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Hi! My name is… Tanaza

RF basics for WLAN design

When companies develop new products, they face the hard step of taking a product naming decision. 

Yes, naming is hard: the name must reflect the corporate brand’s perception, the brand image that you want to create and also, it should be easy to remember and pronounce. It’s not something that you choose in a matter of seconds.

When I founded Tanaza (the company) in 2010, I choose a name that was easy to anchor in people’s minds; that sounded nice; that was short; and that had no similarities with other brand names out there. Tanaza had no specific meaning for me, but it gave me a sense of belonging, like a tribe of people that share a special view of the world and of their mission (although I discovered later that it means “to struggle” in pakistani; that it’s the name of a racing horse, in Ireland; and that there’s a lake named Tanaza in the region of Punjab).

As many mono-products companies do, I named our first product (and only product, until last year) after the company.  Tanaza was both our company name and our product name. Easy, isn’t it?

  

The product components were also named after the company: the Tanaza Cloud Infrastructure (cloud.tanaza.com), the Tanaza Hotspot system (editor.tanaza.com and dashboard.tanaza.com) and so on…

Last year, we started the development of what we called TanazaOS: a Linux-based operating system that allows access points to speak with a cloud-based wireless access controller. And in a few months, we were able to launch also the new cloud-based controller, of which you see a screenshot here:

Needless to say, for this platform that allows managing TanazaOS-powered devices, we imagined a whole bunch of names. It was a long discussion, and that the end of it, we decided that we were going to name the product just after the company. Again.

The new platform is called Tanaza. 

Why? Because it’s the best representation of who we are as a company and of what we’re trying to do in the wireless industry. 

We’re struggling (or “Tanaz-ing”?) to bring software and hardware disaggregation in the wireless industry, and we’re doing it with our cloud-based wireless access controller (app.tanaza.com) and with our operating system TanazaOS, which allows communication between the devices and the cloud.

For more details about our “struggle” for software and hardware disaggregation, read my previous article on Medium; and if you want to “join the army”get in touch or wait for further news, as we’re going to publish more in the next few months about our activities to bring disaggregation in this market.

So, the new platform will be called Tanaza, exactly as the company is named. The operating system (OS) that runs on devices, allowing them to be controlled through Tanaza, is consequently named TanazaOS.

But… what about the “old” Tanaza? Well, we are still in love with it and we know that many people are, as well. Everything in the cloud.tanaza.com platform will remain the same and all functionalities will remain operational, but that product will be renamed “Tanaza Classic“. 

You may  have noticed that our website https://www.tanaza.com was recently edited to reflect this change.

You’ll probably ask yourself which are the exact differences in terms of features and capabilities between Tanaza and Tanaza Classic, between TanazaOS and the Tanaza Classic Firmware. Well, these are the topic for our next blog posts… so stay tuned!

Tanaza celebrates World WiFi day

Today is June 20th and we celebrate an important global initiative – World WiFi day.
 
What is World WiFi day?
 
World WiFi day celebrates the significant role that WiFi plays in our society. This initiative celebrates innovations and supports new projects that help bridge the digital divide worldwide and aim to “connect the unconnected” in both developed and developing countries.
 
Why do we celebrate World WiFi day?
 
Tanaza was founded with the goal to disrupt the WiFi market. We did so by developing an innovative WiFi cloud-based software that leverages the WiFi hardware commoditization trend, that would support the ubiquitous expansion of WiFi networks, both on a local and a global level. Our mission from the very beginning was to contribute to establishing a world where any person and any object are connected, anytime, anywhere, wirelessly.
 
How do we contribute?
 
With the ever-growing need for a fast and ubiquitous WiFi connection in most public spaces, we hope to contribute to bridging the digital divide. So far, we are proud to support this initiative by serving the needs of thousands of clients in various sectors, in more than 150 countries.

At Tanaza, we believe that the current market conditions allow the disaggregation of hardware and software to occur also in the Wi-Fi networking market and make the same disruption happen.

With this in mind, and as part of our continuous contribution to the development of the WiFi space/market, we also have recently introduced Tanaza’s latest innovation: a Linux-based operating system for open Wi-Fi networking devices.

TanazaOS discards the vertically-integrated model by encouraging the decoupling of hardware and software in the networking market and particularly in the wireless networking segment.

We are also proud to mention our latest partnership with Telecom Infra Project (TIP) to improve WiFi Internet connectivity and pursue opportunities to deploy innovative technology. Our aim is to improve interoperability, minimize costs, increase Wi-Fi quality, leveraging as much as possible an approach inspired by the Open Source community and software/hardware disaggregation. Within this project, Tanaza intends to maximize software/hardware disaggregation, deploying large scale pilot projects in conjunction with other members, such as operators, ISPs, WISPs, interested in specific innovation aspects covered by the TanazaOS innovation project.

Since it was founded, Tanaza has received five Seals of Excellence from the European Commission as well as the Horizon2020 grant with this year’s submission. Tanaza also received the “Best Enterprise Wi-Fi Solution” award during the Wi-Fi NOW Conference in Berlin in November 2018, and was listed among the 2019 Red Herring Top 100 Europe Winners.

4 rules to build the perfect splash page for your WiFi hotspot

4 rules to build the perfect splash page for your WiFi hotspot

Tanaza features a splash page editor that allows in few minutes the WiFi network administrator to create and customise the authentication page of a public hotspot. In this article, you will find the 4 rules to create an effective splash page for your WiFi users in order to leverage your WiFi network.

 

Easy and fast access to the WiFi network

When users visualise the splash page, you have a few seconds to convince them to log in. Accessing your public hotspot should not require too many efforts otherwise, you are taking the risk to loose potential WiFi users.

The best way to obtain an effective splash page is to make it simple and easy to use.

 

Don’t add too many items, focus on the essential

When creating a splash page, be careful not to confound simplicity with shortage otherwise, you could lose WiFi users with too many information on the landing page. This happens because we don’t respect a few design rules.

But which are these four design rules for an effective splash page?

 

1. Do not add too much content to the WiFi splash page

Less is more is the universal good design rule.

By putting just a few contents in the splash page you allow them to focus on the essentials items and you make the UI intuitive and immediate. When users click on your WiFi network name to access the internet, they expect a fast and easy way to log in.

Instead, they often deal with too complex pages, with too much information, which makes the login process too long and complex.

Add to the WiFi splash page only the essential items: logo, a welcome text, a few login methods. If you need users to accept your terms and conditions, ask your legal consultant to reduce the amount of text to a minimum (eventually link to the full text of terms and conditions).

4 rules to build the perfect splash page for your WiFi hotspot

 

 

2. Use a few colours in your WiFi splash page
 The human mind needs time to elaborate the information, and this takes some effort. A splash page with five colours is more complex to understand than one with just one or two colours. Using a few colours, you allow users to relax and focus, making the WiFi access easier.

Choose monochromatic backgrounds or simple images, with just a few items and a uniform colour set. If you use many login methods (e.g. three social login methods) reduce the amount of space that each button takes, so that the page is less coloured.

4 rules to build the perfect splash page for your WiFi hotspot

3. Focus the attention on key elements

To make your splash page more intuitive, use some tricks to focus users on the most important elements.

 

Use the advertising tool to publish ads on your WiFi splash page

Use the Tanaza advertising tool to show advertising banners and videos. This way, you will focus your users’ attention on the show!

4 rules to build the perfect splash page for your WiFi hotspot

Use bold for titles

Help users to quickly examine the content in your page. Bold your titles (the most important message) and eventually complete the message with a normally formatted text. Using bold titles helps users read your message and login instructions.

4 rules to build the perfect splash page for your WiFi hotspot

Put some space between the elements

As in a book, distinguish the various elements in the splash page with some space and interline. Using white space helps to focus the users’ attention on single elements, such as your logo, text, or buttons.

4 rules to build the perfect splash page for your WiFi hotspot

Use images with a clear meaning

Don’t use images as a decoration, instead choose images that reflect the message you want to send and your brand image. Or, use them to drive emotions (e.g. the image of a smile, or a sunset).

4 rules to build the perfect splash page for your WiFi hotspot

4. Make your Wifi login page accessible

Make your WiFi splash page easy to access for anyone. Small text fonts, clear colours, or small buttons (hard to click from mobile devices) make the login experience too complex for someone.

How to make a WiFi splash page accessible?

 

Make the text readable

Use a larger font size, at least 20pt. Don’t try to be original by using complex font, for example, a font simulating handwriting, as they are less easy to read and less intuitive.

4 rules to build the perfect splash page for your WiFi hotspot

Create some contrast

Use a clear colour for text on a dark background, or the opposite. Create contrast by making the whole page clearer or darker and don’t use coloured rectangles under the text.

Create contrast between elements: if you use blue login buttons, use a red or yellow background.

Move buttons to the bottom

Make the experience better for mobile device users. Put the elements at the bottom by using the footer component in the Tanaza splash page editor, you’ll make the click from mobile devices easier.

4 rules to build the perfect splash page for your WiFi hotspot

Offer a way-out

If you use a social login method, offer an alternative method of authentication via email. Not all people have a social account or want to use it; some might prefer the email, instead.

4 rules to build the perfect splash page for your WiFi hotspot

Conclusion

Creating an effective splash page is not hard. Do not fill it with stuff: use just a few images, a few colours, a small amount of text and a few login methods.

Focus the attention on the key elements and make the UI simple, by using less colours. Make it also accessible, by using a large font size, contract, and moving buttons to the bottom.

If you want to collect users’ data through WiFi, use social login together with another authentication method such as the email login.

If you want to comment on this article, for example by adding your own examples of splash pages, we’ll be happy to provide some feedback!

What WiFi hotspot growth means for your business

The world is quietly experiencing a “hotspot revolution.” Since 2015, the world’s total count of public WiFi hotspots has grown exponentially. A Cisco research found 64.2 million public hotspots operating at the end of 2015. And this growth is accelerating—by the end of 2022, Cisco projects 432.5 million global public hotspots.

Thanks to near-ubiquitous public WiFi, on-demand connectivity is no longer seen as a convenience or privilege. Just as you’d expect to find running water in every public bathroom you visit, you’re entitled to expect publicly accessible WiFi for your laptop or mobile device.

GM, an American automaker, includes optional WiFi data plans in many new vehicles. Comcast, an American telecom provider, is using its millions of home wireless routers to build a massive WiFi hotspot network accessible to anyone with a Comcast account. Cafes without WiFi are now virtually unheard of. Add to that the fact that potentially signing up to use a hotspot over registering for your own WiFi account in the US might be cheaper, and hotspots might just be the solution to the American internet provider problem.

Simply put, it’s impossible to ignore the incredible rate of WiFi hotspot growth and the public’s dramatically escalating standards for convenient access. Here are four potential takeaways for your business.

 

How WiFi hotspots can benefit your business

WiFi isn’t just for cafes and train stations

There was a time when WiFi was a novelty that could only be found at coffee shops and major public gathering places, such as transit hubs and city parks. But that hasn’t been the case for some time. In the past several years, WiFi has morphed from a value-added customer perk to a must-have feature for virtually any business with any sort of public space component.

Here’s a small sampling of the myriad uses for public WiFi in various economic niches:

  • Retail. In-store WiFi access points provide on-demand access for prospective customers as they browse inventory, allowing for easy price comparisons, photography, and peer consultations. Retailers with mobile pay platforms can capture more revenue with mobile “buy now” buttons that finalize sales before prospects leave the store.
  • Healthcare. Patients and their family members can spend significant amounts of time waiting for appointments and news in public spaces. WiFi in waiting rooms allows these people to stay connected during those long, often tedious periods. Likewise, patients well enough to surf the Internet (and allowed to use computing devices) appreciate on-demand access in hospital rooms and wards.
  • Hospitality. Hotels have turned the corner toward free, on-demand public WiFi in all public spaces, including lobbies, restaurants, lounges, conference areas, gyms, pools, and outdoor gathering places. For many hotels, guests and their associates represent a huge captive audience that may be receptive to branded marketing, such as ads for the hotel bar’s happy hour and room discounts for longer stays.
  • Transportation. Public WiFi is a natural fit in airports, train stations, bus depots, public plazas, and even trains and buses. Many cities have deployed public WiFi networks in underground rapid transit stations, subway cars, and other transit vehicles as well, creating new advertising bandwidth that complements existing billboard and wall ads in these places. And like hotels, airports’ gate areas boast massive captive audiences and dozens—or hundreds—of nearby businesses that could potentially market their services. Plus, airports are big places. To properly accommodate demand, airport restaurants, cafes, and lounges all need their own APs—a major opportunity for enterprising resellers willing to play in the transportation segment.
  • Education. Many university campuses are now fully covered by public WiFi networks, to the point where institutions that have yet to deploy campus-wide WiFi are viewed as laggards. Though data remains limited on this point, it’s conceivable that a lack of public WiFi could affect student enrollment decisions.
  • Sport. From youth facilities to professional arenas, sporting environments offer a rich opportunity for WiFi resellers. Fans snap pictures, share social status updates, and browse for information at incredible rates. What’s more, captive, often festive fans comprise an airport-scale audience that’s receptive to targeted marketing.

This stunning diversity of WiFi use represents a tremendous opportunity for entrepreneurs who resell WiFi services and maintain APs. As public WiFi migrates from “optional expense” to “overhead cost” on ever more balance sheets in ever more niches, more use cases are sure to emerge. And that promises to make it easier than ever to sell operators on the benefits of onsite hotspots.

 

Social Engagement Is Exploding

According to Hootsuite, in 2018 the 88% of Facebook users accessed the platform via mobile device, and 95% of Facebook visits were made on smartphones and tablets. Only 31.8% of visits were made on desktops or laptops. And Facebook is just one example of the clear-as-day nexus between mobile devices and social media. Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, and various regional social networks have become mobile forces to be reckoned with.

Much of this exploding social engagement is happening on public WiFi networks, as mobile users visit retailers’ websites, check in at cafes or restaurants, share pictures of merchandise with friends, or simply call out a venue in a social post.

As WiFi hotspot access grows, users will become increasingly accustomed to accessing social media via public WiFi—and thus for late-adopting clients to see the value of offering WiFi access to the general public. Clients can and should provide social login capabilities on their customized splash pages, allowing visitors to log into the network using their Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn,  or even VKontakte accounts. Every visitor who completes the social login process provides valuable demographic and contact information, opening up onsite and future marketing opportunities.

 

Demand for Premium WiFi Has Never Been Higher

Now that public WiFi is a necessity for businesses and institutions looking to remain competitive, it’s natural to assume that individual users—clients and customers—are no longer willing to pay for it. This is certainly true in fragmented markets, such as food service, where customers can easily leave an outlet that charges for WiFi and walk down the street to a competitor that does not.

But it’s not true everywhere. Captive customers, such as sports fans and air travelers, are still willing to pay for basic WiFi. More importantly, affluent customers and those who aren’t personally footing the bill for their data usage (such as business travellers with expense accounts) are willing to pay for higher tiers of WiFi service, notably in crowded environments with limited bandwidth. Hotels, convention centres, and transport nodes are particularly well-suited for tiered or premium WiFi services, which offer an additional opportunity for clients to monetize their networks and APs.

There may even be opportunity for downmarket clients: According to a Cisco white paper, Canadian coffee-and-donuts chain Tim Hortons provides faster connection speeds, an abbreviated sign-in process, and unlimited data use for customers who provided detailed demographic information at first login.

 

WiFi Roaming Offers New Data Capture Opportunities

The same Cisco white paper outlines an additional opportunity to forge new revenue streams from the ongoing hotspot revolution: WiFi roaming.

Like cellular roaming, WiFi roaming allows mobile users access to public hotspots (or home hotspots with public-facing access, such as the public-private network Comcast is currently planning) under other carriers’ purview. Many carriers now offer roaming arrangements, often on an international scale, for a fixed monthly fee. According to Cisco, “The ultimate goal is to make WiFi roaming as smooth and easy to use as the [cellular] network.”

As WiFi roaming becomes a standard component of mobile service, costs are likely to drop, enticing more mobile users to take advantage of the service and connect to out-of-network WiFi hotspots that they might previously have avoided. Every user who does so creates a new opportunity for WiFi clients to monetize their APs—particularly if they use a customized splash page with social sign-in capabilities to capture valuable data from prospective customers. Captured data from previously unreachable customers is an enticing prospect for advertisers—one that WiFi resellers would be advised to hit hard and often when describing the benefits of public WiFi to prospective clients.

 

Final Thoughts

It’s no longer debatable: The hotspot revolution is irreversible. For businesses with any sort of public space component, the situation demands an urgent, focused response. Lost time could equal lost revenue—and, perhaps, a permanent loss of market share to competitors quicker to embrace the power of public WiFi.

The good news is that the hotspot revolution creates a tremendous opportunity for entrepreneurs who recognize the potential of cloud-managed WiFi networks. With public WiFi no longer an optional perk for businesses that want to remain competitive, the concept nearly sells itself. All you need to make your cloud-managed WiFi business work is a clear vision and a willingness to put in the necessary work.

If you need a software to easily set up and manage your wireless networks, Tanaza offers the best-in-class cloud-based software for WiFi network and social hotspot management. Its Hotspot System allows WiFi network administrators to set up and configure a captive portal for their public hotspots, which can be easily customized with Tanaza’s splash page editor. Through the captive portal, WiFi users can authenticate using their personal credentials (such as their email or phone number) or their preferred social networking account (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn…). Businesses that provide WiFi to their clients can leverage the captive portal as an advertising tool, by inserting image or video advertisement directly on the splash page, and as a marketing tool by collecting useful WiFi user data and segmenting it for marketing purposes. By integrating Tanaza with third-party applications, businesses can use the data collected to communicate information via targeted email marketing campaigns and to interact with users with engaging content that will be seen by them during the authentication process.

 

Published by Claudia Barbarisi, written by Flynn Robinson.
Flynn is a self-employed writer and programmer, whose days generally involve a coffee shop or two with excellent, free WiFi.

How disaggregation allows you to reduce your CAPEX and OPEX

How disaggregation allows you to reduce your CAPEX and OPEX

The disaggregation concept embraces the open-source approach where WiFi solution providers can decouple their hardware choice from their software choiceThis decoupling trend has already been successful in other industries such as the computer and smartphone markets.

In the WiFi industry, disaggregation enables WiFi professionals to control their costs when deploying or upgrading a WiFi network and obtaining significant cost savings.

How disaggregation allows you to reduce your CAPEX and OPEX

At Tanaza, we fully embrace the disaggregation concept and our software allows you to choose the hardware vendor most suitable for their deployment. Our latest product, TanazaOS is a Linux-based operating system for centralized wireless network management developed based on the disaggregation concept. TanazaOS allows enterprises and service providers to reduce their CAPEX and OPEX.

Thanks to disaggregation, the business model of a WiFi solution provider using TanazaOS encourages them to:

 

Reduce WiFi hardware cost

For example, when a WiFi solution provider using TanazaOS has to decide the type of hardware for his next WiFi deployment, he will be able to choose cheaper wireless devices such as consumer/SMB devices which cost around $100/unit, unlike someone using a vendor-lock-in solution who will have to spend around $300/unit (hardware + software solution).

By using TanazaOS, a WiFi administrator enjoy the same set of professional features whatever the model of access point selected. Features include for example remote monitoring, centralised configuration, multi-site management and self-provisioning.

How disaggregation allows you to reduce your CAPEX and OPEX

Save time and money for the WiFi deployment

TanazaOS self-provisioning system enables WiFi administrators to pre-configure the access points before shipping them to their customers (offline configuration).
Once online, the wireless devices will automatically sync the configuration, allowing WiFi administrators to speed up the WiFi network deployment and to reduce on-site travels costs. Moreover, large WiFi network configurations are facilitated thanks to the network-wide configuration system.

 

Save money on WiFi infrastructure maintenance

When managing a WiFi network, the TanazaOS’ remote management feature enables WiFi administrators to reduce maintenance and troubleshooting cost: receive email alerts in case of access point disconnections, perform manual or scheduled reboots directly from the cloud, and keep an eye on your access points status thanks to the global map. This has direct impacts on maintenance budget such as no need for technicians on site, the fast configuration from a centralised platform, firmware’ scheduled upgrade, and disconnection alerts.

 

TanazaOS is conceived around the disaggregation concept, which means offering the option to select software from one vendor and run it on hardware from a different manufacturer. It is an operating system that supports WiFi solution providers who are looking for a flexible and efficient self-provisioning system that facilitates unlimitedly scalability and helps in delivering wireless networking services faster.

At Tanaza, we want to deliver a complete and cutting-edge product. With this in mind, we are constantly expanding our set of featuresFor more information about the new TanazaOS, feel free to try the interactive demo or to contact one of our Tanaza consultants.

Juniper Networks acquires Mist Systems for $405 million

Juniper Networks has entered into a definitive agreement to acquire Mist Systems, a wireless LAN vendor pioneering AI-driven WLAN, for $405 million.

With this acquisition, announced on March 4th, 2019, Juniper will combine Mist’s WLAN platform with its existing wired LAN, SD-Wan and security systems to provide enterprise customers with a complete solution.

Mist Systems manages its operations via a modern cloud microservices architecture, and its technology includes machine learning and Artificial Intelligence (AI) capabilities. In early 2018 Mist developed an AI-driven Virtual Network Assistant, Marvis, to simplify wireless operations, and provide insight into client and network behaviour. Mist has also leveraged patented virtual Bluetooth LE technology together with WiFi to deliver location-based wireless services to customers, such as proximity notifications and traffic analytics.

Mist’s acquisition will expand Juniper’s presence in the cloud-managed segment of the wireless networking market and will allow the company to offer a software-defined solution that simplifies operations, lowers operational costs and improves the user experience. Moreover, Juniper plans to leverage Mist’s AI capabilities by extending them across Juniper’s networking portfolio for software-defined architectures.

“With our planned acquisition of Mist Systems, we are not only expanding our enterprise portfolio into the wireless arena but also staking claim to AI-driven operations in the era of multi-cloud,” Juniper CEO Rami Rahim stated in a blog post. “Wireless is the most strategic place to start as we adopt AI for IT. It’s also more than just wireless. AI-driven operations must extend across the whole IT stack if it is to reach its full potential.”

The acquisition of Mist is expected to close during Juniper Networks’ second fiscal quarter, subject to regulatory approvals and customary closing conditions.