GRENA, the Georgian Research and Educational Networking Association, provided the eduroam roaming service to guests celebrating the 100th anniversary of Ivane Javakhishvili Tbilisi State University (TSU) on 8 February 2018. More than 130 guests from Georgia and other countries used eduroam during the UNESCO-supported event, which marked the centenary of the first national university in the Caucasus.
TSU opened in 1918 on 8 February (26 January in the old calendar) and laid the foundation for a European-type higher education in Georgia, based on Georgian educational traditions. Now the major educational and research institution in Georgia, TSU has around 600 foreign students alongside the 22 thousand Georgian students who undertake their studies there.
eduroam is the secure, world-wide internet roaming access service for the research and education community. With tens of thousands of hotspots in more than 85 countries, Georgian eduroam users can access the internet in Georgia and abroad while traveling for an exchange program, conference or scientific work.
An additional mechanism
With eduroam, a user’s home institution authenticates that they are who they say they are. When a user tries to log on to the wireless network of a visited eduroam-enabled institution, the user’s authentication request is sent to the user’s home institution. This is done via a hierarchical system of RADIUS servers. The user’s home institution verifies the user’s credentials and sends to the visited institution (via the RADIUS servers) the result of such a verification. The decision to authorise access to network resources is made by the visited network.
In addition to this standard eduroam service, which is intended for universities and large organisations, GRENA has introduced a mechanism to enable small scientific-educational institutions to connect using only wireless access points configured with eduroam. In this case the user information base is configured and held by GRENA, and the users are added by the organisation’s specially-designed control panel.
eduroam growth in Georgia
Georgia became an eduroam participant country in 2016 and currently 8 educational institutions provide this service: International Black Sea University; University of Georgia; Georgian Institute of Public Affairs; Caucasus University and Ivane Javakhishvili Tbilisi State University. Eduroam is also available in the National Science Library. The service is available in 20 locations and negotiations are under way with more universities.
Cooperation with the Erasmus+ program significantly contributed to the spread of eduroam, with the collection of information from the universities about staff and students who participate in the program and need mobility within the various universities of Europe. These individuals were merged into the virtual organisation Erasmus+ and were able to use eduroam, so promoting the service and increasing interest among universities.
The registered trademark for eduroam® in Europe is held by the GÉANT organisation, which also helps to promote the deployment of the service.