Wireless Broadband Alliance calls for single global Wi-Fi network

Global wireless ecosystem consortium unveils WBA OpenRoaming to offer automatic and secure connection of billions of devices to millions of Wi-Fi networks

With Wi-Fi 6E potentially about to create a revolution in networking, the Wireless Broadband Alliance (WBA) has invited all organisations in the Wi-Fi ecosystem to become part of a globally available Wi-Fi federation, WBA OpenRoaming.

The WBA aims to drive “seamless”, interoperable service experiences via Wi-Fi within the global wireless ecosystem and strives to enable collaboration between service providers, technology companies and all other organisations within the wireless ecosystem.

WBA OpenRoaming is designed to offer an automatic and secure connection of billions of devices to millions of Wi-Fi networks, providing a global standards-led approach, removing public-guest Wi-Fi connectivity barriers and bringing greater convenience and security to the wireless ecosystem.

The WBA insists that OpenRoaming can simplify Wi-Fi, much like the cellular roaming experience. It says companies that join WBA OpenRoaming can allow end-users to automatically connect on any Wi-Fi network managed by a federation member. This, it claims, creates a world where Wi-Fi users move from one network to another without needing to constantly re-register or sign in.

The OpenRoaming framework and standards are based on a number of key features. For cloud federation, this consists of a global database of networks and identities, dynamic discovery and the Wireless Roaming Intermediary Exchange (WRIX). Cyber security consists of public key infrastructure and RadSec providing the certificate policy, management and brokerage services, while network automation is facilitated by an automated roaming consortium framework and policy and Wi-Fi certified passpoint.

For organisations and businesses, WBA believes OpenRoaming can provide the opportunity to create new commercial business models and innovative services with speed and simplicity. It sees use cases from enterprises to coffee shops, concert venues and even connected cars.

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“Wi-Fi is already arguably the most successful wireless technology of our time, but with these globally agreed standards and policies, we can take public-guest Wi-Fi to another level in terms of ease of use and global availability,” said WBA CEO Tiago Rodrigues.

“WBA OpenRoaming creates an open framework for all types of players to join and develop their Wi-Fi services and create new business opportunities. We invite venues, vendors and operator/identity providers to join WBA OpenRoaming and revolutionise Wi-Fi usage around the world.”

Companies that join WBA OpenRoaming will be included in a federation of identity and network providers.

Declaring OpenRoaming open for business, the WBA revealed that companies already supporting the federation include: Airmesh, AirTies, Aprecomm, American Tower, Aptilo, AT&T, Boingo Wireless, Broadcom Inc, Cisco, Cityroam, Comcast, Commscope, Deutsche Telekom, Eduroam, Eleven Software, GlobalReach Technology, Google, Hub One, Hughes Systique Corp, Intel Corporation, IT&E, m3connect, Nomosphere, Orange, Purple Wi-Fi, Samsung, Single Digits, Sun Global, Veniam, WifiCoin and Zephyrte.

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