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

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

It’s simple to take with no consideration that our cellphones are all the time in search of close by towers to stay calls and streaming products and services hooked up, even if we’re at the transfer. Wi-Fi, alternatively, loves to remind us that it’s constructed otherwise. In the event you’ve ever attempted pulling up a boarding move on the airport, most effective to get caught in the back of a captive portal, then you realize the inconsistent and ceaselessly 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 revel in by means of 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 requesting passwords in convention halls. And less disapproving appears to be like from gate attendants.

The results 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 world roaming. Pc customers revel in pervasive Wi-Fi connectivity the place they didn’t have it sooner than.

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 trade fashions and leading edge products and services with pace and straightforwardness.”

Let’s discover the internal workings of OpenRoaming, what the era approach to the way forward for Wi-Fi, and the way it was once just lately deployed in one among Europe’s biggest trade facilities.


  • OpenRoaming is a federation carrier that allows seamless onboarding and a safe connection to taking part Wi-Fi networks.
  • Via enabling a cellular-like revel in, OpenRoaming facilitates consistency as you roam between mobile and Wi-Fi networks.
  • This tech is in a position 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 unbroken revel in

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 just 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, major engineer with Cisco’s administrative center of the CTAO, at a tech tournament similar to the corporate’s Wi-Fi 6 roll-out. “One in all 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 each day. With OpenRoaming, the handoff between the ones networks will also be streamlined, yielding a greater cellular revel in.

That’s what OpenRoaming guarantees to deal with. “Relieving customers from navigating to a portal, getting into a password, subscribing to a carrier, or offering private data each time they hook up with a brand new Wi-Fi community can be an important step ahead from the place we’re these days,” 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 all over the place the consumer roams, whether or not the community is understood to the consumer or now not.” It’s supposed to only paintings, like your mobile connection.

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

As an alternative, OpenRoaming creates a cloud-based federation carrier that hyperlinks relied on identification suppliers (IDPs), which deal with your credentials, and get admission to suppliers, which perform 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 software and create a safe connection. The credentials you utilize would possibly come from a tool (reminiscent of your telephone’s Samsung ID), a carrier supplier (as an example, Verizon), or an internet platform like LinkedIn. Get right of entry to to the Wi-Fi community may well be granted by means of your corporate’s IT division, a Marriott resort, or an airport. Regardless of the aggregate, all sides outline insurance policies that resolve the products and services 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 admission to suppliers, and software producers, the initiative’s advantages will turn out to be extra prevalent.

Get right of entry to suppliers can make a selection the credentials they’re keen to just accept. On the identical time, IDPs are ready to specify which get admission to suppliers their credentials are legitimate for. So, for instance, an endeavor may just onboard staff sporting IT-issued notebooks with one degree 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 benefit of deftly transferring between hotspots with uninterrupted carrier, OpenRoaming performs a starring function in a long term the place convergence between Wi-Fi and mobile drives lower-latency connections in dense environments. You need sublime handoffs between the ones heterogeneous networks, conserving their strengths whether or not you’re indoors or out of doors. When your software has the era it must get onto each networks with identical agility, they may be able to be utilized in a complementary way. Apple already does this on every occasion imaginable to get well reliability from Siri.

Matt McPherson, wi-fi CTO at Cisco, mentioned the interaction between chronic Wi-Fi and mobile hyperlinks at Mobility Box Day four overdue remaining yr. “In the event you’re hooked up 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 hooked up.”

Previous to multi-path shipping, it could have taken six or extra seconds to move 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 hooked up to the Wi-Fi community to your manner within the airport, resort foyer, or administrative center development. OpenRoaming will likely be what will get that course up and operating with out getting caught in 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 absolute best sense to offer consumers with unfettered Wi-Fi. Alternatively, OpenRoaming helps billed relationships as neatly, giving companies the liberty to select how they carry shoppers onto their networks and whether or not they need to be offering tiered products and services.

Why do I need to take part in OpenRoaming?

Extra common usage of multi-path is one instance of ways OpenRoaming will end up its value 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, if you happen to’re a retail retailer, OpenRoaming’s frictionless Wi-Fi get admission to and safe authentication lends itself to the next connect fee. That’s a bigger captive target market together with your app put in, desperate to browse gross sales driven to their telephones after they stroll within the door.

OpenRoaming is a game-changer for IDPs, too. They not wish to obstruct Wi-Fi get admission 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 admission to suppliers can get the ones customers authenticated sooner than they even notice they’re at the community. There’s additionally a possibility to assemble anonymized analytics knowledge to optimize the buyer revel in.

On the finish of the day, whether or not you’re an get admission to supplier, an identification supplier, or an ecosystem dealer, OpenRoaming has one thing to supply. “…there may be vital cost for everybody,” says Intel’s Cordeiro. “Undertaking IT departments can extra simply organize visitor Wi-Fi networks that enhance OpenRoaming. Tool distributors and companies can ensure that their units seamlessly and securely hook up with OpenRoaming-capable Wi-Fi networks. Id suppliers can get treasured details about customers. And infrastructure distributors can be offering value-added products and services to their consumers. OpenRoaming considerably lowers or gets rid of the boundaries for customers to get their units hooked up, in order that companies can center of attention on handing over value-added products and services.”

Frictionless Wi-Fi, to be had within the wild

OpenRoaming made its debut on the 2019 Cellular Global Congress (MWC) business reveal in Barcelona, Spain. Attendees with positive Samsung telephones had been ready to leap proper onto MWC’s community for a unbroken revel in around the reveal ground.

The native airport and teach stations participated within the pilot program as neatly. Despite the fact that the other organizations used their very own get admission to suppliers, they had been all a part of the similar federation, so uninterrupted Wi-Fi get admission to persevered as the ones Samsung telephones roamed into vary. It appears, maximum show-goers didn’t even notice OpenRoaming was once caring for 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 Staff, Virgin Media, and Cisco just lately introduced the primary business deployment of OpenRoaming, offering safe and seamless Wi-Fi 6 get admission to to greater than 20,000 companies.

Extra just lately, Cisco, Virgin Media, and the Canary Wharf Staff 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 rapid Wi-Fi 6 connectivity, whilst OpenRoaming makes it imaginable for citizens to deal with 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 contributors. In keeping with the WBA, trade leaders reminiscent of 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 move additional and gasoline new alternatives for the 5G technology.”

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