OpenRoaming FAQ’s

OpenRoaming FAQ’s2020-05-22T12:33:45+01:00

WBA Assumes Control of OpenRoaming

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OpenRoaming is a global Wi-Fi roaming federation developed by Cisco, that enables a seamless and secure connection to Wi-Fi among a trusted network of roaming partners. It is based upon a set of industry standards including Wi-Fi CERTIFIED PasspointTM from the Wi-Fi Alliance and the Wireless Roaming Intermediary Exchange (WRiX) from the Wireless Broadband Alliance.

Cisco have developed the capability but recognize that scale comes with ensuring open standards are maintained and are accessible to all, which they feel is best managed by a neutral organisation focused on maintaining Wi-Fi Roaming standards globally.

WBA has worked since 2010 with its members to develop and evolve the necessary standards to ensure that Wi-Fi roaming had all the necessary components to work seamlessly and securely. Going forward, WBA will manage the development, promotion and administration of OpenRoaming by providing an open platform and developing and maintaining the new standards and operation for seamless, secure and automatic Wi-Fi Roaming & interoperability across the wireless ecosystem.

This includes but is not limited to:- operators & service providers, vendors, hub providers, cities, enterprises and venues that recognise the opportunity created by the growing demand for Wi-Fi and Wi-Fi roaming.

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.  OpenRoaming bridges 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.  For users who are customers of these ‘identity providers’ this means they will simply automatically connect.

The answer is all three! OpenRoaming now becomes an open standard and the best practice for Wi-Fi Roaming globally. It creates a world where end-users are able to move seamlessly and automatically from one Wi-Fi network to another without the need to re-register, while also guaranteeing a secure connection.

Companies that operate a Wi-Fi network should care about OpenRoaming because:

  • It allows new customers to automatically join their existing network
  • It allows their customers to automatically and securely connect and roam across Wi-Fi networks in their home country and overseas

Establishing multi-peer roaming agreements and standards between network providers can be a challenging process – making it difficult to scale relations and services. WBA OpenRoaming allows operators and network providers to build a strong Wi-Fi ecosystem across all geographic markets and develop Wi-Fi roaming services.

Additionally, WBA OpenRoaming enables networks to enlarge their footprint using an established business framework that is accepted by the majority of the leading Wi-Fi roaming providers globally. OpenRoaming is a means to scale and grow their roaming and offload business effectively.

WBA will promote OpenRoaming as the new roaming standard and provide guidelines to allow mobile network customers to automatically and securely connect and roam across Wi-Fi networks in their home country and overseas.

WBA OpenRoaming provides a number of benefits for operators and service providers, including:

  • Solving the discovery and authentication challenge for your customers by providing automatic and secure Wi-Fi with other WBA OpenRoaming members
  • Provides unprecedented global reach of millions of Wi-Fi Hotspots supported by WBA OpenRoaming partners
  • Grows and scales your Wi-Fi business revenues (roaming and offload) or can provides opportunities to develop new business revenues and customers.
  • Future-proofs your network for convergence with 5G (WRiX + Passpoint®)
  • Enables you to easily build new roaming partnerships and enlarge your Wi-Fi portfolio of services
WBA OpenRoaming provides a number of benefits for hub providers, including:

  • Support partner networks via the WBA OpenRoaming platform
  • Grow your relationships and transactions leading to business and revenue growth.
  • Provides an off-the-shelf solution using WBA OpenRoaming to connect operators and service providers
  • Secures revenues as a WBA roaming agent (PKI certificate registration authority and/or WBAID broker)
  • Accelerates Wi-Fi roaming portfolio
  • Accelerates next generation Wi-Fi deployments to deliver streamlined network selection and secure connectivity with Passpoint®
WBA OpenRoaming provides a number of benefits for cities, enterprises and venues, including:

  • Extends relationships with customers beyond their own city, enterprise and venue
  • Secures new revenue streams not previously possible
  • Provides seamless and secure Wi-Fi roaming with other WBA OpenRoaming members
  • Extends and builds new relationships to create new business opportunities
OpenRoaming is an open platform for WBA members and partners.
Any company that owns or manages a Wi-Fi network, whether an operator, city, enterprise or venue, can become part of WBA OpenRoaming and enable their customers to automatically authenticate and connect to other national or international Wi-Fi networks within the WBA Roaming Federation ecosystem – creating and enhancing business revenues and customer satisfaction.WBA OpenRoaming enables a company to swiftly and easily create the commercial and technical components for multi-way relationships that provide access to potentially millions of hotspots.
Joining the WBA Roaming Federation & Open Roaming requires only a few steps:

  • Sign up for WBA Roaming Federation (Free for WBA Members)
  • Adopt Roaming Consortium OI (RCOI)
  • Choose the Roaming Interconnection Model through roaming hub, P2P connection or OpenRoaming standard
  • Select the partners, venues and organizations you wish to roam with
  • Implement WBA RoamingID on the network
  • You are ready to ROAM!
WBA OpenRoaming has no commercial arrangements with end user customers. WBA OpenRoaming members will define and manage the services that they plan to have on their networks and/or available to their customers, those may include Wi-Fi Offload, Wi-Fi Roaming, Wi-Fi Calling, Advertising among many others.
Yes, WBA OpenRoaming provides a platform for their members to develop their services and enable companies to support roaming over their own network and/or customers. OpenRoaming will not define or mandate any specific SSID or branding to their members.
OpenRoaming leverages secure authentication protocols such as RadSec, EAP-Transport Layer Security (EAP-TLS), EAP-Tunneled TLS (EAP-TTLS),EAP-SIM or EAP-Authentication and Key Agreement (AKA). All authentication traffic is TLS encrypted. OpenRoaming networks are secure networks and leverage Wi-Fi Protected Access (WPA)2-Enterprise or WPA3 over-the-air encryption, and as such offer enterprise-grade protection, unlike current open wireless guest networks.
Cisco have rolled out OpenRoaming to a number of their customers’, however we are at the early stages of adoption where WBA will take the leadership and drive to scale globally working with our Roaming members.  So whilst OpenRoaming today will have limited impact on our current direct situation, in the future the ability to connect automatically to a Wi-Fi network will  significantly enhance the ability to work remotely, connect with family and friends, wherever you are in the world. In addition, policies can be applied to give priority to emergency services in challenging situations. This will not only help offset some of the challenges of global or national emergencies but more generally enhance productivity of the global workforce and help to support a positive work/life balance.