Cisco UK & Ireland Blog

How Cisco plans to connect the world with OpenRoaming

May 22, 2019

It’s fair to say that between social media, mobile maps, online banking and the hundreds of other apps we all use our smartphones for, the internet has become a utility nearly as crucial as water and electricity to the functioning of our society.

So, in an age of unparalleled connectivity, we’re aiming to elevate Cisco’s public Wi-Fi offerings to a new standard with a new initiative: OpenRoaming.

What is OpenRoaming?

With OpenRoaming, users will have seamless access to Wi-Fi at any participating location, anywhere in the world.

Built off our industry standard HotSpot 2.0 technology, you’ll be able to use a ‘digital ID’ such as your mobile’s SIM card, or a cloud provider to access Wi-Fi networks that are signed up to OpenRoaming.

And just like your private Wi-Fi network at home or in the office, once you’re connected to OpenRoaming you will never have to sign in again.

This is because the HotSpot 2.0 technology sets off a beacon in the SSID of your mobile phone which lets it know when you’re in an OpenRoaming supported Wi-Fi network.

This means no more generic, unsecure usernames and passwords to access public networks, or annoying captive portals which require your personal details.

Just simple, seamless connectivity.

How are we doing this?

OpenRoaming is still in its beta phase, but we are working with several digital ID firms such as Samsung (the Samsung Galaxy S10 and upwards and Note can connect to OpenRoaming straight out of the box), and Wi-Fi network providers to ensure high-quality networks across the board.

OpenRoaming doesn’t share any identifiable information with the Wi-Fi host.  All associated Wi-Fi networks will be protected by enterprise-grade security protocols, rendering the system incredibly secure.

We will also be leveraging emerging technologies including 5G and Wi-Fi 6 networks with the aim of accelerating their development and adoption.

As ever, this powerful new solution will be on show in our network of co-innovation centres across the EMEAR region.

What does this mean for businesses?

Free Wi-Fi has been a must for businesses for a while now.

Organisations of all kinds: not just libraries and banks, either – even my butcher now has a Wi-Fi network that customers can connect to.

OpenRoaming will enhance the existing benefits for customers looking to connect, as they won’t even have to manually join different networks.

And for businesses, it will provide another valuable source of data – not personal information, but data that can be used to provide an improved customer experience.

With more visibility of when customers are joining the network in your retail outlet, for instance, it’s easier to communicate facilities updates or news of deals on offer.

Ultimately, it’s about the whole process being seamless – and genuinely so.

We trialled OpenRoaming at this year’s MWC conference in Barcelona, giving people continued network access as they moved from plane to train to venue. We made the process of connecting (and staying connected) so smooth that most people didn’t even notice.

Have a live preview with our head of demonstrations Myrofora Ioannidou at MWC19:

How do I join?

OpenRoaming is still in its beta phase, but we are actively looking for partners to join our initiative at the beginning of this exciting journey.

We are signing up more live beta access and identity providers every day.

The initiative is yet another example of co-innovation in action, bringing together teams from inside our organisation as well as others from outside of Cisco.

In addition to Samsung, we are collaborating with Canary Wharf, Clair Global, Presidio, Boing, GlobalReach and a whole host of other global partners to start testing OpenRoaming.

Along with these partners, we’re leading conversations and breaking new ground in the networking space.

If you are interested in joining OpenRoaming as a provider or end user – or just want to find out more – then head over to

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