Public WiFi OpenRoaming proof-of-concept project completed in London

04 April 2024

The Wireless Broadband Alliance (WBA) has announced the successful completion of an advanced public WiFi OpenRoaming proof-of-concept (PoC) in Shoreditch, London.

The PoC enabled phone users to seamlessly connect to WiFi and move between cellular and WiFi connectivity via an existing OpenRoaming profile or app. The PoC was undertaken in partnership with CIN, a provider of streetside telecoms infrastructure assets in major cities; Colt Technology Services, the digital infrastructure company; and

GlobalReach Technology, a provider of high-performance wireless ISP services and solutions.

WBA OpenRoaming is an open connectivity framework for automatically and securely connecting billions of users and things to millions of WiFi networks globally through its roaming federation service. It enables users to connect automatically to WiFi securely using a profile of their choice on their device. Mobile carriers can choose to offload their cellular traffic on a selective basis to WiFi ensuring their users are always best connected. OpenRoaming creates new opportunities for all organizations, operators, and municipalities, to deploy secure access to networks and enterprise applications. Users with OpenRoaming natively on their phone, via an existing profile or their preferred app, can access WiFi automatically with no usernames or passwords, safe in the knowledge that the connection is secure, and their privacy protected.

The PoC was based on the CIN ‘Street Arc’ concept, a streetside infrastructure solution that supports mobile networks, WiFi networks, Edge, and IoT Networks. Originally developed to enable radio densification for mobile operators, Street Arc has been updated to integrate OpenRoaming capabilities, giving seamless secure offloading of cellular traffic to Wi-Fi in high traffic areas, at times when signal may be poor, or periods of high-density traffic such as major events. Street Arc installations use the Cisco Meraki MR36 access point and GlobalReach’s app to enable users to connect seamlessly to the WiFi network via an automatic connection supported by the OpenRoaming standard. Fibre and network connectivity are provided by Colt.

“Cities and municipalities seek to provide automatic, quality, and secure WiFi connectivity, this is exactly what OpenRoaming delivers,” said Tiago Rodrigues, CEO of the Wireless Broadband Alliance. “This is the kind of initiative our organization endorses; it supports our mission to enable collaboration between service providers, technology companies, cities, regulators and organizations. We look forward to the widespread deployment of these services after the successful conclusion of this live proof of concept.”