Today I am very happy to announce that OpenRoaming, a technology we’ve been working on at Cisco for over 2 years, is no longer ours. We are handing the future of OpenRoaming, the zero-touch connectivity solution for Wi-Fi, over to the Wireless Broadband Alliance, to run as an industry standard. We know that with the WBA’s leadership, this key technology will develop as a robust and industry-supported resource, for the great benefit of mobile device users, the mobile IoT ecosystem, businesses, and internet service providers everywhere.

OpenRoaming is built on the foundation of Passpoint (Hotspot 2.0) and is designed to broaden and scale Passpoint use cases across enterprise, public, and service provider access networks. It allows a Wi-Fi device to automatically and securely connect to any Wi-Fi access point that is supported by the OpenRoaming Federation. Federation members include wireless access providers, like service providers, managed service providers, and property owners with guest Wi-Fi service; identity providers like MVNOs (mobile virtual network operators), social networks, and consumer brand companies; and equipment makers like handset and networking companies (for example: Cisco).

With OpenRoaming as a new roaming standard, and the WBA at the head of the OpenRoaming Federation and as the root certificate authority that will secure authentication traffic on the back end of the network, companies joining the OpenRoaming platform will find a neutral and level platform for innovation in simple, secure and transparent wireless access. Industry support includes endorsements from AT&T, Boingo Wireless, Cisco, Comcast Communications, GlobalReach, Google, Intel, Samsung and more.

Cisco will stay involved as a board member and workgroup contributor of the WBA, and actively participate in deploying and growing the OpenRoaming Federation.

The Easiest Wi-Fi Connections, Ever

There are over 250 million Wi-Fi hotspots across the globe, but accessing them has never been as easy, or safe, as it should be. End users often encounter hotspots that require navigating splash pages or sign-in screens – and that can often result in a confusing experience, poor performance and questionable security. With OpenRoaming, accessing a hotspot will be automatic and secure, with a predictable level of performance.

All parties involved in the sign-on transactions should benefit from the federation: Venues will connect more of their visitors and be able to provide reliable data service, carriers will have a manageable system onto which they can offload cellular traffic, and of course end users will experience the easiest Wi-Fi connection experience possible – often at no expense.

There are varying business models for providing access to OpenRoaming access points, including free and settled payment methods for service, identity, and access providers.

We look forward to working with the WBA as they lead the OpenRoaming Federation and grow the ecosystem to provide safe, easy, reliable, and well-performing Wi-Fi, everywhere.

Please see the WBA’s announcement for more information.


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Matt MacPherson

Chief Technology Officer, Wireless

Engineering - Innovation Labs