Device Probes in Cisco DNA spaces
Device Probe requests are 802.11 management frames that are transmitted at regular intervals from WiFi devices such as smartphones and mobile devices. These frames contain information that can be used to identify presence, time spent, and repeat visits within range of a WiFi access point. Probe requests allow WiFi access points to detect in-premise mobile devices, irrespective of their WiFi association status. Hence, even if a device is not connected to the wireless network SSID, the device’s presence can still be detected, if WiFi detection is enabled on the mobile device.
Mobile devices transmit probe requests to search for nearby Internet and WiFi networks. These requests used to include the manufacturer-provided unique MAC address of the device. However, in order to ensure user privacy and security, recently Apple, Android, and Windows mobile devices have incorporated different versions of the MAC randomization feature in their respective operating systems, whereby the device identifier/MAC address of the device is randonmized at specific intervals and a fake device MAC address is transmitted.
When the mobile device is associated with the SSID via the user on-boarding process, then the device's original unique MAC address, provided by the device manufacturer is available for data processing.
Cisco DNA Spaces does not consider the randomized device data retrieved from AP probes for its data processing and analytics purposes. However, if a Customer specifically requests for enabling and processing the AP Probes data, then the Cisco DNA Spaces support team will manually set the relevant values in the backend systems to enable the device probe data analytics.
Following are the use cases of handling AP probe requests in the Cisco DNA Spaces dashboard:
- Scenario 1: A first time visitor to the Customer business premises, who has never connected to the in-premise SSID -- in such cases, when the AP probe detects the device, the Cisco DNA Spaces will save and process the device data in the backend systems. This information is used to display the device count in the Cisco DNA Spaces Business Insights and Right Now reports.
- Scenario 2: A repeat user or a visitor who had earlier connected to the in-premise SSID, will see the Captive Portal displayed on their mobile device as soon as they connect to the SSID. If the visitor completes the on-boarding process, then Cisco DNA Spaces will save and process the device's original MAC address and associated data in the backend systems. These information of such connected devices will be processed to display the device count and the visitor behavior insights in the Cisco DNA Spaces Business Insights, Captive Portal and Right Now reports.