From small beginnings to a global service – eduroam has been a worldwide R&E success story

On 1st September 2018 eduroam turned 10, celebrating 10 years as a fully production service. From small early beginnings eduroam has expanded to be a global success with tens of thousands of hotspots in 90 countries and over a billion authentications every year.

Today research and education are increasingly global, with international collaborations working in every fi­eld of research. Academics and students are highly mobile with teams joining together around the globe. Research and Education are no longer limited to the classroom or the lab – researchers and students expect to be able to get online and work wherever and whenever they need to.

This is why eduroam was developed – to provide simple, easy-to-use WiFi roaming services to academia. One personal account wherever you are with no need to use shared guest accounts or log in using insecure web front ends.

Because visiting students, staff and researchers use their eduroam ‘home’ credentials to access Wi-Fi services on campus, they have a quick, easy and secure way to get online without campus IT support, so the IT team can focus on managing essential services for everyone. The secure login system means that passwords are kept private at all times. With eduroam, campuses become a more attractive venue for meetings and conferences, as it allows participants to access the network without assistance, and without tying up staff.

But eduroam is no longer restricted to campuses with increasing numbers of locations around the world offering eduroam access.  In particular airports, stations and sites throughout university cities are providing eduroam as a simple, scalable access service for students and researchers.

The core technologies behind eduroam are now being used to provide access in a range of other fields and the success of govroam (providing roaming access for government staff and civil servants) in the UK and across the Benelux region shows that those initial WiFi hotspots ten years ago were the start of something very special

With the first 10 years under its belt, eduroam is going from strength to strength and we look forward to being able to #love2eduroam in even more places in the future.

Why eduroam is essential for R&E

The requirement to provide visitors with secure access to the local Wi-Fi service can cause huge administrative headaches. Resources must be allocated either to providing and supporting temporary accounts on a person-by-person basis (which can be extremely time-consuming and expensive on a large campus), or public guest accounts must be used.

Even if these are changed daily, these guest accounts can cause audit issues, as many simultaneous users sharing the same account make it difficult to track any inappropriate web use.