WBA to take control of Wi-Fi OpenRoaming

Cisco: ‘OpenRoaming is vital to unlocking the potential of wireless communications’

The Wireless Broadband Alliance (WBA) will assume ownership and management of OpenRoaming as a global wireless industry standard, which the alliance stated will facilitate the broad adoption of OpenRoaming by new and existing Wi-Fi Networks and providers around the world.

OpenRoaming, developed by Cisco, allows seamless Wi-Fi onboarding and is built upon a set of standards and guidelines developed by the WBA and Wi-Fi Alliance. The technology has undergone “tremendous growth in the past year” and the WBA expects it to play a crucial role in the next era of mobile experiences.

A user can join any network managed by any provider within the established trusted federation of providers. The network is then able to automatically authenticate devices by using established identity providers, such as a service provider, device manufacturer, cloud ID or even loyalty memberships.

Further, OpenRoaming adheres to Passpoint and Wireless Roaming Intermediary Exchange (WRIX) standards, helping bridge the gap between Wi-Fi and cellular networks by making it easy and safe for users to roam between Wi-Fi networks without having to deal with those annoying sign-in screens that only seems to work half the time.

“OpenRoaming is the latest flavor of Passpoint technology that removes borders between cellular and Wi-Fi connectivity,” said Dr. Derek Peterson, CTO at Boingo. “With the support of the WBA, interoperable roaming will go further and fuel new opportunities for the 5G era.”

Since his relatively recent appointment as WBA CEO, Tiago Rodrigues has been a huge advocate for the Wi-Fi roaming technology. He has felt, from the very beginning, that connectivity should be seamless and secure, which he claimed while assuming his new role, was only possible if the WBA continues “to enhance the quality of experience on Wi-Fi roaming.”

“OpenRoaming is now open for business,” he said in the alliance’s latest announcement.

“I call on anyone with a Wi-Fi network, private or public, coffee shop or sports stadia or any other type of venue, to join our open ecosystem in order for the service they offer to their users to be automatic, secure and interoperable, making their networks available to a wider audience,” he provided.

WBA sees this technology expanding beyond a user accessing the internet from their smartphone or laptop. According to a statement, WBA is already seeing interest in using OpenRoaming for autonomous and connected vehicles and retail analytics.

Matt MacPherson, Cisco’s Wireless CTO, said that while Cisco and WBA knew OpenRoaming would be “a game-changing wireless technology,” he is still shocked by the sheer amount of support the technology has received.

“The support from across the industry has even surpassed our expectations. OpenRoaming is vital to unlocking the potential of wireless communications,” he stated.

 

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