Klaas Wierenga was distinguished by the Internet Society as a personality who has contributed to the development and improvement of the Internet worldwide.

On 27 September, at a ceremony in Costa Rica, the inventor of eduroam, Klaas Wierenga, was inducted into the Internet Society's "Internet Hall of Fame". This way, he joins names like Tim Berners-Lee (inventor of the World Wide Web), Linus Torvalds (inventor of Linux) or Vint Cerf and Jon Postel (inventors of the modern internet).

It was almost 20 years ago, while working for SURFnet (the Dutch national research and education network), that Klaas imagined a solution that would allow a single login across all Dutch universities. "I was frustrated with the online access problems while travelling around universities in my country when we all worked together," he told Connect, GÉANT's magazine: "That's when I started looking at the technologies that were emerging that could solve those problems.

eduroam coverage FCCN Computing Unit
eduroam coverage (dark blue) and pilot projects (light blue). Source: eduroam.org

As a result, Klaas Wierenga began working with Paul Dekkers to build a concept that would become eduroam. After a pilot programme in Holland, GÉANT adopted the technology in 2003, with Portugal being one of the six pioneering countries. Today, the network is available in 101 countries, with a total of more than 4.3 billion authentications. Present in educational and research institutions around the world, it has about 30 thousand hotspotsworldwide.

"The best part is that all universities create an infrastructure and make it available to the community. In this way, everyone benefits," Wierenga emphasises, concluding: "eduroam was made possible because of the work of hundreds, and now thousands, of people who believe in their idea and in the value of working together. This is the true power of the global education and research community.

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