Monday, 19 September 2011

Eduroam ...

As is fairly obvious, I work at a university, and my institution, like many others in Australia provides an eduroam service so that academics visiting other campuses can log in to the wireless network using the credential from their home institution.

Until now, I'd found it mildly useful, perhaps because most of the visits to conferences and meetings that I make tend to take place in hotels and other places offsite from university campuses.

Until last week. I'm currently half way through a back to back trip to a Project Bamboo review meeting at the University of Maryland and a conference in the Hague.

UMD had recently deployed an eduroam service. I just opened up my laptop, logged in and there I was - magically connected and authenticated against ANU half a planet away. No more fiddling about setting up network connections or using visitor accounts. Quite magical really.

Then to add to the fun, midway through the trip, I stopped off in Scotland to see my father at the weekend. I also realised that I hadn't writing my conference presentation. However I had time on the Monday morning before I went to the airport before I flew on to the Hague.

Now I'd most of the presentation done - but in Google Docs as I'd started it at work, did a little at home, and then meant to finish it off in Maryland. That meant to finish it off I needed the internet, if only to download it to work offline.

My first though was 'Coffee Shop'. That's a problem as the rural north east of Scotland is not well endowed with wi-fi enabled coffee shops. I'm sure they exist, but I don't know where. And then I had a brainwave. I could drop down to St Andrews and use the University library there as I was sure they'd have eduroam enabled.

So, on my way through London, a quick check of the St Andrew's website to check that they'd got eduroam onsite, they had, and a courtesy email to St Andrew's library asking them if they'd mind if I borrowed a desk for a couple of hours.

I didn't realise when I sent the email that this was a big ask, as the main library was in the midst of refurbishment for the start of semester, and the library was operating out of St Mary's College, but they were truly wonderful and let me sit in the Georgian magnificence of the King James library while I worked on my presentation - as always the paper was submitted months ago and things always change slightly between the submitted paper and the conference.

More to the point, I again connected quickly and seamlessly, and everything just worked. Networking as it should be. Thank you eduroam, and thank you St Andrews!

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