Eduroam connectivity issues on Android 2.3.*

Since reports from users are on the increase, this blog post describes briefly the issue with eduroam connectivity on Android devices. Please be aware of it and inform your users, should they ask for advice.

The problem is affecting some versions only (2.3.3+). There appears to be no pattern in which devices or versions are affected and which aren’t. So far we had reports concerning Samsung and Motorola smartphones and one instance of HTC tablet. The lack of pattern appears to be attributed to the use of custom software by manufacturers, although there’s no official stance on it.

The behavior is somewhat similar to using incorrect Remote Account credentials in that the device goes into a loop of Scanning -> Authenticating -> Connecting -> Disconnected. The reason for such behavior turns out to be a bug in Android, where it’s unable to handle phase 2 802.1x authentication. A quick investigation revealed, that the authentication request never reaches the RADIUS server.

The problem is described here: http://code.google.com/p/android/issues/detail?id=15631

The above page is a few months old now, but due to the random nature of the problem, we didn’t have an avalanche of reports so far (or they were misinterpreted). My own device uses 2.3.4 and doesn’t exhibit the problem, however we had a user with 2.3.5 experiencing the connectivity problem only a few days ago, so clearly the issue remains unsolved.

Exploring the few suggestions provided on the bug description page, I’m afraid there’s no workaround at the moment. We suggest upgrading the operating system on affected devices in the hope of fixing it, but we have no evidence that actually works.

If you are aware of other fixes or have any comments on this particular problem, please email networks@oucs.ox.ac.uk

Edit: We received feedback suggesting that leaving the “anonymous identity” field blank resolves the issue, however we didn’t have any means of testing. I’d like to thank readers who sent the suggestion.

Edit 2: I’d also like to thank to Sean who shared a tip on rebuilding WPA supplicant on 2.3 devices failing to connect to eduroam. The instructions are aimed at more advanced Android users, but might be of help to some. See the following page for details.

Posted in Wireless | 8 Comments

8 Responses to “Eduroam connectivity issues on Android 2.3.*”

  1. Rui Ribeiro says:

    Hi,
    I´d like to add my experience is quite the opposite, add some problems in the past and fixed it filling up the anonymous field with the username.

    Thanks for the tip.

    Regards,

  2. Vanessa Gregory says:

    After many failed attempts of various workaround I have managed to connect my Samsung Galaxy ACE today with the following method:
    “Forget” the eduroam network.
    Click Add Wi-Fi network
    Enter eduroam for Network SSID
    Fill in the remaining options as specified on the IT services help pages PEAP etc…
    Then Connect.

    Selecting the found network eduroam did not work, but this worked first time.

  3. Ruben says:

    Even without completing the anonymous identity it doen”t work on my htc wildrfire s with Android 2.3.5.

  4. Jeremy says:

    Hi, I wanted to know is it possible to verify server credentials when using Android phones?

    Thanks.

  5. Jonathan Ward says:

    I finally made the connection by NOT completing the anonymous identity field. I am on Android 2.3.5

  6. Dagmara says:

    Hello,
    I have new HTC with android 2.3.5. and I have this problem
    everytime I try to connect with eduroam it says:
    Scanning -> Authenticating -> Connecting -> Disconnected…
    hope it’ll be fixed soon. because it’s driving me crazy..