OpenRoaming: A Technical Overview

A technical overview of OpenRoaming, including its architecture, protocols, and security mechanisms.

Wireless network roaming has always been a challenge for users, especially when moving between different networks with different authentication mechanisms. However, the Wireless Broadband Alliance (WBA) has developed OpenRoaming, a new technology that promises to provide seamless Wi-Fi network connectivity without the need for complex authentication procedures.


Architecture of OpenRoaming

OpenRoaming is a cloud-based service that connects users to Wi-Fi networks across different service providers, operators, and countries. The OpenRoaming service comprises three primary components:

  • Identity Providers (IDPs): An IDP is a service that provides user authentication and authorization. An IDP can be a mobile network operator, a social media platform, an enterprise network, or any other entity that can authenticate users. The IDP generates a unique user identity that is used to authenticate the user on different Wi-Fi networks.
  • Access Providers (APs): An AP is a Wi-Fi network that provides internet access to users. The AP must be registered with the OpenRoaming federation and comply with the OpenRoaming protocols and security mechanisms.
  • Federation Hub: The Federation Hub is the core component of OpenRoaming. It acts as a mediator between IDPs and APs and provides the necessary protocols and security mechanisms to ensure seamless connectivity between users and Wi-Fi networks.


OpenRoaming Protocols

OpenRoaming uses several protocols to ensure seamless Wi-Fi network connectivity. These protocols include:

  • Extensible Authentication Protocol (EAP): EAP is a protocol that provides mutual authentication between a user and a network. OpenRoaming uses EAP to authenticate users with their IDPs and APs. EAP can use various authentication methods, including certificates, passwords, tokens, and biometrics.
  • Hotspot 2.0: Hotspot 2.0 is a Wi-Fi alliance standard that provides seamless connectivity between Wi-Fi networks. Hotspot 2.0 enables users to connect to Wi-Fi networks automatically and without the need for manual configuration.
  • Passpoint: Passpoint is a certification program that ensures Wi-Fi networks comply with the Hotspot 2.0 standard. Passpoint provides a set of protocols and security mechanisms that enable seamless connectivity between users and Wi-Fi networks. 

Security Mechanisms of OpenRoaming

Security is a critical aspect of OpenRoaming. OpenRoaming provides several security mechanisms to protect user data and ensure secure connectivity between users and Wi-Fi networks. 

These mechanisms include:
  • Transport Layer Security (TLS): TLS is a protocol that provides secure communication between two entities over the internet. OpenRoaming uses TLS to encrypt user data and protect it from unauthorized access.
  • Certificate-based authentication: OpenRoaming uses certificates to authenticate users, IDPs, and APs. Certificates provide a secure mechanism to verify the identity of each entity and ensure secure communication between them.
  • End-to-end encryption: OpenRoaming provides end-to-end encryption between users and Wi-Fi networks. This ensures that user data is protected at all times, even when it's transmitted over unsecured networks.


OpenRoaming is a new technology that promises to provide seamless Wi-Fi network connectivity to users worldwide. OpenRoaming uses several protocols and security mechanisms to ensure secure and seamless connectivity between users and Wi-Fi networks. As more Wi-Fi networks and devices adopt the OpenRoaming standard, we can expect to see a significant improvement in the user experience and a more secure and efficient way of connecting to Wi-Fi networks.

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