Those on campus who have opened up their network connections on different electronic devices may have noticed a new wireless network available to connect to named eduroam.
The network has existed for years, but USF just recently began to introduce it to its campus. According to Michael Sink, assistant vice president of Information Technology (IT), eduroam is set to eventually replace USF-Gold, the university’s current password-protected, secure network open to students, faculty and staff.
USF and USF Guest networks will still remain.
“There are a lot of other universities that are already using (eduroam), and we’ve received many requests from faculty members that do travel to other universities,” Sink said. “It’s something that’s becoming more common so that it’s easier to connect as people travel around.”
Eduroam is also a secure network like USF-Gold. However, eduroam is more versatile in that it is used at multiple universities across the U.S. and Europe, according to Sink.
Consequently, students, faculty and staff traveling to different universities and abroad won’t have to individually connect to each university’s separate guest networks, instead using one login for access to a secure network at all participating institutions.
“There’s really not a reason not to use it,” Sink said. “It’s actually adding benefit. It’s not really taking anything away.”
There is no cost to move to eduroam for the university, Sink said, as the network is included in USF’s Internet2 membership and there are no closing fees for USF-Gold.
Internet2 is a “member-owned advanced technology community,” according to its website. It lists USF as a Level 1 member, which costs the university approximately $92,960 annually in fees and dues.
Sink said the university is working to phase out USF-Gold by the end of the semester. However, that time frame is only tentative and IT will monitor usage of USF-Gold up until the switch is made, as Sink said many people haven’t had the chance to connect yet.
“So if we still have … thousands of people that are still connecting to USF-Gold, then we know at that point we can’t just … shut it off if people are still connecting to it on a regular basis, so we’ll need to send additional communication … to make sure everyone’s aware that we are going to shut it off at a particular date,” Sink said.
IT has been sending out notifications and instructions to students, faculty and staff in order to inform them of the switch and how to make it. Sink said IT will continue to do so until USF-Gold is fully replaced by eduroam.
The emails sent to students, faculty and staff about eduroam instruct users to go to usf.edu/netconnect to access eduroam. They will be taken to a portal that asks whether or not they are part of the main USF system or part of USF Health. Then, they will be asked to install a program that, once run, will connect them to eduroam.
Each device connected to eduroam will only need to be registered once.
“So, we’ve tried to make it as simple as possible and a consistent experience to set up across all the devices,” Sink said. “Instead of having instructions for how to set using an iPhone, how to set up using an iPad or how to set up using a laptop, we tried to develop this portal approach so that you could still use your NetID and password to subscribe.”