What is OpenRoaming?

OpenRoaming is a new way to automatically connect mobile devices to a Wi-Fi network and dramatically simplify the experience of accessing guest wireless. OpenRoaming allows users to automatically connect across Wi-Fi and cellular networks, including Wi-Fi 6 and 5G.

How Does OpenRoaming Deliver a Superior User Experience?

We‘ve all tried connecting to Wi-Fi in a shopping centre, airport or wherever, in most situations this ends up being a poor user experience – we have to wait for a portal to pop up (which rarely works), then we have to hand over our personal information such as name and address in order to gain access. To make it even more confusing, our phones will always tell us NOT to connect to these guest networks, because they are insecure.

OpenRoaming uses services that you’ll already be signed up to, such as Google or Facebook, to authenticate you onto a guest wireless network. The benefit of this from a user perspective is that the experience is streamlined as you no longer need to share your details with every new location you visit. OpenRoaming also allows encrypted connections, so end users will feel secure in using the network.

What are the Business Benefits of OpenRoaming?

For retailers, airports, stadia and more, OpenRoaming makes it more likely visitors will connect to their wireless network, opening the door to location-based loyalty applications. OpenRoaming will also enable sophisticated location-based analytics, allowing organisations to build unique services for their customers, gain a better understanding of how their space is being used and use data analytics to drive efficiency in workspace design.

  • Create customer value by providing seamless connectivity between Wi-Fi and LTE/5G
  • Simplify Wi-Fi guest access for your customers on site
  • Significantly increase your Wi-Fi attach rate on site
  • Better engage with your customers through Wi-Fi and your loyalty app
  • Take back ownership of your customers’ data through Wi-Fi, and drive the power
    of analytics
  • Offload traffic from cellular to Wi-Fi, reducing operational expenses for service providers

“If you look at this from a business standpoint, roaming relationships represent business relationships,” says Cisco Director of Wireless Product Management Matt MacPherson, “So if we’re extending roaming relationships to the enterprise and to public sector, we’re opening those bounds of business relationships. Whether it be for retail or education or finance, the ability to automatically connect people to the network becomes really strategic to their business. If we can connect more people more easily and securely, that’s OpenRoaming.”

What’s Next?

Cisco is leading the charge for OpenRoaming, with pilot trials having taken place at events like Mobile World Congress and Cisco Live in San Diego, and more recently the launch of the world’s first commercial trial deployment in Canary Wharf.

If you’d like to learn more then take a look at the full ‘OpenRoaming Explained’ article from Cisco.

Written by Robert Brady, Enterprise Networks Solution Consultant at Block

About Block

Block is an IT innovation business, offering expert consultancy, business transformation and managed services that help healthcare organisations to define and achieve their digital aspirations.

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