UNC Information Technology Services is phasing out UNC-Secure and transitioning to eduroam as the primary Wi-Fi network. Eduroam is a worldwide roaming service that allows students, faculty and staff to connect to Wi-Fi at their home campus as well as when visiting any campus that also uses eduroam.
Jim Gogan, interim assistant vice chancellor for communication technologies at ITS, said ITS has received many calls about eduroam from faculty who travel to other campuses and need access to wireless networks across the country.
“A lot of faculty really wanted this to happen,” Gogan said. “We heard from a number of students as well, like the Robertson Scholars program that goes back and forth between here and Duke.”
Students, faculty and staff will be able to access Wi-Fi through eduroam at many institutions in the U.S. and internationally, including Duke, N.C. State University and Ohio State University.
“If folks are going to other campus, either for a visit or taking some other course or just to visit friends on other campuses, they’ll know in advance if eduroam is going to work on that campus, and if it does, it’ll be just the same as connecting here on this campus,” Gogan said.
“Your authentication actually comes all the way back to here to authenticate you as being who you say you are, and then you can connect on those other campuses.”
The switch to eduroam won’t solve existing Wi-Fi issues. Gogan said ITS has not yet provided wireless coverage for the whole campus.
“We still have three years to go on that project, so there’s a number of places still where coverage is pretty weak,” he said.
Guzel Garifullina, a rising second-year graduate student in political science, said she has run into a few problems with the Wi-Fi at UNC, but nothing serious.
“There were some problems in the library — like in some areas (the Wi-Fi connection) just disappeared — but generally it’s pretty good,” Garifullina said.
Eduroam also won’t solve for Mac users who have downloaded Yosemite, Apple’s latest operating system.
Gogan said some students have connectivity issues due to this operating system, which isn’t compatible with the technology both UNC-Secure and eduroam use for authentication. This authentication technology is necessary because it is more secure than others.
“Anything else transmits user IDs and passwords over the air, and you really don’t want your passwords traveling over the air,” Gogan said.
Eduroam requires the same yearly set up as UNC-Secure, and Sharon Glover, ITS response center director, said she doesn’t expect students will have issues setting up the network.
“It’s no different than using UNC-Secure as far as someone setting it,” Glover said.
“As with any of our help documents, we have good instructions out there that would provide anyone using an Android or iOS device with how to download and install eduroam application on their devices.”