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

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

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

It’s simple to take without any consideration that our mobile phones are at all times in search of within reach towers to stay calls and streaming services and products attached, even if we’re at the transfer. Wi-Fi, alternatively, loves to remind us that it’s constructed another way. In case you’ve ever attempted pulling up a boarding go on the airport, handiest to get caught at the back of a captive portal, then you realize the inconsistent and steadily irritating habits of public Wi-Fi.

The OpenRoaming initiative, controlled and promoted via the Wi-fi Broadband Alliance (WBA), goals to create a extra cellular-like enjoy via authenticating your computer or mobile phone and becoming a member of taking part 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 less disapproving appears to be like from gate attendants.

The consequences of common OpenRoaming adoption are transparent. On a telephone, you get upper bitrates and more potent alerts indoors in comparison to mobile networks, plus knowledge financial savings on metered plans and global roaming. Pc customers revel in pervasive Wi-Fi connectivity the place they didn’t have it ahead of.

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

Let’s discover the interior workings of OpenRoaming, what the era manner to the way forward for Wi-Fi, and the way it was once just lately deployed in one among Europe’s greatest industry facilities.


  • OpenRoaming is a federation provider that permits seamless onboarding and a protected connection to taking part Wi-Fi networks.
  • Through enabling a cellular-like enjoy, OpenRoaming facilitates consistency as you roam between mobile and Wi-Fi networks.
  • This tech is able for top time. After more than one public demos, the primary business deployment of OpenRoaming was once just lately 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 vital improvements to scalability, safety, and function. What extra may we most likely need from our wi-fi networks? “…there are nonetheless a couple of issues that we expect wish to be solved past potency in Wi-Fi,” mentioned Jérôme Henry, essential engineer with Cisco’s place of work of the CTAO, at a tech match comparable to the corporate’s Wi-Fi 6 roll-out. “One in every of them is simple 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 bounce between Wi-Fi and mobile networks on a daily basis. With OpenRoaming, the handoff between the ones networks can also be streamlined, yielding a greater cellular enjoy.

That’s what OpenRoaming guarantees to deal with. “Relieving customers from navigating to a portal, coming into a password, subscribing to a provider, or offering private knowledge each time they connect with a brand new Wi-Fi community could be an important step ahead from the place we’re lately,” says Dr. Carlos Cordeiro, CTO of wi-fi connectivity at Intel and an IEEE fellow. “OpenRoaming permits the reuse of credentials to get right of entry to Wi-Fi networks in all places the consumer roams, whether or not the community is understood to the consumer or now not.” It’s intended to only paintings, like your mobile connection.

Now, to ensure that cellular gadgets to hook up with mobile networks from Los Angeles to Lisbon, operators should negotiate global roaming agreements. Loads of those agreements cope with the technical and business relationships between carriers. However with 628 million public hotspots anticipated globally via 2023, it’s merely now not sensible to have legal professionals determine agreements between everybody with Wi-Fi .

As an alternative, OpenRoaming creates a cloud-based federation provider that hyperlinks relied on identification suppliers (IDPs), which take care of your credentials, and get right of entry to suppliers, which function Wi-Fi networks. OpenRoaming makes use of trade requirements like Passpoint, RADIUS, EAP, and WBA Wi-fi Roaming Middleman eXchange (WRIX) to mechanically authenticate your cellular tool and create a protected connection. The credentials you utilize may come from a tool (akin to your telephone’s Samsung ID), a provider supplier (for example, Verizon), or an internet platform like LinkedIn. Get right of entry to to the Wi-Fi community may well be granted via your corporate’s IT division, a Marriott resort, or an airport. Regardless of the aggregate, either 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 positive aspects momentum with identification suppliers, get right of entry to suppliers, and tool producers, the initiative’s advantages will turn out to be extra prevalent.

Get right of entry to suppliers can make a choice the credentials they’re keen to just accept. On the similar time, IDPs are in a position to specify which get right of entry to suppliers their credentials are legitimate for. So, for instance, an undertaking may onboard workers sporting IT-issued notebooks with one stage of get right of entry to, whilst visitors get routed to any other community thru the similar SSID. Or a store may authenticate individuals of a loyalty program on its community, whilst concurrently fighting the ones credentials from being accessed via a competitor.

What makes OpenRoaming so sexy?

Except for the ease of deftly shifting between hotspots with uninterrupted provider, 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 wish to have sublime handoffs between the ones heterogeneous networks, maintaining their strengths whether or not you’re indoors or out of doors. When your tool has the era it must get onto each networks with an identical agility, they may be able to be utilized in a complementary method. Apple already does this every time conceivable to recuperate reliability from Siri.

Matt McPherson, wi-fi CTO at Cisco, mentioned the interaction between continual Wi-Fi and mobile hyperlinks at Mobility Box Day four overdue closing 12 months. “In case you’re attached to each paths concurrently, then what you’ll do is you’ll 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 would 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 method within the airport, resort foyer, or place of work construction. OpenRoaming can be what will get that course 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 right of entry to. In lots of verticals, it makes highest sense to supply shoppers with unfettered Wi-Fi. Alternatively, OpenRoaming helps billed relationships as neatly, giving companies the liberty to make a choice how they carry purchasers onto their networks and whether or not they wish to be offering tiered services and products.

Why do I wish to take part in OpenRoaming?

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

For example, in case you’re a retail retailer, OpenRoaming’s frictionless Wi-Fi get right of entry to and protected authentication lends itself to a better connect price. That’s a bigger captive target market 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 now not wish to obstruct Wi-Fi get right of entry to with a bulky portal, nor do they wish to require a social media or loyalty program log-in. With an agreed-upon coverage in position, IDPs and get right of entry to suppliers can get the ones customers authenticated ahead of they even understand they’re at the community. There’s additionally a chance to assemble anonymized analytics knowledge to optimize the buyer enjoy.

On the finish of the day, whether or not you’re an get right of entry to supplier, an identification supplier, or an ecosystem dealer, OpenRoaming has one thing to provide. “…there’s vital price for everybody,” says Intel’s Cordeiro. “Undertaking IT departments can extra simply set up visitor Wi-Fi networks that enhance OpenRoaming. Software distributors and companies can make sure that their gadgets 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 limitations for customers to get their gadgets 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 Cellular International Congress (MWC) industry reveal in Barcelona, Spain. Attendees with sure Samsung telephones had been in a position to leap proper onto MWC’s community for a continuing enjoy around the reveal ground.

The native airport and educate stations participated within the pilot program as neatly. Despite the fact that the other organizations used their very own get right of entry to suppliers, they had been all a part of the similar federation, so uninterrupted Wi-Fi get right of entry to persisted as the ones Samsung telephones roamed into vary. It seems that, maximum show-goers didn’t even understand OpenRoaming was once taking good care of onboarding within the background. They had been merely at the Wi-Fi community, as though it had 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 Workforce, Virgin Media, and Cisco just lately introduced the primary business deployment of OpenRoaming, offering protected and seamless Wi-Fi 6 get right of entry to to greater than 20,000 companies.

Extra just lately, Cisco, Virgin Media, and the Canary Wharf Workforce introduced the primary business OpenRoaming deployment throughout 5 million sq. ft of mixed-use construction at Picket 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 take care of a protected Wi-Fi connection around the district.

Now that the Wi-fi Broadband Alliance owns and manages OpenRoaming, the usual is primed for adoption via an much more numerous federation of members. In keeping with the WBA, trade leaders akin to Boingo Wi-fi, Cisco, GlobalReach Era, Intel, and Korea Telekom have already pledged enhance. Dr. Derek Peterson, CTO at Boingo, sums it up highest. “With the enhance of the WBA, interoperable roaming will pass additional and gas new alternatives for the 5G technology.”

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