devices online, regardless of whether they have a browser or not.

The Magic of Key Matching

The magic behind the Personal Pass Key experience is a purpose-built service that stores all keys enabled for an SSID and checks that the key entered by a user attempting to join the network is a valid one. Instead of the hardware itself storing the one key that unlocks it, our service enables multiple keys to be used. The Eleven Key Matching Service (EKMS) is a cloud-based solution that features benefits like: 

  • Easy deployment: Service providers deploy a single end-user experience regardless of hardware platform without adding complexity to their deployment footprint.
  • Hardware-agnostic: Deploy a single end-user experience over many different hardware platforms without adding complexity.
  • Turnkey SaaS: Eleven’s key matching service is embedded in our cloud platform and processes, including our SLAs–no need to manage or license additional hardware or software.
  • No-hassle scalability: Robust cloud-native performance and easy site configuration makes Eleven’s service as easy to manage at one site as at 1,000.
  • Future-proof: Device authentication that does not rely on a device’s MAC address means aggressive MAC randomization won’t impact resident experience.

Our patent-pending Key Matching Service is unique in its ability to handle very large key pool sizes without the high cost of other specialized software or virtualized hardware. What makes this difficult to achieve via the AP or controller is that the PSKs have to be matched while they are encrypted, making it computationally expensive, and thus hard to scale. However, with EKMS, service providers of all sizes can deliver the magic of the Personal Pass Key experience, without the hefty price tag of additional licensing, servers, or gateways.

Wi-Fi is Not One Size Fits All

It is important to note that there are still industries and use cases where a different Wi-Fi experience could be preferable. For shorter-term connectivity, like retail or hospitality, we believe Passpoint auto-connect is the future, as it also solves for MAC randomization and continues to become more widely available on the most used Wi-Fi enabled devices. 

There are many factors to consider when developing a Wi-Fi strategy and how to balance the right user experience with back-end control and security--and we’re here to help. Schedule a time to talk to us about your Wi-Fi strategy today.