The University of Kansas has begun offering an Internet service used widely by European educational institutions that allows faculty and students from one school to log into other participating schools' secure wireless networks, officials said.
Eduroam is a particularly useful tool for faculty who travel abroad for research and encounter universities or research labs that closely guard their secure networks, The Lawrence Journal-World reported (http://bit.ly/108hSvw ).
Most of the 6,000 other institutions that use Eduroam are in Europe, with only about 80 U.S. institutions participating.
"Essentially everybody in Europe is using it," said James Sterbenz, an associate professor of electrical engineering and computer science at Kansas.
Sterbenz is a visiting professor at Lancaster University in the United Kingdom and helps with computer networking research projects funded by the European Union, which means he travels throughout Europe for meetings and conferences. Before Eduroam, each visit meant asking for access to computer networks that are often closed to protect databases and other material.
"It was sometimes painful," Sterbenz said.
When he goes on a trip to Europe later this month, he will be able to log on with his Kansas information whenever he is at a participating institution.
The service cost Kansas nothing, requiring only about six months of testing to make sure the university's network was compatible and secure.
Scholars from abroad or other U.S. institutions who visit the university also will benefit from Eduroam and international students could use the service to connect while in their home countries, said Bob Lim, chief information officer for Kansas' IT department.