The technology behind eduroam is based on the IEEE 802.1X standard and a hierarchy of RADIUS proxy servers. The task force created a test bed to demonstrate the feasibility of combining a RADIUS-based infrastructure with 802.1X standard technology to provide roaming network access across research and education networks. The initial test was conducted among five institutions located in the Netherlands, Finland, Portugal, Croatia and the UK. Later, other national research and education networking organisations in Europe embraced the idea and gradually started joining the infrastructure, which was then named eduroam.
The Global eduroam Governance Committee was constituted in November 2010 and currently comprises eleven senior representatives of roaming operators in Africa, Asia-Pacific, Latin America, North America and Europe. Secretariat support is provided by the GÉANT Association, which finalised the summary charter for global eduroam governance after extensive consultation with eduroam leaders from these regions. The Terms of Reference of the GeGC is also contained in this summary charter. The GeGC members are officially appointed by the GÉANT Association on the basis of nominations from their regional roaming operators or confederation.
eduroam allows any user from an eduroam participating site to get network access at any institution connected to eduroam. Depending on local policies at the visited institutions, eduroam participants may also have additional resources at their disposal.
The role of the RADIUS hierarchy is to forward user credentials to the user’s home institution, where they can be verified and validated.
When a user requests authentication, the user’s realm determines where the request is routed to. The realm is the suffix of the user-name, delimited with ‘@’, and is derived from the organisation’s domain name.
Every institution that wants to participate in eduroam connects its institutional RADIUS server to the federation level RADIUS (FLR) server of the country where the institution is located.
The FLR is normally operated by the National Research and Education Network (NREN) of that territory. These federation-level servers have a complete list of the participating eduroam institutions in that country. This is sufficient to guarantee roaming operations.
For international roaming, a regional top-level RADIUS server is needed in order to roam the users request to the right territory. Currently there are two top-level RADIUS servers deployed in Europe.