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Transitioning to OWE and WPA3 in Higher-Ed

Rowell and François discussed their experiences with deploying OWE and WPA3 on a higher education Wi-Fi network. Rowell noted that the adoption has been slow due to device compatibility issues, particularly in higher education where many devices are personal and outside of their control. They opted for a slow rollout strategy to monitor and gather information, emphasizing the importance of planning. Rowell admitted that their strategy was a hope for the best, as they couldn’t be certain about the device updates.

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Different SSIDs are used for OWE and eduroam with WPA3. Device compatibility was tested with the new mode and addressed potential user concerns. There was also a consideration for the need for educating the team about the new configuration and verification process.

Rowell discussed the method he used to gather statistics and troubleshoot issues related to the use of OWE. He mentioned that he rolled out the change silently to a few buildings and decided not to notify the end users about the change to avoid an increase in tickets. Rowell also explained that they transitioned to Mist and chose to roll out the OWE change per site, limiting it to specific buildings.

What about Wi-Fi 6E and WPA3 deployment? Rowell explained that they initially had issues with devices supporting 6 GHz, leading to connectivity problems. The transition to WPA3 was largely successful, with no complaints from users, and they are now using 8 buildings with OWE transition mode and WPA3-Enterprise only. The discussion concluded with a brief mention of an issue with meeting room devices connecting to Wi-Fi.

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Mark Nemiz
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