Wireless service aims to connect colleges

Eduroam allows students to use wireless service at participating schools.

Temple is part of a cutting edge program aimed at electronically connecting students attending different schools, enabling them to share information and communicate.

The program, a wireless Internet service called eduroam, is available at various universities and research facilities across the U.S. and in more than 54 countries.

The wireless service, which originated in Europe, is a product of the Trans-European Research and Education Network Association. The name for this wireless service is derived from the words “education roaming.” It was first tested in 2003 in various European countries, including Poland, Finland and the United Kingdom. After its initial success, the wireless service soon spread.

The rising popularity of the eduroam service can be attributed to the fact that it helps people to connect globally. It offers its participants a connection to “hundreds of wireless hotspots” located in various participating countries. Eduroam is also free of cost to all its participants.

The main idea of eduroam is that any person who is a member of a participating university can access the Internet of other participating universities from his or her wireless device with ease. This means that a Temple student who visits a participating school like Penn State can access that school’s Internet server on their phone or computer using a username and password from Temple. Penn State students can do the same at Temple.

Larry Brandolph, associate vice president of computer services at Temple, said the decision to bring the service to Temple was simple and based on “expanding both our federation and our wireless capability.”

“At Temple we spend a lot of time creating guest accounts for visitors and researchers who come for a day or a semester,” Brandolph said. “Eduroam makes it easier because we do not have to spend time making accounts for them.”

“There are a lot of researchers who travel abroad during breaks to study and work and it is used there successfully,” Brandolph added.

Drexel University and the University of Pennsylvania are in the process of installing eduroam and once the installation is completed, Drexel and Penn students will be able to access Temple’s wireless Internet and Temple students may be able to access Penn’s and Drexel’s. These new additions will expand the eduroam Internet service in the city. It appears for that reason many more people will become aware of what eduroam is and how they can benefit from it.

“I suspect in the near future you’ll be seeing a lot of it,” Brandolph said.

In an email to the student body last week, computer services alerted the Temple community of eduroam. The email stated that this will be the first in a series of initiatives to share services between universities.

Currently, Swarthmore College, Princeton University and Penn State are among universities that have already installed the service.

Sarah Figorski can be reached at sarah.figorski@temple.edu.

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