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WBA Assumes Control of OpenRoaming from Cisco

By Ken Briodagh
March 19, 2020

In a recent announcement, the Wireless Broadband Alliance (WBA) made public its intention to take over ownership and management from Cisco of OpenRoaming as a global wireless industry standard. The move reportedly is designed to facilitate the broad adoption of OpenRoaming by new and existing Wi-Fi Networks, identity & service providers and other technology partners across the global Wi-Fi ecosystem.

WBA will take full control of the development, promotion and administration of OpenRoaming. OpenRoaming, a technology for seamless Wi-Fi onboarding developed by Cisco, is built upon a set of standards and guidelines developed by the WBA and Wi-Fi Alliance and now adopted as an industry wide initiative led by the WBA. OpenRoaming has seen much growth in the past year and is expected to play a role in delivering mobile experiences and ushering in a new era of mobile applications, the group said.

“OpenRoaming now becomes an open standard, creating a world where Wi-Fi users will be able to move seamlessly from one Wi-Fi network to another without re-registering or signing in,” said Tiago Rodrigues, CEO, WBA. “As a global wireless industry standard, WBA OpenRoaming will improve Wi-Fi services and availability, making life easier for users, and more efficient for the global mobile and Wi-Fi ecosystem. OpenRoaming is now open for business.”

OpenRoaming adheres to Wi-Fi CERTIFIED Passpoint and Wireless Roaming Intermediary Exchange (WRIX) standards. It helps bridge 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.

To do so, 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. Boingo Wireless, Cisco, GlobalReach Technology, Intel, Korea Telekom, and others already 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. We knew OpenRoaming would be a game-changing wireless technology, but the support from across the industry has even surpassed our expectations. OpenRoaming is vital to unlocking the potential of wireless communications,” said Matt MacPherson, Wireless CTO, Cisco. “Cisco has been proud to lead the OpenRoaming efforts, but we believe strongly that the WBA is the right organization to steward, with neutrality and confidence, such an important industry initiative.”


Ken Briodagh is a storyteller, writer and editor with about two decades of experience under his belt. He is in love with technology and if he had his druthers would beta test everything from shoe phones to flying cars.

Edited by Ken Briodagh
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