The City of Calgary has become only the second municipality in Canada to offer eduroam (education roaming), a global internet access service for the higher education and research sector. This means any staff or students from any eduroam-connected organization — including local post-secondary institutions as well as ones from around the world — can automatically connect to the internet when they enter Calgary’s downtown Municipal Building.
This move opens up the possibility for eduroam to one day be made available in all public municipally owned buildings and public transit in Calgary, potentially supporting thousands of people dealing with connectivity barriers.
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 or laptops will immediately sign on to a secure internet connection.
“The benefits of this service are not just greater convenience for academics and students looking to get an internet connection, or more convenience for our networking team,” says David Basto, Lead Fibre Optic Planner for The City of Calgary. “It also offers Calgarians and visitors a safer online experience, as it uses a trusted authentication tool to verify and connect each individual.
“By joining eduroam, we’re demonstrating The City’s commitment to building tech-forward solutions to meet the needs of our community.”
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.
“The goal of getting Albertans better connected is one that requires collaborative solutions, and municipalities like The City of Calgary are playing an important role,” says Barb Carra, President and CEO of Cybera, Alberta’s not-for-profit technology accelerator. “As well, the way education is being delivered is changing, in part due to pandemic requirements, and in part due to the increased use of modern technologies.”
“Having access to seamless and secure connectivity ensures better and more equitable access to education in an increasingly mobile and off-campus world.”
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. The eduroam service creates one secure login account that can be utilized around the globe.
“In keeping with the successful outcomes from eduroam in the City of Mississauga in Ontario, it’s exciting for us to support the rollout in The City of Calgary,” says Mark Wolff, CTO of CANARIE. “We congratulate The City on this innovative step, and are happy to work with other municipalities and sites to offer secure wireless connectivity with eduroam.”
For more information, contact Cybera’s project management team.