The nationwide shuttering of schools and businesses and stay-at-home orders have made network connectivity more important than ever to educational institutions, particularly those with staff and student populations who are underserved by existing broadband solutions or might also be economically disadvantaged.
Securely enabling these students, faculty, and staff to continue to participate in online learning, working and socializing is a need that many in the K12 and higher education communities have shared with Internet2 and InCommon. Internet2 staff fully understand the importance of connectivity during the COVID-19 pandemic and are working with the community to respond to these needs.
eduroam, research and education’s roaming wireless access service, is often cited as one possible approach to meeting some of these needs. When an institution signs up for eduroam, it is required to enable eduroam users from other participating organizations to use the network. It’s a community joined together through a federated access service and that’s why it’s so powerful.
Over the last several weeks many colleges, schools, and universities have, in compliance with state and local social distancing ordinances, made spaces such as building exteriors and parking lots available as eduroam-enabled hotspots for their communities. As Internet2 continues to work toward development of programs to serve regional and state networks with wider deployments of eduroam, we are also looking for ways to support existing eduroam connectors as they experiment with short term solutions like this in a sustainable way.