Roaming the world with free and safe internet

Hi readers! It’s Monday. I’d like to ignore all the nasty stuff that I’m going to have to deal with this week. I feel like a chained escape artist with four walls closing in who just found out the key to unlock myself is the wrong one. SO. I’m going to tell you about something I found out recently.


When you’re looking for wireless internet on campus, does something called “Eduroam” ever pop up? Like this:

I use the UTORcwn one, obviously, but I’ve always been curious. It’s name is not particularly compelling, like FREE PUBLIC WI-FI, which obviously you shouldn’t click or believe, but I see it consistently enough that it got me curious.

So I talked to Alex Nishiri, manager over at Web Services, home to the brilliant link shortener: Their website (and especially the Who We Are page) is adorable.

Eduroam-US says this:

Eduroam is worldwide federation of RADIUS servers facilitating network access for roaming academic affiliates using IEEE 802.1x as the vehicle. eduroam’s use of 802.1x in concert with RADIUS means the network is built around well understood, established, and easy to manage standards which are often already deployed within the network infrastructure of educational institutions.

I’m sure that’s not gibberish to a portion of our readers, but to me, I blanked out after “RADIUS servers”. So what is it, really, in plain english?

Eduroam (stands for Education Roaming) is a free service offered to educational institutions and it is essentially your wi-fi home away from home; home in this case being U of T. If you’re at any participating institution, you can log on to that institution’s wireless with your UTORid. Pretty cool. There’s even a video on youtube!

I scrolled through the participating institution list, and just for Ontario alone, I see Carleton, McMaster, Queen’s, Ryerson, Guelph, Waterloo, Western… no York, hah. Check out the pretty map for Canada’s participating institutions! There’s also one for participating institutions around the world.

Set-up took a little longer than I thought it would, but then, I was also battling horrid Wifi signal in class. U of T provides detailed and graphical step-by-step instructions for setting up your netbook or laptop with a variety of operating systems. Apparently, you can even set up your smartphones!

I popped by Ryerson, and I logged in to wireless no problem. What I’m curious is if it works everywhere else. Any U of T students reading not at U of T right now? Can you try and let me know in the comments if it works?

Other than that, have a good week, dear readers. Hang in there; we’re at the home stretch!

– Cynthia

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