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Wi-Fi EAP-TLS support coming to Windows Phone “at some point”

We’re not one to delve too deep into the various Wi-Fi security profiles out there. For one, we’re speaking out of league and can’t offer pros/cons to each one and two, it’s just not something we hear a lot of from our readers. But there are a few of you out there and for them, certain protocols like EAP-TLS is important.

The good news is that Microsoft is conscious of the need for EAP-TLS for Wi-Fi security (especially important for enterprise) and it looks like it will come to Windows Phone at some point, but it’s not high on their priority list...

In a Twitter direct message with a customer, Microsoft’s Joe Belfiore revealed the info in an exchange on the topic noting that the lack of EAP-TLS is “something we are aware of and following up on. Not in the very near future but likely coming at some point.”

The fact of the matter is Microsoft does have a list of priorities for Windows Phone where some things are higher than others. For instance, we have it on good accord that better podcast support is on that list but it’s not very high. That doesn’t mean Microsoft doesn’t want to do it it just means they have to triage what they can and cannot do in a realistic time frame for releases. As a consumer, none of that is directly important—you just want “stuff” and you want all of it. But being a program manager, these are the tough decisions that need to be made.

We’re not convinced from a basic consumer standpoint that EAP-TLS support is more important than say a proper notification hub. But we certainly see why people would rank it high on their own list.

For those of you who don’t know about EAP-TLS (we don’t blame you), it’s considered to be one of the most secure Wi-Fi connection protocols out there. It’s not widely deployed anymore due to the client-side certificate (and being slightly more complicated) but it is universally supported by all wireless LAN manufactures. So being universally available and considered the strongest security out there, we can see why folks would want it on their Windows Phone.

Will it make a difference in the end to straight up consumer sales? We’re not too sure but here’s hoping that it comes at some point.

Source: Rajesh R. (Twitter)

Daniel Rubino
Executive Editor

Daniel Rubino is the Executive Editor of Windows Central, head reviewer, podcast co-host, and analyst. He has been covering Microsoft here since 2007, back when this site was called WMExperts (and later Windows Phone Central). His interests include Windows, Microsoft Surface, laptops, next-gen computing, and arguing with people on the internet.

  • TLS is a must for my company. This can only help them when their next phone decisions come up...
  • I hope VPN is high up on their list beause it is keeping my company from rolling it out. Cant believe they missed VPN with a push into the enterprise.
  • "likely" coming at "some point" ? that's not even a proper answer
  • Does implementing more exchange ActiveSync make to that list? I can stay on att's cellular network but I need that storage secured to connect to exchange.... Are they really serious about enterprise?
  • What are you talking about? WP actually supports ActiveSync better than any other platform out there right now. What, specifically, do you mean about secured storage requirement?
  • There is a policy requiring storage card to be secured, and WP doesn't support that..... iPhone supports that because it doesn't have a storage card slot anyway....
  • Well, Microsoft didn't support it previously either, because they didn't support/allow them either, so I guess it makes sense. I find it hard to believe that WP8 would support it now, though. My thinking is that it would have to support it since the entire device gets configured with Bitlocker encryption.
  • Just like when the wav and flac support is coming
    When PNG support is coming, orientation lock, separate volume controls, etc.
    WP8 is a joke
  • Your comment is pretty much a joke. All of those features, while VERY nice to have, are not exactly "OMG, there's no way people will buy this without them" kind of features. They're niceties that make the experience better, absolutely... and it feels kinda ridiculous to be missing such obvious things, but if you want to talk about jokes, just look at Xbox Music right now.
  • I crack up at FLAC support. The amount of people who use FLAC in the mainstream is inconsquential 
  • I try to avoid flac at all costs. Just unnecessary really.
  • Mainstream also listens to bieber and plays farmville, should windows phone offers these components integraiton then?
    You must've never bought tracks from beatport, juno, trackitdown, etc. because when I pay 40% more for wav or flac, I won't convert it to a shitty MP3 
    Hey, wifi eap-tls is not maainstream too so go ahead and laugh at everyone
    And if you care so much what mainstream does and follow it like a sheep does, you shoukd ditch the indowsp hone because mainstream does not use it
  • Get out of here, troll!
  • 320 kbps and wav are very close, yes. But there are other aspects to take into account such as: listening fatigue. MP3 adds a modulated noise to the sound that is difficult to discern in short-time ABX testing. The problem with MP3 it's like the cocktail-party psychoacoustic effect: your brain needs to do an extra effort to identify correctly the different sounds.
  • I think Hiiiiiiiii confirms my suspicions of some FLAC users...
  • Hey, come on... cut him some FLAC, he's just confused about what the mainstream uses. I mean, he doesn't realize how many business networks use EAP-TLS to secure their Wi-Fi networks. Well, their corporate business networks. I'm guessing they haven't held a job yet.
  • Wav is supported by wp7.0 too
  • Not by WP8, try to play a voicemail
  • The absence of this is the primary reason I have to pass on WP8... my school recently upgraded to this more-secure connection method and I can't just wait indefinitely for support for it to become available. I believe Windows 8 has similar issues with these networks. It's quite the headscratcher as to why Microsoft would drop support for this as universities and businesses are the most likely to employ such methods and together these two entities potentially comprise a huge clientele base that simply can't use their products.
  • Daniel I have a question off topic. Why is the 920 pictured opposite of my att 920? Nokia on right ffc on right, att on left on my device.
  • B/c the pic is a 900 not 920.
  • Thanks
  • VPN and EAP-TLS is definitely high on an enterprise priority list. Certainly something I'd like to see happen sooner rather than later in my own environment, but if we're talking priorities, I really need the WAV file issue fixed. It worked great in WP7, and breaking their own voicemail product in WP8 is just plain negligent.
  • Wav is pcm with a little header, it is supporter by wp7 too (see Ultimate Recorder app For example)
  • I'm curious what's coming soon. Launch has come and gone, what's to expect moving forward?
  • No EAP-TLS support is probably a dealbreaker for our company too! About 1500 devices. Too bad. I was looking forward to building some WP enterprise apps.
  • So...i just had a "apps and extras" update just before reading this and the description was "WiFi".
  • I also think this is a major fail of Windows Phone. Here in The Netherlands I think all universities use EAP-TLS and therefore I can’t connect to wifi at my school.
  • I would add my name to the thread at Microsoft requesting EAP support on WP8, but after recieving 583,456 email replies  from the "WP7 doesn't support hidden Wifi access points" thread two years ago, I decided to just sit this one out. :-)  NOTE: WP7 and WP8 support hidden Wifi access points. 
    Why was it not included with the Windows Phone 8 build on release Day is what I am asking myself?? Didn’t we have the ability to manually connect to almost any network in WinMobile 6.0 if so what happened to that division of the Windows Mobile Team? It worked like a charm back in the day once I figured how to set it up… I could manually add almost any hidden secure network I wanted to add (That I Had Access Too)… I am just wondering how hard it was to add or was it there but needed polishing? Was there some new standard in the works prior to Windows Phone 8 release?
  • Because they don't give a crap 
  • -1
  • This is a must and needs to happend soon! Both my university and the company I work for part-time utilize EAP-TLS and my newly bought 920 can't connect to either. Slightly dissapointing if MS truly wants to capture the Enterprise market.
  • "Not in the very near future but likely coming at some point." What kind of answer is this? If I had the power, Joe Belfiore would be fired by now!
    I have a Samsung Focus and I'm getting more disapponteid with Windows Phone as time goes by. It seems that they are concerned with the looks of the mobile only. It's not a easy phone to use and certainly not pratical, you have to tap a lot of buttons to actually do what you want to do.
    For instance, turn on and wifi, cellular data, bluetooth, location... dialing a number, etc..
    What about the calendar? You can't see the month and a day at the same time..  That's a shame!
  • Hopefully the repair some of the features that got lost int the transition to WP8
  • Adding the more common EAP-TTLS would be a great start. Since you don't need client side certificates it should be a bit easier to implement. Then finally my phone would not be a brick with bad reception at work :-)
  • By the way, it would be great if you add the uservoice link to the article Daniel.
  • This is one of the reasons I am not able to convert a lot of "Windows Phone wanna - be" coworkers to Windows Phone ecosystem. First question: does it support our wifi here? My answer: NO. All my earlier devices including iPhone 3gs, Android Tablets/Phone, HP touchpad, and old Windows Mobile Phone didn't have this problem. Anyway, I learned to live with that since I like WP better than other platforms.. Thanks Dan for publishing my tweet..
    Also request everyone to vote here too:
  • I also think this is a major fail of Windows Phone. Here in Germany I think all universities use EAP-TLS and therefore I can’t connect to wifi at my school.
    Also a lot of Enterprize use it for their WIFI connections and so... WP8 Phones can't be a real alternative to IPhone.
    I see WP8 phones as a good alternative for business because the Office integration.
    Please implemet EAP-TLS if you want to go into the market of business phones. For the consumer market the share is already lost to Android.
  • One year later... My Lumia "business phone" 920 still doesn't support VPN nor EAP-TLS authentication...