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27 May 2022
Wi-Fi access that is automatic and secure could boost digital economies significantly
Access to Wi-Fi and the internet is crucial for cities and countries seeking to build a digital economy. Often, business owners and end users have no choice but to use expensive mobile internet services or highly insecure public Wi-Fi. Using OpenRoaming could solve this problem. OpenRoaming has been developed by Wireless Broadband Alliance (WBA). It helps venues connect users seamlessly and quickly. By removing obstacles to signing up, it also increases engagement opportunities. As users roam between different public and private Wi-Fi realms, the OpenRoaming standard frees them from the need to constantly re-register or re-enter log-in credentials, as well as providing performance guarantees and quality of experience (QoE).
1 million hotspots
With WBA just announcing that OpenRoaming hotspots have surpassed 1 million worldwide, the approach is becoming increasingly successful. OpenRoaming hotspots provide seamless and automatic Wi-Fi access, enterprise-grade security and - with Wi-Fi 6 & 6E - a carrier-grade Wi-Fi experience across multiple locations. WBA has just released a new version of OpenRoaming, which streamlines business and commercial aspects of roaming by eliminating legal and administrative hurdles.
One million OpenRoaming hotspots can be found in a variety of locations including airports, universities, stadiums and arenas, office buildings and municipalities. These include San Jose State University, Fira Barcelona Gran Via, Canary Wharf, London Stadium, Live Nation BottleRock Festival, Brazil's So Paulo/Guarulhos International Airport and various European municipalities and tourist destinations enabled by Boingo, Cisco, CommScope, Extreme Networks and other members of the federation. Airties, WBA member, recently demonstrated a proof-of-concept deployment of Wi-Fi 6 clients to a residential network, paving the way to more widely deploy OpenRoaming throughout homes.
Privacy and security
In addition, OpenRoaming helps enterprises achieve a high level of privacy and security. As a baseline, strong security is ensured. Users and enterprises will benefit from this, as it is an improvement over connecting via open, insecure networks. In an era of hybrid work cultures, secure Wi-Fi networks are critical to combat the growing threat of hacks, scams, and espionage.
Among the features of OpenRoaming release 3 are automated tools, reporting and API’s that will significantly reduce the overhead of managing and administering an OpenRoaming network, while providing federation members with a self-service portal. As a result of enhanced identity proofing, identity providers can meet both regulatory and legislative requirements as well as business and corporate needs.
Photo credit: Brandy Kennedy
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