More room for roaming

NORDUnet donates IPR for geteduroam software along with EUR 60,000 to the geteduroam open-source consortium.

The eduroam service for global, secure mobility allows access to Wi-Fi at almost every university campus and research institutions around the world. The service was developed by the NREN community and has been tremendously successful, enabling researchers and students to seamlessly use Wi-Fi when travelling. 

Nearly all universities in the world have joined eduroam. In this respect, the uptake is very high. However, the number of actual users at those universities may not be equally high. 

“Here’s the thing”, says Lars Fischer, Strategy & Policy Officer at NORDUnet, "Eduroam is not top of mind when you are at home. And not until you find yourself in a situation abroad where the service would be useful do you realize that you should have gotten your username and password at your home institution and installed it on your devices. This can be a showstopper for users.”

To help in this situation – and in general, to drive deployment of eduroam to user devices – the Nordic NRENs, SURF, and NORDUnet, during the NORDUnet Technical Workshop in 2017, developed the idea of “geteduroam”, an app you download from an Appstore that automatically configures your device to use eduroam. 

geteduroam has since been developed and made available to the first groups of users. The development has been funded by NORDUnet and SURF with support from the GN4-3 project.

Always intended to become Open Source

Like eduroam itself, geteduroam is a community product. To allow the community to contribute code and finances, and to give geteduroam a stable, sustainable home for the future, NORDUnet has donated its intellectual property rights (IPR) for geteduroam to a not-for-profit consortium. The geteduroam Consortium is hosted by The Commons Conservancy.

“NORDUnet has a clear open-source policy for software. It is essential to us that code we develop becomes community assets, supported and governed by the community it was developed for. Thus, it is very natural for us to pass on the IPR to the consortium. We are confident that the service is in good hands, that it will be further developed, and we hope that many more users will get to use geteduroam,” explains Lars Fischer.

With the IPR follows a donation of EUR 60,000.

“The money will allow the Eduroam Consortium to contract developers and keep the service up to date,” adds Lars Fischer.

The geteduroam consortium is led by a board, with members from Uninett, Funet, NORDUnet, and the GÉANT Association. The board oversees the future development of geteduroam.

A bright future for the geteduroam app

Development of geteduroam will continue to be supported by NORDUnet, the Nordic NRENs, SURF and the GN4-3 project, with more contributors joining. GÉANT Association through the GN4-3 project has taken on the operational support for the geteduroam service, making it possible for institutions to offer it to their students and staff. 

geteduroam is already available in app versions for Windows, Android, Linux, and iOS. The consortium will seek to include more platforms along with general maintenance.

Currently, pilot projects are active in more than 10 countries.

“Response so far has been highly positive. Users find geteduroam very easy to use, and IT administrators at research and education institutions are happy, since they no longer need to manage additional user accounts and passwords eduroam,” concludes Lars Fischer. In this way, geteduroam will enable far more users to use eduroam.