MUT’s Information Technology Networks introduces worldwide roaming access service

Dr Marlo de Swardt, seated, with IT&N staff members, from left, Pritham Seethal, Danielle Venter, and Sherwin Mudaly

The Department of Information Technology and Networks (IT&N) has introduced ‘Eduroam’. According to the department’s Senior Director, Dr Marlo de Swardt, Education roaming (Eduroam) is the secure, worldwide roaming access service developed for the international research and education community.

Dr de Swardt said that Eduroam allows students, researchers, and staff from participating institutions to obtain “seamless internet connectivity” across campus, and when visiting other participating institutions by simply using their devices and connecting.  Dr de Swardt also said that in the past, Wi-Fi connectivity was restricted to specific hotspot areas. Selecting the ‘Eduroam’ Wi-Fi connection opened a new experience for their end-users. “Whether you are on campus, at the airport, or visiting other universities, local and international, all you have to do is open your Wi-Fi settings and select eduroam,” Dr de Swardt said.

Eduroam is available in thousands of locations across over 100 countries worldwide – from university campuses to coffee shops. Dr de Swardt said ‘Eduroam is secure and privacy-preserving technology means there is no need to enter usernames and passwords through insecure web browser forms. “Your device will identify a valid ‘Eduroam’ access point and log in automatically. Your password is never shared with any of the access points. Your password for your online identity is provided to you by your ‘home’ institution – where you are enrolled to study or are employed. When prompted for a username, enter your university email address, your password, and accept the security certificate to ensure a secure connection to MUT’s network,” said Dr de Swardt.

To those that might have cyber security concerns, Dr de Swardt has the answer: “To address potential cybersecurity concerns, ‘Eduroam’ is based on today’s most secure encryption and authentication standards. Its security by far exceeds typical commercial hotspots. The user credentials are kept secure because ‘Eduroam’ does not share them with the site you are  visiting. Instead, they are forwarded to the user’s home institution, where they can be verified and validated. The system uses a network of servers run by institutions, among MUT and the participating National Research and Education Networks (NRENs), to route authentication requests back to MUT securely. All this happens seamlessly and virtually instantly,’ Dr de Swardt confirmed.

Dr de Swardt also said that the extended good news about this “efficient and effective” way to access all available MUT systems is that the future promises to expand this functionality to shopping malls around the country and other familiar locations that local and international education members commonly visit. “Wherever you see Eduroam’ appear in your list of Wi-Fi networks, you can get online. Thanks to a global agreement, the ‘Eduroam’ Wi-Fi roaming service is free of charge to our end-users,” Dr de Swardt said.