The Wireless Broadband Alliance (WBA) today announced its intention to take over ownership and management of OpenRoaming as a global wireless industry standard. The move, in line with the WBA’s history and leadership on Wi-Fi Roaming services and interoperability, is designed to facilitate the broad adoption of OpenRoaming by new and existing Wi-Fi Networks, identity & service providers and other technology partners across the global Wi-Fi ecosystem.
WBA will take full control of the development, promotion and administration of OpenRoaming. OpenRoaming, a technology for seamless Wi-Fi onboarding developed by Cisco, is built upon a set of standards and guidelines developed by the WBA and Wi-Fi Alliance and now adopted as an industry wide initiative led by the WBA. OpenRoaming has seen tremendous growth in the past year and is expected to play a crucial role in delivering great mobile experiences and ushering in a new era of mobile applications.
Announcing the move, WBA CEO, Tiago Rodrigues said: “OpenRoaming now becomes an open standard, creating a world where Wi-Fi users will be able to move seamlessly from one Wi-Fi network to another without re-registering or signing in. As a global wireless industry standard, WBA OpenRoaming will improve Wi-Fi services and availability, making life easier for users, and more efficient for the global mobile and Wi-Fi ecosystem.
“OpenRoaming is now open for business,” he added, “and 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.”
OpenRoaming adheres to Wi-Fi CERTIFIED Passpoint® and Wireless Roaming Intermediary Exchange (WRIX) standards. It helps bridge the gap between Wi-Fi and cellular networks and allows users to seamlessly and securely roam between Wi-Fi networks without the use of splash pages or sign-in screens.
To do so, OpenRoaming brings together a federation of trusted identity providers, allowing users to join any network managed by a federation member. The network is able to automatically authenticate devices by using established identity providers, such as a service provider, device manufacturer, cloud ID, or even loyalty memberships. Industry leaders including Boingo Wireless, Cisco, GlobalReach Technology, Intel®, Korea Telekom, and others have pledged support for OpenRoaming.
“There is considerable pull from the industry and our customers, both enterprise and service provider, to automate secure onboarding across multiple verticals. We knew OpenRoaming would be a game-changing wireless technology, but the support from across the industry has even surpassed our expectations. OpenRoaming is vital to unlocking the potential of wireless communications,” said Matt MacPherson, Wireless CTO, Cisco. “Cisco has been proud to lead the OpenRoaming efforts, but we believe strongly that the WBA is the right organization to steward, with neutrality and confidence, such an important industry initiative.”
As a result of this initiative, WBA’s global ecosystem can now integrate OpenRoaming into its technologies, regardless of equipment provider. By unlocking this innovation, the WBA is empowering the entire industry to take advantage of seamless and secure roaming so that providers, vendors and users can embrace new opportunities and enjoy improved Wi-Fi services.
As 5G, Wi-Fi 6 and other next generation wireless technologies take hold, immersive and bandwidth-intensive applications will become the norm. In order to ensure that those applications are available as people are on the move, seamless roaming between networks will become even more be necessary.
The application of this technology also extends beyond smartphones. Companies are already trialing OpenRoaming for autonomous and connected vehicles, and commercial developers are using OpenRoaming and location analytics tools to better understand how shoppers, patrons or employees are utilizing their space. For many consumer and enterprise use cases, OpenRoaming will be at the core of these wireless efforts.