OpenRoaming promises simple, seamless, secure Wi-Fi connectivity, like cellular networks

This text is a part of the Generation Perception sequence, made conceivable with investment from Intel.

It’s simple to take without any consideration that our cellphones are all the time on the lookout for close by towers to stay calls and streaming services and products attached, even if we’re at the transfer. Wi-Fi, however, loves to remind us that it’s constructed another way. For those who’ve ever attempted pulling up a boarding go on the airport, simplest to get caught at the back of a captive portal, then you realize the inconsistent and continuously irritating conduct of public Wi-Fi.

The OpenRoaming initiative, controlled and promoted by means of the Wi-fi Broadband Alliance (WBA), targets to create a extra cellular-like enjoy by means of authenticating your computer or mobile phone and becoming a member of collaborating Wi-Fi networks as you roam from one to the following. Not more scrolling thru lists of SSIDs. Not more inquiring for passwords in convention halls. And not more disapproving appears to be like from gate attendants.

The results of popular OpenRoaming adoption are transparent. On a telephone, you get upper bitrates and more potent indicators indoors in comparison to mobile networks, plus information financial savings on metered plans and global roaming. Computer customers revel in pervasive Wi-Fi connectivity the place they didn’t have it earlier than.

However OpenRoaming is greater than only a comfort play for highway warriors. In keeping with the WBA, “For organizations and companies…OpenRoaming supplies the chance to create new industrial trade fashions and cutting edge services and products with velocity and ease.”

Let’s discover the interior workings of OpenRoaming, what the era approach to the way forward for Wi-Fi, and the way it was once not too long ago deployed in one among Europe’s biggest trade facilities.


  • OpenRoaming is a federation carrier that permits seamless onboarding and a safe connection to collaborating Wi-Fi networks.
  • Via enabling a cellular-like enjoy, OpenRoaming facilitates consistency as you roam between mobile and Wi-Fi networks.
  • This tech is in a position for high time. After more than one public demos, the primary industrial deployment of OpenRoaming was once not too long ago introduced for citizens of the Canary Wharf Property in London.

OpenRoaming will get you on Wi-Fi for a continuing enjoy

The transition from Wi-Fi five (IEEE 802.11ac) to Wi-Fi 6 (802.11ax) brings important improvements to scalability, safety, and function. What extra may just we in all probability need from our wi-fi networks? “…there are nonetheless a couple of issues that we expect want to be solved past potency in Wi-Fi,” mentioned Jérôme Henry, foremost engineer with Cisco’s administrative center of the CTAO, at a tech match akin to the corporate’s Wi-Fi 6 roll-out. “Certainly one of them is straightforward onboarding.”

We jump between Wi-Fi and cellular networks every day. With OpenRoaming, the handoff between those networks can be streamlined, yielding a better mobile experience.

Above: We leap between Wi-Fi and mobile networks on a daily basis. With OpenRoaming, the handoff between the ones networks may also be streamlined, yielding a greater cellular enjoy.

That’s what OpenRoaming guarantees to handle. “Relieving customers from navigating to a portal, getting into a password, subscribing to a carrier, or offering non-public knowledge each time they connect with a brand new Wi-Fi community can be a vital step ahead from the place we’re nowadays,” says Dr. Carlos Cordeiro, CTO of wi-fi connectivity at Intel and an IEEE fellow. “OpenRoaming allows the reuse of credentials to get admission to Wi-Fi networks far and wide the consumer roams, whether or not the community is understood to the consumer or no longer.” It’s supposed to simply paintings, like your mobile connection.

Now, to ensure that cellular units to connect with mobile networks from Los Angeles to Lisbon, operators will have to negotiate global roaming agreements. Loads of those agreements deal with the technical and industrial relationships between carriers. However with 628 million public hotspots anticipated globally by means of 2023, it’s merely no longer sensible to have legal professionals determine agreements between everybody with Wi-Fi .

As an alternative, OpenRoaming creates a cloud-based federation carrier that hyperlinks relied on id suppliers (IDPs), which care for your credentials, and get admission to suppliers, which perform Wi-Fi networks. OpenRoaming makes use of business requirements like Passpoint, RADIUS, EAP, and WBA Wi-fi Roaming Middleman eXchange (WRIX) to robotically authenticate your cellular software and create a safe connection. The credentials you employ would possibly come from a tool (similar to your telephone’s Samsung ID), a carrier supplier (for example, Verizon), or an internet platform like LinkedIn. Get entry to to the Wi-Fi community may well be granted by means of your corporate’s IT division, a Marriott lodge, or an airport. Regardless of the aggregate, each side outline insurance policies that resolve the services and products to be had to you.

As OpenRoaming gains momentum with identity providers, access providers, and device manufacturers, the initiative’s benefits will become more prevalent.

Above: As OpenRoaming features momentum with id suppliers, get admission to suppliers, and software producers, the initiative’s advantages will change into extra prevalent.

Get entry to suppliers can make a choice the credentials they’re prepared to just accept. On the similar time, IDPs are ready to specify which get admission to suppliers their credentials are legitimate for. So, as an example, an endeavor may just onboard staff wearing IT-issued notebooks with one stage of get admission to, whilst visitors get routed to some other community thru the similar SSID. Or a store may just authenticate individuals of a loyalty program on its community, whilst concurrently fighting the ones credentials from being accessed by means of a competitor.

What makes OpenRoaming so horny?

Except for the ease of deftly transferring between hotspots with uninterrupted carrier, OpenRoaming performs a starring position in a long run the place convergence between Wi-Fi and mobile drives lower-latency connections in dense environments. You need chic handoffs between the ones heterogeneous networks, holding their strengths whether or not you’re indoors or outdoor. When your software has the era it must get onto each networks with equivalent agility, they are able to be utilized in a complementary way. Apple already does this each time conceivable to recuperate reliability from Siri.

Matt McPherson, wi-fi CTO at Cisco, mentioned the interaction between power Wi-Fi and mobile hyperlinks at Mobility Box Day four past due final yr. “For those who’re attached to each paths concurrently, then what you’ll be able to do is you’ll be able to pull the reassurance analytics from the ones paths. And as LTE will get susceptible, Wi-Fi will get robust, and also you hand off that consultation with out ever breaking the relationship as a result of they’re each attached.”

Previous to multi-path delivery, it could have taken six or extra seconds to go a consultation between LTE and Wi-Fi. That’s simply lengthy sufficient for whoever’s at the different finish to surrender and finish the decision. With multi-path, the switch can occur seamlessly. However provided that you attached to the Wi-Fi community to your means within the airport, lodge foyer, or administrative center development. OpenRoaming will likely be what will get that route up and operating with out getting caught at the back of a log-in web page, or worse, a locked community.

Now, that’s to not say OpenRoaming is synonymous with free-for-all get admission to. In lots of verticals, it makes easiest sense to supply shoppers with unfettered Wi-Fi. Alternatively, OpenRoaming helps billed relationships as neatly, giving companies the liberty to select how they convey purchasers onto their networks and whether or not they need to be offering tiered services and products.

Why do I need to take part in OpenRoaming?

Extra widespread usage of multi-path is one instance of ways OpenRoaming will end up its price to finish customers in a heterogeneous global of high-speed mobile and Wi-Fi connectivity. However the era will even create new alternatives for organizations enabling OpenRoaming on their networks.

As an example, in case you’re a retail retailer, OpenRoaming’s frictionless Wi-Fi get admission to and safe authentication lends itself to the next connect charge. That’s a bigger captive target audience along with your app put in, desperate to browse gross sales driven to their telephones once they stroll within the door.

OpenRoaming is a game-changer for IDPs, too. They not want to hinder Wi-Fi get admission to with a bulky portal, nor do they want to require a social media or loyalty program log-in. With an agreed-upon coverage in position, IDPs and get admission to suppliers can get the ones customers authenticated earlier than they even understand they’re at the community. There’s additionally a chance to collect anonymized analytics information to optimize the client enjoy.

On the finish of the day, whether or not you’re an get admission to supplier, an id supplier, or an ecosystem dealer, OpenRoaming has one thing to supply. “…there’s important price for everybody,” says Intel’s Cordeiro. “Endeavor IT departments can extra simply arrange visitor Wi-Fi networks that fortify OpenRoaming. Tool distributors and companies can make sure their units seamlessly and securely connect with OpenRoaming-capable Wi-Fi networks. Id suppliers can get precious details about customers. And infrastructure distributors can be offering value-added services and products to their shoppers. OpenRoaming considerably lowers or eliminates the boundaries for customers to get their units attached, in order that companies can focal point on handing over value-added services and products.”

Frictionless Wi-Fi, to be had within the wild

OpenRoaming made its debut on the 2019 Cell Global Congress (MWC) business demonstrate in Barcelona, Spain. Attendees with positive Samsung telephones have been ready to leap proper onto MWC’s community for a continuing enjoy around the demonstrate ground.

The native airport and educate stations participated within the pilot program as neatly. Although the other organizations used their very own get admission to suppliers, they have been all a part of the similar federation, so uninterrupted Wi-Fi get admission to endured as the ones Samsung telephones roamed into vary. It sounds as if, maximum show-goers didn’t even understand OpenRoaming was once caring for onboarding within the background. They have been merely at the Wi-Fi community, as though it have been a mobile hyperlink.

The Canary Wharf Group, Virgin Media, and Cisco recently announced the first commercial deployment of OpenRoaming, providing secure and seamless Wi-Fi 6 access to more than 20,000 businesses.

Above: The Canary Wharf Crew, Virgin Media, and Cisco not too long ago introduced the primary industrial deployment of OpenRoaming, offering safe and seamless Wi-Fi 6 get admission to to greater than 20,000 companies.

Extra not too long ago, Cisco, Virgin Media, and the Canary Wharf Crew introduced the primary industrial OpenRoaming deployment throughout 5 million sq. ft of mixed-use construction at Wooden Wharf in London. The partnership covers greater than 20,000 companies with speedy Wi-Fi 6 connectivity, whilst OpenRoaming makes it conceivable for citizens to care for a safe Wi-Fi connection around the district.

Now that the Wi-fi Broadband Alliance owns and manages OpenRoaming, the usual is primed for adoption by means of an much more various federation of individuals. In keeping with the WBA, business leaders similar to Boingo Wi-fi, Cisco, GlobalReach Generation, Intel, and Korea Telekom have already pledged fortify. Dr. Derek Peterson, CTO at Boingo, sums it up absolute best. “With the fortify of the WBA, interoperable roaming will pass additional and gasoline new alternatives for the 5G generation.”

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