Users of WiFi networks find it very inconvenient to have to switch networks manually and enter their credentials constantly when they are on the move. To avoid this, the organisations involved are working hard to develop valuable alternatives. One of them is the technology known as OpenRoaming™. Do you know it? If not, don’t worry, we bring you the basics you need to know about it and how it relates to other solutions such as Passpoint.
What is OpenRoaming™?
OpenRoaming™ is a service developed by the Wireless Broadband Alliance (WBA) that allows users to connect from one network to another, be it WiFi, 4G or 5G, without the need for manual reconnections or the need to enter login credentials. This is made possible by the federation of the different networks involved in OpenRoaming™, as well as the identity providers.
OpenRoaming™ has a number of key defining features, including:
- A federation of networks and cloud identity providers, which is based on the WBA’s own Wireless Roaming Intermediary Exchange (WRIX) standards and which allows different business models to be scaled and facilitated under a harmonised framework.
- Cybersecurity: This network hopping is completely secure for users, with encrypted communications using WPA-2 and WPA-3 protocols, the use of Public Key Infrastructure (PKI RadSec), EAP-Transport Layer Security (EAP-TLS), EAP-Tunneled TLS (EAP-TTLS), EAP-Authentication and Key Agreement (AKA) and Wi-Fi CERTIFIED Passpoint®.
- Network automation thanks to the fact that organisations managing a CERTIFIED Passpoint® Wi-Fi network can become part of the WBA OpenRoaming™ federation.
Advantages of OpenRoaming™
The success of OpenRoaming™ is based on a number of benefits, both for the providers and owners of the networks, as well as for their own users. Let’s highlight the most important ones.
Advantages for suppliers
The fact that WiFi networks are easier and more automatic to access means that higher ratios of connected versus unconnected users are expected. As a result, the providers of these networks can, for example, deliver personalised messages with offers or any content of interest to more users.
On the other hand, OpenRoaming™ WiFi technology makes it possible to monitor the behaviour of these users, both at the network level and in context. These Location Analytics solutions are a great resource when designing strategies focused on meeting people’s needs and demands.
As an example, public administrations can focus their efforts on generating tourism actions (Smart Tourism), industries can better manage their assets or retail companies can make offers with a higher success rate. In short, the user experience is greatly optimised, the available resources are optimised and greater loyalty is achieved.
This fidelity also goes hand in hand with the fact that there are no interruptions when switching between networks.
Benefits for users
If we put ourselves on the side of the network user, we find benefits such as:
- Higher connection speed.
- Greater fluidity.
- Safer and more reliable connections.
- More reliable connection in indoor scenarios.
- Lower battery consumption of connecting WiFi devices.
- Possibility to receive location-based messages of interest.
What is the relationship between OpenRoaming™ and Passpoint, and how do they differ?
At this point, you may be wondering about the relationship and difference between the Wi-Fi Alliance’s Wi-Fi CERTIFIED Passpoint standard and OpenRoaming™. Broadly speaking, we can say that the two services are 100% compatible.
The two work together, with Wi-Fi CERTIFIED Passpoint being one of the technologies underpinning OpenRoaming. In fact, the WBA itself states that one of the goals of OpenRoaming™ is to accelerate the adoption of Passpoint.
Remember that Wi-Fi CERTIFIED Passpoint serves to facilitate automatic access to Wi-Fi hotspots so that users do not have to search for the network and authenticate each time they want to connect.
So what is the difference between the two? Well, while Wi-Fi CERTIFIED Passpoint operates on a more local level (with the identification on the network or operator’s RADIUS server), OpenRoaming focuses on a much wider geographical environment thanks to the coordination of federated directories that are even coordinated on a global level.
The development and adoption of OpenRoaming™ is a new step forward in favour of user experience and better management of WiFi networks, as well as of the assets of companies and institutions thanks to the knowledge of the habits of customers and citizens.
Galgus also contributes to these benefits with our patented CHT (Cognitive Hotspot Technology) and solutions such as Location Analytics. In addition, at Galgus we have the Wi-Fi CERTIFIED Passpoint® seal, so we do our bit for the development of OpenRoaming™. If you are interested in finding out how we can contribute to the deployment of your smart WiFi network with these features and more, contact us now.