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Cisco moves WiFi roaming technology to wireless broadband consortium


The Wireless Broadband Alliance has taken over development and promotion of Cisco’s OpenRoaming technology, which lets devices move between Wi-Fi and cellular networks such as LTE without interrupting service.

OpenRoaming is built on the Passpoint (HotSpot 2.0) standard, which in turn is based on the IEEE 802.11u standard for interworking connectivity. The expectation is that WBA can bring about the broad adoption of OpenRoaming by new and existing Wi-Fi network customers, identity and service providers.

The nearly 100 member WBA includes a wide variety of industry players including AT&T, Boingo, Broadcom, Cisco, Comcast, Intel, Facebook, Google, HPE Aruba and others. The alliance has a number of initiatives including how to best converge and grow Wi-Fi 6 and 5G as those technologies ramp-up.  Some of its current initiatives involve WiFi sensing, which enables motion detection, gesture recognition, and biometric measurement by using existing Wi-Fi signals and mobile edge computing.

With OpenRoaming, device users can employ methods such as Samsung ID, their mobile SIM card, or their cloud provider to sign into OpenRoaming once, granting them seamless access to participating wireless networks around the world, according to Cisco

In addition, OpenRoaming brings together a federation of trusted identity providers, to automatically allow users to join any network managed by an OpenRoaming federation member. The membership include service providers, device manufacturers, cloud ID, or even loyalty memberships. Boingo Wireless, 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,” wrote  Matt MacPherson, Cisco’s Wireless CTO in a blog about the transfer.  WBA’s global ecosystem can integrate OpenRoaming into its technologies, regardless of equipment provider. He says that OpenRoaming supports seamless, secure roaming that can iprove Wi-Fi service in general.

Copyright © 2020 IDG Communications, Inc.

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