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466 posts

Ultimate Geek
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Topic # 110400 8-Oct-2012 21:08 Send private message

I've decided to do something a bit different and start up a wifi website, instead of trying to go up against trademe like everyone else has been lately.

My site basically allows anyone to setup a wifi hotspot easily using firmware from my site and a compatible router like the good old linksys 54g.  I have two routers supported at the moment, the other is a tplink TL-WR1043ND.  However im going to be compiling more firmware for other models and adding to the downloads page.

Point of difference to the competition:

-Much more affordable wifi rates for people who want to purchase using a credit card, skype and youtube is possible without having to worry about running out of megabytes in under 5min.  I dont know why others are still charging exorbitant amounts per MB when the mb allowances offered by ISP's has increased significantly over the past few years.  If the rate on a hotspot is more expensive than what I get on my phone, I just tether my phone instead and the hotspot operator loses my custom.

-Operators can print vouchers free of charge, and include a voucher expiry if they wish.

-Operators can enable "free wifi" between certain hours and on certain days if they wish, and there's a selectable megabyte/time limit per computer/device per 24 hours, no cost to the operator.

-A range of other options like making some websites free, changing which router ports redirect to the wifi login page, all configurable easily from the operators control panel on the website.

-Apple devices dont automatically popup the wifi hotspot login page when tapping on the ssid in wifi settings, you have to browse to a page using safari to see the login page - I need some comments/feedback on this, what do people prefer?  I inserted some custom code into the router firmware to achieve this.

-The system is also capable of detecting "bittorrent" trying to connect prior to login, and at this stage just alerts me via email, nothing else, have yet to decide what will happen there.   I can say i've had a few already.

50/50 revenue share from credit card sales.

Have been testing at a Hotel and also a Cafe, haven't had any major problems so far.  None have received any copyright notices.

The website is at www.zappie.net.nz

I'll like people to try and test the web security on this and pm me of any vulnerabilities found.

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2102 posts

Uber Geek
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  Reply # 698176 8-Oct-2012 22:07 Send private message

Looks good.

A couple of questions, can the landing page be customised with the branding etc of the company providing the hotspot?
Is it easy enough to attach an outdoor wireless AP to one of the routers? Can you just plug it in to one of the LAN ports and setup the wifi as an unsecured network?






466 posts

Ultimate Geek
+1 received by user: 3


  Reply # 698182 8-Oct-2012 22:20 Send private message

At this stage there's no option to customize the landing page, however I was thinking about having an option to upload a logo.

An outdoor AP simply plugs into one of the monitored router ports, and you make the outdoor AP open access, ie no WEP/WPA.  By default port one redirects to the login/landing page, the the other ports dont redirect and allow free access to anything plugged into them, so they need to be set as "monitored ports", you can do this through the operator control panel on the website.

2102 posts

Uber Geek
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  Reply # 698186 8-Oct-2012 22:34 Send private message

Cool, I'll give it a go on my Linksys unit this week.
I also have an outdoor Engenius EOC-2611P that I've neen using so I'll have that connected as well.






466 posts

Ultimate Geek
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  Reply # 698187 8-Oct-2012 22:37 Send private message

CYaBro: Cool, I'll give it a go on my Linksys unit this week.
I also have an outdoor Engenius EOC-2611P that I've neen using so I'll have that connected as well.


cool, let me know of any problems/faults.  Cheers

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  Reply # 699189 10-Oct-2012 16:21 Send private message

All going, looks good and easy to use.
Still got to hook up the outdoor wireless access point.

Having a customised landing page would be a big plus.




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711 posts

Ultimate Geek
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  Reply # 699194 10-Oct-2012 16:27 Send private message

Looks great - good luck with it. Have you considered setting up your site to work as an Captive Portal so that other routers can use it without needing custom firmware?



466 posts

Ultimate Geek
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  Reply # 699234 10-Oct-2012 17:32 Send private message

CYaBro: All going, looks good and easy to use.
Still got to hook up the outdoor wireless access point.

Having a customised landing page would be a big plus.


Thats good, I'll certainly look into the customized landing page then and see how I can implement it.



466 posts

Ultimate Geek
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  Reply # 699265 10-Oct-2012 18:16 Send private message

amanzi: Looks great - good luck with it. Have you considered setting up your site to work as an Captive Portal so that other routers can use it without needing custom firmware?


Other routers wont work at all, unless they already have a built in "hotspot" feature which allows you to specify a radius server and uam server, nearly all dont.

The firmware i've compiled also contains ip tables scripts etc... to firewall off lan subnets etc... block access to wan ip of broadband connection, other wise you have to do this manually, and then there's other custom scripts ive added for changing settings from the website etc...



466 posts

Ultimate Geek
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  Reply # 700687 13-Oct-2012 16:44 Send private message

Have just implemented an option to upload a logo and display on the landing/login page, the logo can be any size and the system re-sizes it to fit using the gdimage library.

Im also deciding how im going to implement the custom landing/login page, since when a user authenticates they get redirected to the "login success" page displaying additional info and other options.  Should this have the ability to be customised aswell?  One thing I thought of was having just a custom splash page instead, which displays before redirection to the login/landing page.  I need some opinions.

Theres also another feature im going to look at later on:
The system currently outputs vouchers to an A4 pdf with 10 vouchers per page, but this is no good for some cafe's who only have receipt printers.  So going to have an option to output a PDF optimized for a receipt printer.

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  Reply # 700688 13-Oct-2012 16:47 Send private message

Having the business logo on the voucher would be great too. :)






466 posts

Ultimate Geek
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  Reply # 700788 13-Oct-2012 22:34 Send private message

CYaBro: Having the business logo on the voucher would be great too. :)


I'll add that to my list aswell.

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  Reply # 703764 19-Oct-2012 20:32 Send private message

Hate to be a party pooper but isn't that what Zenbu, Tomizone, hot-spot, SiteWifi, or other providers are already doing??  Still think that Fon's Fonera was a world leading and game changing product when it first launched, still have my one running at home and they are great.

These days 3G data is "cheap enough" that many people just do that when they are travelling NZ wide, with all three mobile telco's giving away data sticks for sub$50 and you can get a few GB for less than $20 which is more than most people ever need when traveling... it seems like a failed business model these days.  6-10 years ago maybe... but not these days.

And what about the elephant in the room in regards to if someone downloads music / torrents and you get a copyright infringement from it.  Where is the monitoring to tie it back to who did the infringement in the first place?

Just recommend people go for Gargoyle and they have a reasonably good selection of supported routers.  The other issue is most open source custom firmwares such as Gargoyle don't have good support for routers with ADSL.  Thus punters who want to sign up need two routers at their home to run the system, which in some respects defeats the whole purposes of having the router in the first place.

Sorry to be a killjoy.




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466 posts

Ultimate Geek
+1 received by user: 3


  Reply # 703804 19-Oct-2012 22:27 Send private message

BarTender: Hate to be a party pooper but isn't that what Zenbu, Tomizone, hot-spot, SiteWifi, or other providers are already doing??  Still think that Fon's Fonera was a world leading and game changing product when it first launched, still have my one running at home and they are great.

There's nothing wrong with starting a service that already exists with other providers and offering competition in that market. 2degrees came along offering services that Telecom and Vodafone had already been offering for years.


These days 3G data is "cheap enough" that many people just do that when they are travelling NZ wide, with all three mobile telco's giving away data sticks for sub$50 and you can get a few GB for less than $20 which is more than most people ever need when traveling... it seems like a failed business model these days.  6-10 years ago maybe... but not these days.

Not all places have adequate cellphone reception, and some none at all.  There are also a lot of wifi only devices out there (ipads etc...), and not every one has 3g sticks or pocket wifi.  People comming from overseas dont want to pay high roaming rates.  Is it worth them going to a vodafone shop to purchase what they need when they're already at their hotel and the wifi is cheaper than buying 3g data, or even free.  A hotel ive been running a hotspot at have had tonnes of people comming through using their wifi, and also paying for extra etc... on top of whats offered free, so is that a failed business?


And what about the elephant in the room in regards to if someone downloads music / torrents and you get a copyright infringement from it.  Where is the monitoring to tie it back to who did the infringement in the first place?


The system is able to detect this, just haven't implemented anything yet!


Just recommend people go for Gargoyle and they have a reasonably good selection of supported routers.  The other issue is most open source custom firmwares such as Gargoyle don't have good support for routers with ADSL.  Thus punters who want to sign up need two routers at their home to run the system, which in some respects defeats the whole purposes of having the router in the first place.


The system ive designed is user friendly, with features easy to understand and easily configurable directly from the website.  Try asking someone with not much knowledge to set up and configure gargoyle, your average hotel/motel owner wont know what half those options are or how to configure them, not to mention the need for a firewall.  Also having two routers means any existing office setup with the first router doesn't need changing in most cases, a hotspot router can simply plug straight in if its got a proper firewall.  A second router also eliminates the need to create vlans for private and public networks on a single router, if that router even supports it.  Public and private networks should always be separated.


Sorry to be a killjoy.

363 posts

Ultimate Geek
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  Reply # 707019 26-Oct-2012 16:24 Send private message

You're right about some places not having adequate cell coverage.

I went to Karamea a few months back and nothing worked with mobiles or sticks. They were lucky enough to have ADSL.

It'd be good for accommodation places in more remote areas.

I looked at these kind of partnership hotspot things for just in my neighbourhood, but sadly it's always on low powered devices. I have Ubiquiti long range units (1-4 Watts) that let me walk 1KM away and still use my iPod, it'd be great getting firmware on to something like those!


Cheers,
Gavin.

2102 posts

Uber Geek
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  Reply # 707053 26-Oct-2012 17:12 Send private message

kiwirock: You're right about some places not having adequate cell coverage.

I went to Karamea a few months back and nothing worked with mobiles or sticks. They were lucky enough to have ADSL.

It'd be good for accommodation places in more remote areas.

I looked at these kind of partnership hotspot things for just in my neighbourhood, but sadly it's always on low powered devices. I have Ubiquiti long range units (1-4 Watts) that let me walk 1KM away and still use my iPod, it'd be great getting firmware on to something like those!


Cheers,
Gavin.


You can do what we've done and connect a high powered/outdoor wireless access point to port 1,2 or 3 on the router running the Zappie firmware. (You have to enable this via the Zappie portal)
Then just configured it as an open wireless network, with the same SSID or different if you want, and it works.  People connecting to the outdoor AP still get the Zappie landing page etc.




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