The What, Why, and How of Wi-Fi Easy Connect
Wi-Fi Easy Connect is a new way to connect for WPA2 and WPA3 networks, which was introduced by the Wi-Fi Alliance in 2018. It simplifies the connection of Wi-Fi devices, especially for those with limited or no user interfaces, while still maintaining high security standards.
Why You Need Wi-Fi Easy Connect
Before going deep into Wi-Fi Easy Connect, think about the process of connecting your smartphone to a Wi-Fi network: you need to find the Wi-Fi network (SSID) on the smartphone and enter the Wi-Fi password carefully. What about adding devices with limited or no user interfaces like smart plugs and printers? Different vendors have different methods, but one thing is for sure: it’s way more complex than adding a smartphone.
Nowadays, IoT (Internet of Things) devices are becoming more and more popular. Since most of these devices don’t have user interfaces, everyone’s looking for an easier way to connect them to Wi-Fi networks.
The traditional Wi-Fi Protected Setup (WPS) seems to be the solution. It allows you to add a client to an access point’s Wi-Fi network by tapping a physical button on the access point and client (as the following figure shows). However, this has turned out to be an insecure feature that could make your Wi-Fi network more vulnerable to attacks.
Wi-Fi Easy Connect was developed to solve all these problems. It’s an enhancement of WPS, providing the following key benefits:
- Simplifies the process of provisioning devices through the use of QR codes, especially for those with little or no user interface
- Ensures authentication security via public key cryptography
- Provides a standardized, consistent method for onboarding devices – devices from different vendors can be configured in the same way
- Supports provisioning for WPA2 and WPA3 networks
- Enables the replacement of APs without the need to re-add all devices to the new AP
How Wi-Fi Easy Connect Simplifies the Connection of Wi-Fi Devices
Wi-Fi Easy Connect makes setting up a Wi-Fi network and adding devices to it even easier than WPS. It minimizes manual interaction during the process. As the following figure shows, to either set up a Wi-Fi network or add devices, you can simply scan the device-specific QR codes. No need to remember passwords.
All you need is a device—like a smartphone—capable of scanning QR codes and running the Device Provisioning Protocol (DPP, a protocol developed by the Wi-Fi Alliance to implement Wi-Fi Easy Connect). By also being protected by public key cryptography (the DPP authentication protocol), the whole process is secure.
When Can I Get Easy Connect?
Wi-Fi Easy Connect has not yet hit the mainstream, but more and more vendors are adding support for it in their Wi-Fi products. Let’s look forward to its public adoption and enjoy the benefits it’ll bring us.
Wi-Fi Easy Connect was originally one part of WPA3 but was later taken out as a separate certification program.If you would like to know more about WPA3, you can check out our article, What Is WPA3? Is It “100%” Safe?