Wi-Fi researchThe Wireless Broadband Alliance (WBA) has unveiled WBA OpenRoaming, which provides a new global standards-led approach, removing the need for participants and participants’ customers to search for Wi-Fi networks, to repeatedly enter or create login credentials or to constantly reconnect or re-register to public Wi-Fi. The organization invited “all organizations in the Wi-Fi ecosystem” to join the initiative.

WBA CEO Tiago Rodrigues said: “Wi-Fi is already arguably the most successful wireless technology of our time, but with these globally agreed standards and policies, we can take public-guest Wi-Fi to another level in terms of ease-of-use and global availability. The WBA OpenRoaming creates an open framework for all types of players to join and develop their Wi-Fi services and create new business opportunities. We invite venues, vendors and operator/identity providers to join WBA OpenRoaming and revolutionise Wi-Fi usage around the world.”

WBA OpenRoaming is designed to simplify Wi-Fi, similar to the cellular roaming experience. Companies who join WBA OpenRoaming can allow end users to automatically connect on any Wi-Fi network managed by a WBA member. This eliminates SSID-password guessing games, insecure login credentials or reconnecting to public Wi-Fi, WBA said.

Pioneering companies in the effort include Airmesh, Airties, Aprecomm, American Tower, Aptilo, AT&T, Boingo Wireless, Broadcom Inc, Cisco, Cityroam, Comcast, Commscope, Deutsche Telekom, Eduroam, Eleven Software, GlobalReachTechnology, Google, Hub One, Hughes Systique Corp, Intel Corporation, IT&E, m3connect, Nomosphere, Orange, Purple Wi-Fi, Samsung, Single Digits, Sun Global, Veniam, WifiCoin and Zephyrtel.

Among WBA OpenRoaming features:

  • Cloud federation, consisting of a global database of networks and identities, dynamic discovery and the Wireless Roaming Intermediary Exchange (WRIX)
  • Cyber security, consisting of Public Key Infrastructure and RadSec providing the certificate policy, management and brokerage services
  • Network automation, facilitated by an automated roaming consortium framework and policy and Wi-Fi CERTIFIED Passpoint®

“Under the WBA’s leadership, OpenRoaming will make it easier for more locations to offer seamless and secure Passpoint Wi-Fi to their employees and customers,” said JR Wilson, WBA Chairman and AT&T vice president of tower strategy and roaming, in a prepared statement.

Traditionally, service providers have reached agreements between each other involving Wi-Fi roaming. For example, AT&T has a deal with Boingo to roam on Boingo Wi-Fi infrastructure, as reported by Telecompetitor.

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