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Contact Tracing Using WiFi

4 min read
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As businesses reopen and convey employees back to the office, health and safety are at the forefront. Wi-Fi contact tracing emerges from the COVID-19 pandemic, and IT teams must utilize Wi-Fi access points as an answer.

Users already hook up with enterprise Wi-Fi networks using their mobile devices, and lots of them even have Bluetooth connectivity enabled. Wi-Fi access points are perfectly positioned for indoor contact tracing.

How Does Wi-Fi Contact Tracing Work

When a tool connects to the Wi-Fi network, its unique identifier, the MAC address, is employed for communicating with the network. By tracking where the MAC address has connected, location analytics can determine where the device has been.

Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE) may be a better technology to use, which each mobile device has installed. Access points with BLE capabilities have higher accuracy in location compared to Wi-Fi.

Mist access points contain a BLE antenna array that delivers accuracy of up to 1-3 meters.

The key to the accuracy of contact tracing using access points is ensuring the device stays with the user. A policy might be in situ, alerting users to stay mobile devices with them wherever they are going.

With Wi-Fi and BLE identified as methods for contact tracing, let’s discuss how an enterprise can implement an answer.

Device proximity is of importance. the primary goal is identifying who was within the building or room. Device proximity and accuracy of location determines whether an alert of a positive COVID-19 user was also within the same building and near others.

Contact tracing by Area Visited using Mist

Consider users who could also be passing by the building and people who are inside. For this reason, having A level of location accuracy is important.

wifi tracing
image credit packet6

Identifying the max occupancy within the building will set the boundary for a way many of us can assemble during a given space. There are occupancy details to iron out, such as:

  • Maximum building occupancy
  • Floor occupancy
  • Room occupancy
  • Users will get to keep a 6-foot distance from one another, which can help determine what those occupancy numbers will appear as if in your environment.

Once occupancy numbers are determined, zones are often outlined within the ground plan. The mist makes this easy with its platform. Occupancy details are configured for every zone. for instance, an open office area could also be configured as a zone with a max occupancy of 10 devices (one mobile device per person).

Occupancy Analytics via Mist

Using Mist’s Premium Analytics, the enterprise will have real-time and historical data of device proximity and journey.

Another important aspect of contact tracing is going to be dwell time for every device, the quantity of your time a tool has spent during a given zone. Using analytics, dwell time is often calculated for every device and aggregated over time. When a user has been identified as positive with COVID-19 or displaying symptoms, an enterprise can undergo the historical data to ascertain exactly where they were on the ground plan for a given time-frame.


What does one get to support contact tracing today together with your |along with your”> together with your existing Wi-Fi infrastructure? it’s possible to try to to it with your current hardware, but you’ll not have the power to try to location services or analytics.

Cloud-managed access points by Mist make contact tracing simple to urge started. Existing Juniper customers with Mist access points can start directly.

contact tracing
image credit pocket6

There’s not a requirement for more servers to your infrastructure, creating additional maintenance and support costs.

To support location services, you’ll need to upgrade your controller code to the newest version, which can have a big impact on operations and make downtime. There could also be access points not supported with the newest version of the controller code.

The management servers supporting the controllers and access points also will need to be upgraded. Adding floor plans to those management servers is often a bottleneck thanks to their limited support.

Mist doesn’t require any on-premises servers. If you’re using Ekahau for your designs, you’ll easily upload those files to the Mist cloud, which can include the ground plan and access point locations.

What are the utilization cases

  • Proximity Tracing: Identifying which employees were within the same building or room as a COVID-19 positive employee or someone exhibiting the symptoms.
  • Journey Mapping: Understanding how employees are utilizing the workspace. Supplements Proximity Tracing and provides a historical view of where employees may are within the office. It increases the accuracy of contact tracing.
  • Hot Zone Alerting: Act quickly to areas of high congestion or areas exceeding the occupancy levels. Congested areas can create hot zone alerts through the API Mist provides. Using ChatOps, an alert is often delivered to the proper people and channels via Slack, MS Teams, or WebEx Teams.

Source: packet6

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