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OpenRoaming FAQ

Networking Solutions Q and A

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Updated:January 28, 2021

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    (79.0 KB)
    View with Adobe Reader on a variety of devices
Updated:January 28, 2021

Table of Contents



The Wireless Broadband Alliance and OpenRoaming

Q.  Why is Cisco transferring OpenRoaming to WBA?
A.   OpenRoaming is a global Wi-Fi roaming federation developed by Cisco, that enables a seamless and secure connection to Wi-Fi among a trusted network of roaming partners. It is based upon a set of industry standards including Wi-Fi CERTIFIED Passpoint from the Wi-Fi Alliance and the Wireless Roaming Intermediary Exchange (WRiX) from the Wireless Broadband Alliance.
Cisco developed the capability but recognize that scale comes with ensuring open standards are maintained and are accessible to all, which they feel is best managed by a neutral organisation focused on maintaining Wi-Fi Roaming standards globally.
Q.  What role does WBA have with OpenRoaming?
A.   WBA has worked since 2010 with its members to develop and evolve the necessary standards to ensure that Wi-Fi roaming had all the necessary components to work seamlessly and securely. Going forward, WBA will manage the development, promotion and administration of OpenRoaming by providing an open platform and developing and maintaining the new standards and operation for seamless, secure and automatic Wi-Fi Roaming and interoperability across the wireless ecosystem.
Q.  Who will WBA be working with on OpenRoaming after it is transferred from Cisco?
A.   This includes but is not limited to operators and service providers, vendors, hub providers, cities, enterprises and venues that recognise the opportunity created by the growing demand for Wi-Fi and Wi-Fi roaming.

About OpenRoaming

Access provider benefits

     Significantly increase Wi-Fi attach rate by simplifying and automating the guest Wi-Fi onboarding process

     Provide a better user experience in your venue by offering seamless and secure connectivity to Wi-Fi and seamless roaming between Wi-Fi and LTE/5G

     Take back ownership of your customer data, and get more valuable and actionable analytics

     Drive better customer engagement by leveraging the power of analytics with Cisco DNA Spaces, including loyalty integration

Identity provider benefits (cloud)

     Provide a better customer experience and increase platform stickiness by enabling a seamless Wi-Fi onboarding experience

     Extend your footprint into the enterprise space

     Drive innovation, including path selection, handoff, and multipath

Service provider benefits

     Offload traffic from cellular to Wi-Fi

     Extend your network footprint indoors, increasing coverage for customers

     Collect and analyze data on customer behavior

End user benefits

     A more seamless and secure Wi-Fi experience

     Data coverage no matter where you go, always connected

     Free and qualitative wireless access

     Personalized engagements

Q.  What is OpenRoaming?
A.   OpenRoaming enables secure and seamless Wi-Fi access. It does so by leveraging and a federation of identity and access providers brought together via the Wireless Broadband Alliance to provide seamless and secure roaming between cellular and Wi-Fi to solve some of the most common challenges we face as an always-connected society. This includes eliminating the painful experience of Wi-Fi onboarding through captive portals, the security challenges of joining an unknown and untrusted network, and the loss of valuable insight into user behavior when no wireless is available or consumers choose not to attach.
Q.  What is new with OpenRoaming?
A.   For the end user, OpenRoaming helps ensure that they are always connected, attaching users automatically, securely, and seamlessly to indoor Wi-Fi networks.
For wireless networks, the Cisco DNA Spaces wizard helps automate the configuration process while providing administrators granular control over who can join the network and at what access levels guests can join.
Identity providers now get to offer their users the benefit of free and qualitative Wi-Fi access.
The Wireless Broadband Alliance has standardized on OpenRoaming as its standard hotspot technology, so users and networks around the world can enjoy this new technology in the years to come.
Q.  How do I join as an access provider?
A.   If you are a Cisco DNA Spaces customer, OpenRoaming is already part of your license. All you need to do is set it up via the Cisco DNA Spaces wizard.
Q.  How do I join as an identity provider?
A.   At this point Cisco still selects identity providers carefully. Please get in touch with a Cisco representative or with the Wireless Broadband Alliance if you want to be considered for OpenRoaming as an identity provider.
Q.  If I am not a Cisco DNA Spaces customer, do I need to buy Cisco DNA Spaces?
A.   You can try Cisco DNA Spaces and OpenRoaming for free with a 60-day trial. You can purchase the Cisco DNA Spaces SEE package, or you will receive it as part of the Cisco DNA Advantage package.
Q.  Do I need a Cisco ® wireless network to enable OpenRoaming?
A.   Yes, but as part of the Wireless Broadband Alliance standardization, other vendors may choose to support OpenRoaming.
Q.  What standards does OpenRoaming use?
A.   OpenRoaming is built on the Passpoint and Hotspot 2.0 standards and leverages many authentication standards, including RADIUS, Extensible Authentication Protocol (EAP), and OAuth v2.
Q.  Can anyone join?
A.   Any user can join an OpenRoaming network with a simple app that verifies their identity. You may also be automatically onboarded by your service provider or device manufacturer. For example, Samsung users can join automatically from their Samsung device (Android 10 and later).
Q.  How secure is OpenRoaming?
A.   OpenRoaming leverages secure authentication protocols such as RadSec, EAP-Transport Layer Security (EAP-TLS), EAP-Tunneled TLS (EAP-TTLS), or EAP-Authentication and Key Agreement (AKA). All authentication traffic is TLS encrypted. OpenRoaming networks are secure networks and leverage Wi-Fi Protected Access (WPA)2-Enterprise or WPA3 over-the-air encryption, and as such offer enterprise-grade protection, unlike current open wireless guest networks.
Q.  Who are the members of the federation?
A.   Top venues around the world, including Cannery Wharf and the Fira de Barcelona, as well as identify providers such as Samsung, Boingo Wireless, and many others.
Q.  Do you have an app for my phone?
A.   Yes, it is called OpenRoaming and it is available in the Apple App Store and Google Play Store. It will allow you to join OpenRoaming with either your Google ID or Apple ID.
Q.  Can I enroll my loyalty members in OpenRoaming so they can receive preferential treatment in my venues?
A.   Yes, Cisco has developed an SDK that enables easy integration into your loyalty app. Your loyalty users connect to your Wi-Fi network in your venues automatically, and you can detect them, get actionable insights from Cisco DNA Spaces, and engage with them to provide an even more meaningful experience.
Q.  As an access provider (wireless network), can I control who attaches to my wireless network?
A.   Any network that enables OpenRoaming can set policies to determine which types of identities or which specific identity providers it will accept.
Q.  Does OpenRoaming respect my privacy?
A.   Yes, OpenRoaming is designed to be able to operate with strict privacy controls, and an end user can choose what information will be shared with wireless networks, if any.
Q.  What are the minimum requirements for a wireless network?

     Cisco AireOS based WLC running AireOS 8.3 or later plus Cisco DNA Spaces SEE

     Cisco Catalyst 9800 WLC running IOS-XE 16.12 or later plus Cisco DNA Spaces SEE

     Cisco Meraki® plus Cisco DNA Spaces SEE




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