Eduroam: Wireless access feels like home

Those who spend much time at other universities are used to dealing with red tape to gain wireless access to their networks. Often, they must visit local IT offices to get online.

Eduroam logo

Fortunately, thousands of universities throughout the world are peeling back the red tape, allowing visiting faculty, staff and students fast, painless access to Wi-Fi. Iowa State is a partner in the Eduroam initiative, a world-wide roaming access service that started among European universities in 2003 and has since expanded to 60 countries and territories.

Iowa State's partnership allows ISU faculty, staff and students to access Wi-Fi networks at participating Eduroam campuses (there are 100 American participants and thousands internationally) simply by using their Iowa State Net-IDs and passwords.

Setting up

Before you use Eduroam on another campus, you'll need to use it at least once here at Iowa State. There are detailed instructions for your device on information technology service's "Connect to Eduroam" page, but it's pretty easy. Basically, you'll view available wireless networks, select "eduroam," and, depending on your device, tweak some settings.

How it works

Once you've successfully signed on at Iowa State, you can use Eduroam anywhere it's available, said Jennifer Lohrbach, ITS senior systems analyst. It works something like this:

  • You're at the University of Alaska, Fairbanks (an Eduroam participant)
  • You view available wireless networks on your device and select "eduroam."
  • You log in, using your ISU Net-ID, for example, (Behind the scenes, and in a split second, your credentials whip through an Eduroam server and then on to an Iowa State server, which verifies your login and password.)
  • You're online.

Lohrbach added that Eduroam will not negate the need to use Iowa State's virtual private network (VPN) to access some ISU services that require restricted access. If you currently need VPN for off-campus access to certain services, you'll still need it when connecting from an Eduroam campus.

Lohrbach said Iowa State's Eduroam service, which launched at the beginning of spring semester, uses the existing Wi-Fi network. When you connect to Wi-Fi at Iowa State, you can select either the "IASTATE" or "eduroam" network. The key difference between the two is the IASTATE connection is unsecured and thus, more susceptible to security risks than the encrypted Eduroam connection.

On another campus, you'll be selecting the Eduroam network.