Klaas Wierenga has been awarded the 2021 Premio FIUM (Facultad de Informática de la Universidad de Murcia) from the University of Murcia. The accolade, from the Spanish university’s Computer Science department, is for his ground-breaking work and invention of eduroam, the free, secure and global Wi-Fi roaming service for academic and research communities currently available in over 100 countries.
The recognition represents FIUM’s values and celebrates the advantages and benefits of this invaluable service for Research & Education communities around the world.
When informed of the news, Klaas commented: “I am extremely honoured to receive this award from the University of Murcia. This means a lot to me since it comes from a computer science department that has contributed a great deal to standardisation in the fields of authentication and authorisation and I have been lucky enough to work with this university in the past.”
Klaas, often nicknamed the “father of eduroam”, is well-known in the global internet landscape, in 2019 he became an inductee of the prestigious Internet Hall of Fame, which publicly honours visionaries and leaders who have made important contributions to the development and improvement of the global Internet.
The University of Murcia is planning to host an award ceremony in real life, and if global pandemic restrictions allow it, the physical event will take place in November 2021.
Origin of eduroam
Almost 20 years ago, while employed by SURFnet, Klaas Wierenga wondered why he had to log on to the Wi-Fi network again and again, at every university he visited. He decided to challenge traditional business models and the inward-looking policies of universities and schools.
With eduroam he introduced a new model based on resource-sharing that gives students and employees easy and secure access to the Wi-Fi network, with one account on almost every campus in the world.
Together with graduate Paul Dekkers, he introduced a new technology, a federated identity management and an access mechanism to realise this service, called eduroam. This also complements the traditional use of the Internet to share resources with others in their own community.
After a successful pilot in the Netherlands, conducted under SURFnet, the national research and education network in the Netherlands, eduroam was adopted by GÉANT in 2003. With the help of a grant from the EU, this organisation made eduroam available for international use in several countries.