Enabling PMK Caching for Roaming on 802.1X Networks

by Eric Geier [Published on 9 Dec. 2011 / Last Updated on 9 Dec. 2011]

Speed up roaming between APs when using WPA2-Enterprise security.

If you use 802.1X authentication in conjunction with WPA2-Enterprise and have multiple wireless access points (APs), you should ensure Pairwise Master Key (PMK) caching is enabled on the Windows clients. It enables faster roaming, eliminating pre or full 802.1X authentication when roaming to another AP. If PMK caching isn’t supported by the APs, pre-authentication can also be enabled. If supported by the AP, it eliminates having to perform full 802.1X authentication when roaming to another AP.

In previous Windows versions, PMK caching had to be enabled via the registry or group policy. In Windows 7, it can be configured via the Windows GUI: On the Wireless Network Properties dialog, select the Security tab, and then click the Advanced Settings button.

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The Author — Eric Geier

Eric Geier (Dayton, Ohio) is a Freelance  Tech Writer and Author specializing in computer networking. He's also the Founder and Owner of NoWiresSecurity, which provides a hosted cloud-based RADIUS service to help businesses easily secure their Wi-Fi networks with the Enterprise (802.1X) mode of WPA/WPA2 security. He’s also the Founder and Owner of On Spot Techs, which provides on-site computer and technology services.

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