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Tanaza accelerates software and hardware disaggregation within the Telecom Infra Project

The Telecom Infra Project (TIP) is a collaborative telecom community. Launched in February 2016, TIP was started with the goal of accelerating the pace of innovation in the telecom industry.

TIP splits its initiatives into three main strategic network areas: Access, Transport and Core and Services. For instance, the Access project groups work on identifying and creating innovative infrastructure solutions, technologies, and methodologies to make it easier to connect people to the Internet. The Access group focuses on removing some of the blockers that can make the connection difficult to the end-user. (Telecom Infra Project)

TIP has a diverse network of members made up of over 500 organizations, including operators, technology providers, developers, integrators, and startups. Members of TIP work actively on disaggregating the traditional network deployment approach. Tanaza began participating in the TIP WiFi project in early 2019, with the intent of contributing with its technology to accelerate software and hardware disaggregation.

 

 

What goes on at the Wi-Fi Project Group?

 

The TIP Wi-Fi project group is developing a disaggregated end-to-end Wi-Fi solution, consisting of access points (APs) and a cloud-native control / management plane which optionally interfaces to mobile operators’ core networks to enable mobile data offload. With design being driven by the goal of reducing total cost of ownership (TCO) and easing the operations, the TIP community’s Wi-Fi solution will be attractive to a wide range of service providers.

Tanaza and other members of the project group will collaborate to validate the hardware and software components they are contributing and ensure those components are interoperable. It is expected that the AP reference design will be open-sourced within TIP, in addition to some parts of the controller/management/gateway software. As a result, this will significantly lower the barrier to entry for new vendors joining the ecosystem.

Tanaza is participating in the TIP Summit ’19 conference

Since 2016, Telecom Infra Project has hosted an annual conference dedicated to people within the Telecom industry. The ones who are changing the world with better connectivity solutions. This year, the TIP Summit ’19 will take place in Amsterdam on November 13-14.

A diverse group of voices from the likes of David del Val Latorre, CEO of Telefonica R&D, Miguel Marin, Technology Director of Vodafone and Tareq Amin, CTO of Rakuten Mobile, will be part of the engaging keynotes and panels at TIP Summit ’19. The speakers will share their experiences focusing on the challenges and opportunities of building and deploying telecom network infrastructures.

On November 14, Sebastiano Bertani, CEO of Tanaza, will participate in the panel “Building an Open Wi-Fi System for communication service providers” moderated by Shah Rahman, Software Engineering Manager of Facebook. The panel will bring together vendors who are collectively working on the TIP Wi-Fi Project group, to discuss how they are enabling CSPs to provide better, faster and cheaper Wi-Fi connectivity to their customers.

If you are attending the TIP Summit ‘19, join our CEO at this luminary panel session to learn more about the contributions OEM partners have made to the TIP Wi-Fi Project Group

See you in Amsterdam!

The Android of WiFi Networks goes to Web Summit 2019

RF basics for WLAN design

Tanaza will join entrepreneurs, startups and investors at Web Summit, the largest tech conference in the world.
The event will take place in Lisbon, Portugal on November 4-7, 2019.

 

Web Summit without a doubt is the most powerful tech event held in Europe since 2009. As a result, it’s been defined by Forbes as “The best technology conference on the planet”. Web Summit covers a variety of topics, ranging from deep tech and data science to design and environmental sustainability. 

Participating at the forefront of this leading-edge and innovative event, Tanaza will be joining at Web Summit 2019 tens of thousands of entrepreneurs, tech icon celebrities, media outlets, and startups – the ones who dictate where the industry is heading and how fast new technologies will be adopted.

 

Innovative sessions and brilliant minds in one place

During four jam-packed days, the world of tech will live and breathe innovation. The Web Summit conference will focus on disruptive business models, envisaging thought leadership, networking and brand awareness. Attendees will get inspired by ground-breaking speaking sessions, experience the power of networking and share their thoughts and ideas with people from all over the world.

Web Summit gathers the minds behind the innovative ideas that are changing the world. This year the list of the top speakers and Web Summit attendees include big names of the likes of Brad Smith – President of Microsoft, Werner Vogels – CTO of Amazon, Edward Snowden – former intelligence officer, and Hans Vestberg – CEO of Verizon. They will deliver breakout sessions – each one at the forefront of their industries, to enlighten us with what’s coming in the world of tech. 

 

Creating the Android of WiFi networks at Web Summit

Sebastiano Bertani, will present a leadership keynote at Web Summit 2019Tanaza CEO Sebastiano Bertani, will present a leadership keynote on the 6th of November at the Growth stage at 10:50 AM. He will discuss how Tanaza is replicating Android’s approach by creating a horizontal market in the wireless networking sector, to free users from locked-in vertical solutions that impose a software/hardware bundle.

Sebastiano aims to introduce TanazaOS operating system as the standard for wireless access points (as Android did with smartphones) and disrupt the WiFi market. Tanaza will be similar to Android in the sense that it will provide a smarter, interoperable software to power a wide range of third party hardware devices and give them additional capabilities and more.

 

If you are attending Web Summit drop by the Tanaza’s booth number G111, on the 5th of November. You will have the opportunity to discuss with our experts the benefits of hardware and software disaggregation in the WiFi market. In addition, get a sneak peek of Tanaza’s cloud-based operating system for WiFi Cloud management and also learn how companies are saving in CapEx and OpEx.

 

“We are thrilled to have been selected by Web Summit to participate at the event. This is an exciting time at Tanaza, and this demonstrates our hard work and commitment to make WiFi ubiquitous and accessible. Also, it furthers our mission to democratize WiFi networks by providing software for affordable, top-notch and cloud-controllable WiFi connectivity.” Declares Sebastiano Bertani, CEO of Tanaza.

See you in Lisbon!

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.