Opportunistic Wireless Encryption

OWE is a technology that allows secure communication in "open" wireless LANs.

Until now, "open" wireless networks in places like cafés, bars, restaurants, etc., were defined as being completely non-encrypted; this meant that no additional encryption on the wireless protocol level was used to establish connections or transport data. Although this is very convenient because connections are established quickly and easily, it also means that data is not sufficiently protected. Unauthorized parties can easily record or read user data. This can only be avoided if additional encryption such as https, VPN, TLS, etc., is used on higher protocol layers along the entire connection route.

With OWE, data transport ("payload") in such "open" connections over wireless LAN is now selectively encrypted by a software extension (WPA2/CCMP method). However, access data is still not required to establish the connection, which means that the high level of convenience of an "open" wireless network remains unchanged. 

In FRITZ!OS 7.19 or later, OWE is accessible through an extension of the wireless guest access ("public WiFi hotspot"). The new feature can be enabled by selecting the option "Allow encrypted data transfer in a public hotspot (OWE)" on the page "Wireless / Guest Access". "Open/non-encrypted" can now be used in parallel with OWE-secured connections. The wireless device must also support OWE (for example devices with Android 10).

Please note: The FRITZ!App WLAN does not currently support OWE-secured connections. To establish OWE-secured connections to the wireless guest access ("public WiFi hotspot") from FRITZ!Box, please use the wireless LAN client that is integrated in the operating system.

Wireless guest access connections that use OWE are displayed with a lock icon on the pages "Wireless / Radio Network" and "Home Network / Network". 

OWE is part of the certification program from the "Wi-Fi Alliance" (WFA) under the name "Wi-Fi Certified Enhanced Open" and can already be used with the following devices, such as: 

  • Google Pixel 2 / 3 / 4 and possibly other devices with Android 10 (displayed in the menu as "Security: Enhanced Open" - OWE is a feature of Android 10)
  • Samsung Galaxy S10 (Android 9, displayed as "Open" in the menu)

Apple devices do not currently support OWE.