MAC Address randomization

What is MAC Address randomization?

MAC Address randomization is the practice of operating systems using an anonymous randomly generated device identifier instead of the device’s actual MAC address when probing and/or connecting to WiFi. The intent is to increase user privacy by preventing the device from using the MAC as a unique device identifier.

Areas that may be affected:

  1. Return Guest experience: Devices with MAC randomization enabled on their phone will be treated as a new guest each time their randomized MAC address changes.
  2. Guest Insights: A device may be counted as multiple guests based on the number of randomized MACs the device used to connect to the hotspot. This would impact the New Guest number as well as Total Guests.
  3. Guest Plans: Devices with MAC randomization enabled on their phone who purchase a guest plan will be unable to access the remainder of their guest plan when their device changes to a new randomized MAC.
  4. Presence/Proximity campaigns: Devices who have previously connected to the hotspot with MAC randomization enabled will not receive presence/proximity campaigns after the device changes it’s randomized MAC.

    Some hardware does not send randomized MAC addresses to the platform so these devices would never receive presence campaigns.

  5. Marketing Campaigns using the “After X connections” trigger: Devices who have MAC randomization on will only accumulate connections until the device changes to a new randomized MAC.

Operating Systems MAC Address Randomization Documentation

What options are available?

The SmartWiFiPlatform has can be configured to notify users with a randomized MAC of their devices configuration. The notification can contain a link to the Splash Page Guest Device Support page which offers help on disabling the MAC randomization feature. If you do not want to allow any device with a randomized MAC to be able to connect that can be enabled as well.
Please contact support if you’re interested in enabling either of these features.

How could randomized MACs affect my campaigns?
  • Duplicate campaigns may be sent to a guest every time they connect to the hotspot with a new randomized MAC.
  • “After X Connections” will not be sent to guests unless they complete the X number of connections before their device changes to a new randomized MAC.
  • Presence/Proximity campaigns will not be sent to guests whose randomized MAC has changed since their last connection to the hotspot.
What might guests with a randomized MAC experience?

A guests device will be treated as a new guest each time their device changes to a new randomized MAC. This would mean the following:

  • The new guest splash page is presented resulting in guest having to complete social sign on again.
  • Guests would be able to receive campaigns multiple times.
  • Guests with existing guest plans under their previous randomized MAC would be unable to access the remainder of their plan.

How could reports be impacted by randomized MACs?

A single guest device may be counted multiple times dependent on the number of times it connects to the hotspot with a new randomized MAC. This would impact the New Guest number as well as Total Guests.

Updated on May 10, 2023
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