Are Open SSIDs in decline?

Published: 2012-05-01
Last Updated: 2012-05-01 15:43:40 UTC
by Rob VandenBrink (Version: 1)
15 comment(s)

After hearing about my wife's iPad disconnecting from wireless for a couple of weeks (ok, maybe a bit longer than that), I decided to do some upgrades to the home network and replace the problem Access Point (and older home unit).

So off to the store I went, and came home with a bright shiny new A/B/G/N AP.  After throwing the DVD away (you know, the one that comes in every box with the outdated firmware on it), and updating the unit to the current rev, my kid and I started setting it up.

It's been a while since I worked on a standalone AP - my builds normally involve controllers and *lots* of AP's.  So imagine my surprise and joy when I found that these home units no longer default to an SSID with a default name and no security!  This one started the setup by defaulting to WPA-2 / Personal, and asked me what I wanted to use for a key !  You really have to be determined now to create an Open SSID ( good news ! )

So are we looking the long, slow goodnight of open wireless on home networks?  I've written in the past about how tablet users that don't know better routinely "steal" wireless from whoever is close without thinking twice - is this going to get harder and harder from them over the next few years, as people migrate to newer APs?

On the other hand, we're seeing more and more guest networks that are open, things like coffee shops, municipal offices, hair salons - pretty much anyplace you're likely to spend more than 5 minutes at seems compelled to offer up free wireless.  But using free wireless that's offered to you is a much different proposition than stealing it from someone who's misconfigured their home network..

I invite your comments - my AP's name starts with and L and ends with an S (made by our friends at C***o).  Are the current models from other vendors implementing better defaults now too? 

Rob VandenBrink

Keywords: open ssid
15 comment(s)
ISC StormCast for Tuesday, May 1st 2012


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