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Service Lets Professors Log On to Networks on Other Campuses

When a student or professor travels to another college campus, hopping online to check e-mail or surf the Web is usually difficult. Most college networks require a local user name and password to log on, and guest accounts can be a hassle to obtain.

Now a few colleges in the United States are joining a system that lets visitors log on to their networks using a login and password from another college.

The system, called eduroam, is already popular in Europe, where more than a thousand institutions participate. In the United States, fewer than 10 institutions are members so far, but the numbers are growing.

Louisiana State University, which hooked into eduroam on its campus last month, is the most recent American institution to join. Brian D. Voss, the university’s chief information officer, explained that the primary purpose is “to allow visiting scholars the easy ability to get on the Web” while still verifying that a person is a professor or student.

“Campuses are very security conscious,” Mr. Voss said. “It’s not like we’re a Starbucks, where we advertise an open wireless infrastructure.”

The University of Tennessee at Knoxville tried eduroam in 2004 as an experiment. Philippe Hanset, a network architect at the university, said that eduroam has been in a dormant period in the United States since 2004 and is just now regaining popularity.

The Tennessee campus is leading the effort to broaden the use of eduroam, and Mr. Hanset said that he has recently started hearing inquiries about the service on a weekly basis. Among the other institutions that support eduroam are the University of Tennessee Space Institute and Harvard University. Yale University is in the process of joining.

Mr. Hanset said that he hopes to make eduroam compatible with the already popular InCommon Federation, a standard that colleges use to help coordinate the sharing of resources across campuses.

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