foobar on computers, software and the rest of the world


Capacity problems for airport launge WiFi access?

, posted: 6-Apr-2008 16:54

So, I'm on my way to California, sitting here in the Qantas launge at Auckland airport. As I had written before, they have free WiFi here now, which is nice. When I was trying to connect, I got the WiFi signal, an IP address, the gateway and route ... but that was it. Normally, your first web request will be intercepted to a portal where you enter your username and password, before you can 'break out' into the wider Internet. But this time, no portal appeared. The browser was just sitting there, until it finally gave up with an error message.

Looking at tcpdump, whenever I made a request I saw that all I got was a redirect to http://nullroute (obviously, a non-existent host). I saw a number of other people online, so I am wondering if maybe there is a capacity restriction in effect here in the Qantas WiFi network? And if 'too many' people are online, maybe they will null-route any additional attempts to connect? If that is the case, they could have just displayed a nice message to that effect, rather than the redirect. An informative page would have worked better.

Does anyone else have any experience with similar restrictions in public or semi-public hotspots?

What good is free WiFi when it won't let you connect? In the end, I just connected to the overpriced Airport Hotspot network. Sigh...


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Other related posts:
Finally: Free WiFi in AKL Qantas business lounge








Comment by cokemaster, on 6-Apr-2008 17:22

Hotspots, in my opinion are just like payphones. Neat to use if you have one, but when using local mobile broadband - give me mobile data anyday.


Comment by freitasm, on 6-Apr-2008 17:40

The Air NZ Koru lounge network blocks access to Twitter. They show a message "This site is not work related. Click Yes to visit it anyway for work related stuff"...

You guessed right - you click Yes and nothing happens. For me Twitter is something work related. I make appointments and discuss things on-line all the time.

I think the free Wi-Fi in the Air NZ Koru lounge uses the same routers/filters/proxies that Air NZ applies to the entire company...


Comment by PenultimateHop, on 6-Apr-2008 19:45

The BlueSocket captive portal at QF AKL often has odd issues.  Was the 302 really to "nullroute" or was it to 1.1.1.1 (or some other odd looking IP)?

The QF WiFi in Australia is provided by Telstra, and is almost constantly screwed in some way or another -- either insufficient bandwidth, or insufficient IPs in the DHCP pool, or dropping association every 10 or so minutes.


Author's note by foobar, on 7-Apr-2008 07:05

@PenultimateHop: Yes, the redirect was really to "http://nullroute".


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New Zealand


  • Who I am: Software developer and consultant.
  • What I do: System level programming, Linux/Unix. C, C++, Java, Python, and a long time ago even Assembler.
  • What I like: I'm a big fan of free and open source software. I'm Windows-free, running Ubuntu on my laptop. To a somewhat lesser degree, I also follow the SaaS industry.
  • Where I have been: Here and there, all over the place.




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