College joins eduroam, will keep Dartmouth Secure

by Zachary Benjamin | 10/20/15 7:09pm

For the past several months, members of the Dartmouth community have had access to a wireless network that allows them to connect to the internet at universities across the world, but many upperclassmen remain unaware of it. Despite this new technology, Information Technology Services says that there are no plans to replace the Dartmouth Secure Network.

The network, called “eduroam,” uses an authentication technology, also called eduroam, co-founder and U.S. CEO of AnyRoam LLC, which operates eduroam in the U.S., Philippe Hanset said. Eduroam has been widely adopted by universities, both in the United States and abroad. Students from participating schools can access other universities’ networks using their own login credentials, giving them Wi-Fi access at any participating location. This makes it easier for traveling students to get internet access and for universities to manage guest users on the network.

“People can visit here and using their home institution’s credentials get onto the eduroam network the same way Dartmouth users, when visiting another institution that has eduroam, can get on their network with their credentials,” manager of student engagement for Dartmouth ITS Bambi Rivera said.

Plans to integrate eduroam technology with the campus Wi-Fi began during the past year, Rivera said. It was announced on May 11, 2015, the ITS website said.

The system will work with most commercial-grade Wi-Fi networks, Hanset said. While there are some technical requirements, they are non-proprietary and should be met by most networks. In addition, most major operating systems on the client’s side — including Windows, Mac OS X, iOS and Android — support the technology, he said.

In September 2015, the system received around 20,000 to 35,000 unique visitors per day in the U.S., according to the eduroam website.

Currently, there are approximately 330 participating locations in the U.S., Hanset said.

“We are receiving many requests every week,” Hanset said. “We have about a 40 percent growth at the moment.”

All eight Ivy League schools use eduroam. Internationally, there are around 5,000 to 6,000 participating locations, Hanset said. Most of them are in Europe, where eduroam was founded, as well as in Australia and Canada. South American countries are beginning to adopt the technology, he said.

While all three members of the Class of 2019 interviewed knew about eduroam, six out of the seven upperclassmen interviewed were only slightly familiar with it, or had not heard of it at all.

Alex Petros ’19 said he has used eduroam both on campus and at other universities. He said he was able to log on automatically to other schools’ networks.

Petros said, however, that both eduroam and Dartmouth Secure suffer from performance issues.

Nalini Ramanathan ’19 said that while she knew about the network, she has not personally used it. She said she has had trouble getting the network to work on her computer and uses Dartmouth Secure instead.

Aaron Lit ’19 said he has the feeling that Dartmouth Secure is more stable, but added that this perception may be more subjective than factual.

While the Class of 2019 learned about eduroam at their technology orientations, where ITS told them how to use the network, upperclassmen, who went through freshman orientation before the network’s release, were much less familiar with it.

Will Tackett ’18 said that while he has seen the name “eduroam” on his Wi-Fi menu, he is not familiar with the network.

During his orientation he was told to use Dartmouth Secure, and has not been told to switch since, he said.

Josue Ruiz ’17 also said that he might have seen the network name but did not know what it was. He said the only network ITS has recommended to him has been Dartmouth Secure, which is the main network he uses.

Some upperclassmen had heard of eduroam from their peers on campus.

Stylianos Tegas ’17 said that his friends have mentioned the network and its uses. He personally uses Dartmouth Secure, which ITS told him to use during his orientation.

Noah Lee ’18 said that while some of his friends are planning to switch to eduroam, Dartmouth Secure has worked well for him. He said he was somewhat familiar with eduroam’s purpose but was never told whether students were supposed to switch to the new network.

There are no differences in terms of performance between eduroam and Dartmouth Secure, Ramirez said. ITS makes no recommendation on which network students should use while on campus.

While some students mentioned they had heard rumors that ITS plans to phase out Dartmouth Secure, there are currently no such plans, Ramirez said.