Original Article by June 28, 2022/
The City of Edmonton has launched eduroam — the secure Wi-Fi service for the global research and higher education community — across 120 locations in the city, giving thousands of higher education staff and students a safe and easy way to connect to the internet. This move puts Edmonton among the top smart cities in the world that offer eduroam throughout their public spaces.
Any staff or student from an eduroam-connected organization — including local post-secondary institutions such as MacEwan University, NAIT, and the University of Alberta, as well as ones from around the world — can now automatically connect to the internet when they enter a City of Edmonton facility, including the LRT line.
eduroam is a secure, global, Wi-Fi roaming service developed by the international research and education community, and available in more than 100 countries and 30,000 locations worldwide, including airports, train stations, and even vending machines.
It allows seamless Wi-Fi connectivity for students, researchers, and staff from participating higher-ed institutions — whether they are on their campus or visiting other participating institutions and community sites. Once they enter an eduroam-enabled space, their linked phones, tablets or laptops will immediately sign on to a secure internet connection.
“We began rolling out eduroam in the fall of 2021 as a way to simplify our previous system for offering student Wi-Fi, while building on Edmonton’s Open City Initiative, which is looking to create a more accessible city,” says John Middleton, Team Lead, Network Services. “We found eduroam to be an elegant solution that was relatively easy to roll out across all our locations that offer Wi-Fi. We also didn’t need any special connection to the education facilities to make this work, which is a plus. Now, people who are riding on the LRT can connect to the internet through eduroam, which is pretty cool.”
In Canada, the eduroam service is managed and operated by CANARIE, Cybera’s federal partner in the National Research and Education Network (NREN), which supports more than 10 million eduroam logins per month. The connection comes as CANARIE and its provincial and territorial partners in the NREN, including Cybera in Alberta, look to expand the reach of eduroam to more public spaces.
“It’s exciting to see the widespread reach of eduroam in Edmonton, which will positively impact thousands of residents and visitors,” says Barb Carra, President and CEO of Cybera, Alberta’s research and education network facilitator. “This move comes two years after the Edmonton Public Library became the first public institution in Alberta to offer eduroam, and confirms the City’s commitment to developing smart technologies for the public good.”
“We look forward to working with more municipalities across the province to launch eduroam, as it is an easy way to provide greater internet coverage, in a safe and effective manner.”
Creating a secure web login experience
The eduroam service was developed by the global research and education community to eliminate the administrative effort of offering secure internet access to staff and visitors. Previously, this required allocating extra resources to either providing and supporting temporary login accounts on a person-by-person basis (which can be time-consuming and expensive), or offering the use of public guest accounts, which come with their own security vulnerabilities.
eduroam allows higher education students, researchers, and staff to seamlessly connect automatically using their home institution’s login credentials as they roam around the globe.
“Leveraging a trusted authentication system for access adds value for the City of Edmonton,” adds Middleton. “It enables us to offer more service to more people for minimal investment. Definitely a win-win-win.”
For more information, contact Cybera’s project management team.