A recent update to a network policy on managed Chrome devices has resulted in some unforeseen connectivity issues for thousands of users in schools and businesses alike. Devices that are configured to connect automatically to organizational, password-protected wifi were affected.
Devices affected would have been online December 5th between 9:50 a.m. and 11:50 a.m. PST and are managed by an organization. Only devices whose wifi is managed via the Admin Console would have experienced the outage.
The fix for the bug has been pushed from Google but refreshing the network policy is required to alleviate the problem. Since the broken policy prevents that connecting to a network, a workaround must be implemented.
Google support has published an article to help organizations in getting up and running again as quickly as possible. Long story short, devices will need to connect to a different network in order to update the guilty policy.
Here’s a rundown of how to fix the problem.
Create a new, open network.
- Create a new temporary WiFi SSID to something easy to read (for example, “Fix WiFi”) and security type to be open (no password). If this is not possible, consider temporarily changing your organization’s WiFi network SSID in this way.
- Instruct users to join WiFi before signing in.
- After the devices have connected, change your organization’s WiFI network SSID and security type back to the previous configuration.
*note – creating an open network will temporarily open your organization to unauthorized device connections. If you choose this method, make sure you have all the devices prepped and ready to connect at the same time to minimize the amount of time the network is unsecured.
Manually connect to an existing open network.
- If an open network is already available, instruct users to connect from the lock screen or guest mode to update policies.
- Once updated, reconnect devices to secured network
Manually re-enter WPA-PSK passphrase.
- If an open network is not an option, users can manually re-enter the network passphrase.
- Once entered, the policies should update automatically.
*This method will be the most time-consuming but will also be the most secure for organizations not wishing to have an open network available.
Use a mobile hotspot.
- You can update devices on a group by group basis by creating a hotspot with a mobile device and allowing a number of machines to connect and update policies.
- For security purposes, your mobile hotspot should allow you to limit the number of devices that can connect to it.
*Keep in mind, this will use your mobile data. If you do not have an unlimited plan, charges could be incurred.
Use an Ethernet connection with USB adapter.
- Connect an ethernet cable to your network using a USB ethernet adapter.
- Connect USB ethernet adapter to each Chrome device to connect.
This method will also be very time-consuming and will be best for organizations with a limited number of devices. If your organization is experiencing this issue, you can find more information on diagnosing the problem at Google’s support page here.