Oct. 31, 2023

UCalgary the 1st Canadian university to introduce eduroam to a Canadian international airport

Partnership with YYC and Cybera extends secure Wi-Fi access to visitors
Calgary International Airport
Jeff Hitchcock, Flickr

Whether it's for research, online classes or simply staying in touch, a reliable and secure internet connection is crucial for just about everything we do these days. For many, access to high-speed Wi-Fi has become an integral part of daily life.

As Canada’s entrepreneurial university, the University of Calgary recognizes the importance of staying connected even while travelling, and, through a collaboration with the Calgary Airport Authority (YYC) and Cybera, has extended eduroam Wi-Fi services to the airport.

Eduroam provides secure, encrypted and authenticated Wi-FI services to connect students, researchers, faculty and staff to their peers, colleagues and partners at post-secondary institutions all over the world. Users can access it regardless of location by using their institution’s username and password. Eduroam is also used in a growing number of public buildings around the world.

Cybera is an Alberta-based not-for-profit organization focused on the development of Alberta’s cyberinfrastructure and driving economic growth through technological change.

UCalgary’s strong cybersecurity initiatives and robust research security measures have laid the groundwork for this partnership. With a solid foundation in place, the collaboration is poised to bring enhanced connectivity and secure online experiences to YYC and higher-education travellers.

"Offering eduroam at the YYC airport enhances the security, confidentiality and integrity of our community’s Wi-Fi connections,” says Mark Sly, director of IT Security and Architecture for UCalgary. “It greatly reduces the chance of threat actors eavesdropping or hijacking our communications. I hope other airports take notice and move to implement eduroam to bolster Wi-Fi security for our travellers wherever they go.”

The idea stems from the work done by Dr. Robert Thompson, PhD, associate vice-president (research) and director of Research Services. Also a prolific physicist, Thompson often travels to Switzerland for his research and says many European airports already have services like eduroam implemented.

“It’s really nice to have because I can securely and safely connect to the Wi-Fi and continue to do my work,” says Thompson.

Thompson’s experience prompted Trevor Poffenroth, UCalgary’s chief information officer, to reach out to his contacts at YYC to propose the collaboration. “Our mutual enthusiasm for the project made it an easy partnership decision for everyone involved,” says Poffenroth.

Especially for researchers, a safe and secure network connection while travelling is a necessity. Research data, intellectual property and confidential information are often at the heart of these journeys.

“Our international partners trust us to protect their data and research,” says Martha Wallace, director of Research Security. “This collaboration is a game-changer for the city in terms of economic development, and a testament to the role our researchers play. Calgary is a thriving hub of innovation, especially with top post-secondary institutions like UCalgary in our city.”

Thanks to the collaboration between Cybera, YYC and UCalgary, eduroam services are now in place and operating at both YYC and the Springbank Airport.

Staff and faculty can also take advantage of UCalgary’s loaner device program designed to ensure those travelling on campus business have the technology they need when on the go.

All members of the campus community are encouraged to make use of eduroam while travelling and to safeguard their digital information by following our cybersecurity tips at home, at UCalgary and abroad.

There's still time to register for today's Halloween-themed lunch webinar: Tik or Treat: Staying Safe on Social Media to learn more tips on how to stay safe online.

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