Monday, 14 June 2021

TIP backs WBA’s OpenRoaming standards ahead of OpenWiFi launch

by Harry Baldock, Total Telecom
Thursday 06 May 21

The Telecom Infra Project (TIP) says that adopting the Wireless Broadband Alliance (WBA)’s OpenRoaming standard will help them build an ecosystem of interconnected WiFi networks around the world

Today, the WBA has announced that TIP has adopted their OpenRoaming standards, ahead of the launch of TIP’s own OpenWiFi project next week.    According to the WBA website, OpenRoaming is a ‘federation service enabling an automatic and secure WiFi experience globally’, based on three key elements: cloud federation, whereby networks and identity providers can enable automatic roaming and user onboarding on WiFi…

Today, the WBA has announced that TIP has adopted their OpenRoaming standards, ahead of the launch of TIP’s own OpenWiFi project next week. 
 
According to the WBA website, OpenRoaming is a ‘federation service enabling an automatic and secure WiFi experience globally’, based on three key elements: cloud federation, whereby networks and identity providers can enable automatic roaming and user onboarding on WiFi; cyber security, that enables simple, secure, and scalable WiFi connections amongst different organisations; and network automation, defining an automated roaming consortium codes framework to support policy provision on devices and networks.
 
In short, OpenRoaming should allow users to securely roam across WiFi networks without the need for logins and passwords. The WBA has said in the past that its ultimate goal was for the world to become “a single, giant WiFi network, allowing billions of people and their devices to connect automatically and securely to millions of Wi-Fi networks.”
 
Additional supporters of the WBA’s OpenRoaming Wi-Fi standards include AT&T, Boingo, Broadcom, Cisco, Commscope, Deutsche Telekom, Facebook, Google, Intel, Net Experience and Samsung.
 
“WBA OpenRoaming is a strong complement to OpenWiFi as both projects are designed to remove barriers to connectivity,” said Tiago Rodrigues, CEO of Wireless Broadband Alliance. “The WBA and TIP are both envisioning a world, hopefully not too far away, where digital connectivity becomes simpler and more streamlined for the entire ecosystem of communications service providers, OEMs, enterprises and consumers.”
 
TIP is perhaps best known more recently for its work on advancing Open RAN technology, but the organisation has in fact worked on Wi-Fi initiatives for a number of years. Their OpenWiFi initiative is scheduled for launch next week, arguing that it is fundamentally time to rethink WiFi networks, with disaggregation as its central principle. 
 
“Open Wi-Fi began with the promise of disaggregating the traditional locked in tech stack associated with managed Wi-Fi services. Part of delivering on that promise is to offer a premium Wi-Fi experience that aligns with service providers, enterprises, and carriers alike while remaining open source and delivered from a community eco-system with commercial quality,” says Chris Busch, co-chair of the TIP Open Converged Wireless group.
 
The growth in interest in all things Open seems to be a natural continuation of the growing successes of Open RAN. At the start of the year, a group of European operators, including Deutsche Telekom, Vodafone, Orange, TIM, and Telefonica all signing a memorandum of understanding committing them to roll out the tech in their respective markets.
 
While it remains to be seen exactly how well this new technology will be able to challenge the dominance of traditional RAN vendors, the desire for more a more diverse, interoperable solution ecosystem is clear. It seems only natural that this would also be true for WiFi too.
 
 
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