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eduroam Helps Provide Critical Connectivity During COVID-19

Colleges and universities use wireless service in creative ways

May 11, 2020

The nationwide shuttering of schools and businesses and stay-at-home orders have made network connectivity more important than ever to educational institutions, particularly those with staff and student populations who are underserved by existing broadband solutions or might also be economically disadvantaged. 

eduroam logo

Securely enabling these students, faculty, and staff to continue to participate in online learning, working and socializing is a need that many in the K12 and higher education communities have shared with Internet2 and InCommon. Internet2 staff fully understand the importance of connectivity during the COVID-19 pandemic and are working with the community to respond to these needs. 

eduroam, research and education’s roaming wireless access service, is often cited as one possible approach to meeting some of these needs. When an institution signs up for eduroam, it is required to enable eduroam users from other participating organizations to use the network. It’s a community joined together through a federated access service and that’s why it’s so powerful. 

Over the last several weeks many colleges, schools, and universities have, in compliance with state and local social distancing ordinances, made spaces such as building exteriors and parking lots available as eduroam-enabled hotspots for their communities. As Internet2 continues to work toward development of programs to serve regional and state networks with wider deployments of eduroam, we are also looking for ways to support existing eduroam connectors as they experiment with short term solutions like this in a sustainable way. 

If you’re interested in promoting eduroam access to your students or and making it easier for other students to access your wireless network, here are some actions you can take:

  • Promote the JISC eduroam Companion App, a handy cell phone app that uses location services to show nearby eduroam access points
  • Check the US eduroam map and make sure your information is correct
  • Talk to your network administrators about making your eduroam enabled wifi available to public areas conducive to safe social distancing practices

To balance day-to-day operational requirements with the demands of COVID-19 response, wide-scale new deployments and drastic changes to existing deployments must be prioritized carefully. And because eduroam is a global service that is overseen by an international governance body, Internet2 must take care to ensure that our delivery of the eduroam service complies with the requirements of that global community. 

InCommon will present a special edition of the IAM Online webinar series  to provide an overview of eduroam and a look at  what three eduroam connectors have done to support their communities. Please join us Monday, May 18, at 2 pm ET to participate. See the IAM Online web page for information on how to connect.