Flexible and maintainable shared Wi-Fi
This weeks Proptechaweek is a guest post by Wouter Schoofs!
Working or living in a space that is shared with a large number of people whom you do not know is scary. They bring other guests into the property and often these spaces offer one public guest Wi-Fi which is used most of the time or the “secure” Wi-Fi SSID password hasn’t changed for years.
Proptech is the co-operation of property business combined with new technologies, mainly IoT. Internet is a vast platform in which various technologies are developed. But how important is secure Wi-Fi in property and how can you secure security requirements in your property?
We are gonna talk about implementing FreeRadius. FreeRADIUS is the world's leading RADIUS server. It is used daily by 100 million people to access the Internet.
A Radius client is a networking device (like a VPN, router, switch,..) that is used to authenticate users. A Radius server is a background process that lets you maintain user profiles in a central database.
A radius solution consists of 4 main elements:
Maintain users their Wi-Fi access in one general place
Easy to connect to a lot of management platforms or to your own Active Directory
Track user activity into your space
Safe time with maintaining user access
A FreeRADIUS server can help you to implement a secure Wi-Fi infrastructure into your property. Most of the time people who are entering the property are people with a subscription, visitors, or partners who are mainly announced in advance.
imagery courtesy freeradius.org
After the announcement of WeWork’s Wi-Fi security practices, which recent scans have shown leave documents potentially exposed to anyone else who shared the space. A lot of properties went looking into their own Wi-Fi architecture. Implementing a Radius server setup will give you as result a network that is more secure, flexible, and maintainable.
Based on the period people have to access your property (visitor = 1 day, member = as long as the contract is running, partner = 1 day,..) you can easily automate one-time login credentials.
Security can also be used as a selling point. Kane Willmot CEO of IQ offices explains in an article that security is one of IQ Offices’s key selling points for clients of all sizes.
👎 Why not?
It is clear that the benefits of FreeRADIUS make it a popular solution for IT professionals all over. Setting up and configuring a FreeRADIUS server has increasingly proven to be a difficult deal. There have been many complaints about complexities associated with getting minimal features to work, and issues with adding or removing modules in the absence of IT professionals. In other words, in the absence of an IT professional with adequate skills, the usage, and configuration of FreeRADIUS proves to be a cumbersome deal.
FreeRADIUS was founded in June 1999 by Miquel van Smoorenburg and Alan DeKok. Radius is a networking protocol that is implemented in a lot of proptech software solutions.
You can enable this protocol easily into your access points.
FreeRADIUS is free and open-source software and is one of the most popular RADIUS servers in the world. FreeRADIUS is responsible for authenticating one-third of all users on the Internet. One thing that you have to know is that a technical background is probably required to enable this setup.
🕵️♀️ Who else?
Some access points (for example: HP ProCurve 530, ZyXEL, ..) offer built-in Radius on a couple of different business-class AP’s.
RouterOS is the operating system from Mikrotik, which has an easy UI that includes an embedded RADIUS server.
IronWiFi is a cloud-based authentication platform for modern networks. It has an easy setup with a large range of Directory Services or Social Media integrations.
If you already invested a lot of money into your security network, don’t be afraid of the pricing. In general Radius solutions are not too expensive and most of the time your workspace management platform has a build-in solution or a good integration to enable this.
📚 Further reading?
Read about the 3 Core Security Requirements for Flexible Workspaces
Why property managers should offer Wi-Fi as a service
✨ Things happening
As a bonus on last week’s post on virtual office space Vice has an article on how some real estate moguls are investing in virtual spaces… Interesting article on the ways proptech is changing the way real estate agents do business. Another interesting read on proptech from mortgage orb…