Wireless Broadband Alliance completes Wi-Fi OpenRoaming trial

Tuesday, 28 May, 2024

Wireless Broadband Alliance completes Wi-Fi OpenRoaming trial

The Wireless Broadband Alliance (WBA), the global industry body dedicated to improving Wi-Fi standards and services, has successfully completed an advanced public Wi-Fi OpenRoaming proof of concept (PoC) in Shoreditch, London, enabling phone users to seamlessly connect to Wi-Fi and move between cellular and Wi-Fi connectivity via an existing OpenRoaming profile or app.

WBA OpenRoaming is an open connectivity framework for automatically and securely connecting billions of users and things to millions of Wi-Fi networks globally through its roaming federation service. It enables users to connect automatically to Wi-Fi securely using a profile of their choice on their device. Mobile carriers can choose to offload their cellular traffic on a selective basis to Wi-Fi, ensuring their users are always best connected.

OpenRoaming also creates opportunities for organisations, operators and municipalities to deploy secure access to networks and enterprise applications. Users with OpenRoaming natively on their phone, via an existing profile or their preferred app, can access Wi-Fi automatically with no usernames or passwords, safe in the knowledge that the connection is secure and their privacy protected.

The PoC was undertaken in partnership with CIN, a provider of streetside telecoms infrastructure assets in major cities; Colt Technology Services, the digital infrastructure company; and GlobalReach Technology, a provider of high-performance wireless ISP services and solutions. It was based on the CIN ‘Street Arc’ concept, a streetside infrastructure solution that supports mobile networks, Wi-Fi networks, Edge and IoT networks.

Originally developed to enable radio densification for mobile operators, Street Arc has been updated to integrate OpenRoaming capabilities, giving seamless secure offloading of cellular traffic to Wi-Fi in high traffic areas, at times when signal may be poor, or periods of high-density traffic such as major events. Street Arc installations use the Cisco Meraki MR36 access point and GlobalReach’s GlobalRo.am app to enable users to connect seamlessly to the Wi-Fi network via an automatic connection supported by the OpenRoaming standard. Fibre and network connectivity are provided by Colt.

“Through our interconnected infrastructure and capacity of 100G provided to the CIN Street Arc, we are redefining the Wi-Fi experience for roamers, offering premium quality connectivity that seamlessly adapts to their needs,” said Mirko Voltolini, VP – Technology and Innovation, Colt Technology Services. “This trial demonstrates the benefits for residents and visitors when they are able to automatically roam onto a secure public Wi-Fi network, especially in areas where mobile coverage is weak. The trial achieved impressive download speeds of 340 Mbps and upload speeds of 350 Mbps.”

“Allowing visitors and guests to connect seamlessly and securely to both public and private Wi-Fi networks at scale is what we do best as a business,” added Thomas Locke, CTO of GlobalReach. “I’m delighted that globalRo.am, GlobalReach’s globally distributed AAA roaming and cellular-to-Wi-Fi offloading hub, was selected for this OpenRoaming trial for CIN’s Shoreditch deployment. GlobalRo.am also enables venues and service providers to offer other methods of offload and Wi-Fi authentication seamlessly and securely.”

The collaborators look forward to the widespread deployment of OpenRoaming services, throughout the UK and internationally, following the conclusion of the PoC.

Image credit: iStock.com/Iaremenko

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