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Five students sit in a semicircle on the grass in Polk Place. Each has a laptop on the ground or on their lap
Jon Gardiner/UNC-Chapel Hill

You probably already know that UNC-Chapel Hill’s primary Wi-Fi network is eduroam, but how much do you know about eduroam or the other two Wi-Fi networks at UNC?

1. How do you pronounce eduroam?

Say the “edu” like “education.” That’s because it’s short for “education roaming.” Bonus fact: eduroam is always spelled with a lowercase “e.”

2. Why is it called eduroam and not something like “Tar Heels”?

It’s because eduroam isn’t just a UNC-Chapel Hill wireless network — it’s a worldwide wireless network. Started as a partnership between a few higher education institutions in Europe, it’s now used on every continent except Antarctica.

3. Why are we part of a global network?

A major perk is seamless connectivity. Register your device with eduroam at UNC-Chapel Hill and you’ll automatically connect whenever you’re in range of an eduroam hotspot.

In the 111 Carroll Hall classroom, dozens of students sit at collaborative desks while using their laptops
Jon Gardiner/UNC-Chapel Hill

4. Where can I eduroam?

At over 10,000 locations all around the world! You can eduroam in more than 100 countries and connect at more than 1,000 partners in the United States. If you’re traveling closer to home, most of the UNC System schools are eduroam members.

5. Just higher ed?

While eduroam does stand for “education roaming,” not all eduroam partners are in higher education. You can connect when you’re in places like libraries, K-12 schools, museums, conferences, hotels, zoos and even a few state parks.

6. How safe is eduroam?

Besides the convenience of connecting automatically, you get peace of mind knowing that eduroam is secure. Eduroam uses the strongest encryption and authentication standards available. This means it’s safer to use than most Wi-Fi, and offers far more security than free public networks. Even better, your credentials are never shared with the hotspot or the eduroam institution you’re visiting. Even when you’re a thousand miles (or more!) away from Carolina, your credentials are routed through UNC-Chapel Hill to verify your access. This means you only need to trust your “home” eduroam institution — UNC-Chapel Hill.

In the Undergraduate Library, students are using technology in comfy chairs, at a table, and in carrels
Johnny Andrews/UNC-Chapel Hill

7. Why are there other Wi-Fi networks at UNC?

Even though eduroam meets most needs, it doesn’t work for everyone. UNC-Guest is an open, unencrypted network (i.e., not very safe) for visitors. UNC-PSK is for devices that aren’t compatible with eduroam, like smart TVs and game consoles. You’ll notice the academic year attached to the UNC-PSK name. This means that devices must re-authenticate yearly. With eduroam, your registration is good for four years. So, if you have an active Onyen and a device that’s compatible, eduroam is your safest and most convenient choice for Wi-Fi.

8. Where can I connect to Wi-Fi on campus?

Almost 11,000 access points on campus blanket campus (and off-campus facilities) with coverage. Access points are the devices that let you connect to Wi-Fi. If you look around, you’ll see access points mounted in hallways, classrooms and on buildings. ITS Networking is constantly adding and upgrading our Wi-Fi networks, including improving outdoor coverage and installing the latest technologies like Wi-Fi 6, to strengthen our networks for work and play.

A student uses a laptop on a bistro table in front of student stores, where a decal of the Ramses mascot fills the windows
Johnny Andrews/UNC-Chapel Hill

9. How many devices connect to UNC’s Wi-Fi?

Lots! The number of devices varies, but on the busiest day of Spring 2022 more than 40,000 devices connected to UNC’s wireless networks. As that’s equivalent to 90% of all UNC students (undergraduate and graduate), faculty and staff, it’s easy to assume that most people have more than one device registered on eduroam.

10. What’s our internet traffic like at UNC?

During the Spring 2022 semester, devices connected to UNC-Chapel Hill’s networks downloaded 15PBs of data. A PB is a petabyte, equivalent to 1,000 terabytes or 1 million gigabytes. 15PB is equivalent to downloading 50 years’ worth of 24/7 HD video — over just one semester.

Ready to enroll in eduroam? Visit for instructions. Register all your devices, like tablets, Chromebooks, smartwatches and other personal devices to get all the benefits of eduroam while you’re on and off campus. 

And if you want more stats about UNC-Chapel Hill’s network, read the most recent biannual network report from ITS Networking. More facts about eduroam, including interactive maps of hotspots are available from eduroam.

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