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New Tanaza feature idea: dynamic bandwidth allocation for SSID

The situation

With Tanaza, WiFi network administrators can currently limit the bandwidth for their WiFi networks by controlling the bandwidth per SSID and controlling the bandwidth per client. 

These two features allow WiFi administrators to first, limit the overall bandwidth at the SSID level, and second, limit the bandwidth at the WiFi user level.

Both features aim to allocate the same amount of bandwidth per client/SSID in order to ensure the proper functioning of the WiFi network and offer high-quality services

Furthemore, Tanaza developed the Access Point Selector to help WiFi administrator determine the total amount of bandwidth he needs to provide to his WiFi users accordingly with the level of services. 

Use case

In the example below, the WiFi administrator limits the available bandwidth to 100 Mbps per SSID, and the bandwidth per user level to 2 Mbps.  What is more, the administrator limits the number of concurrent users to 30 and assigns each concurrent users approximately 2x30 = 60 MbpsThis means that about 40 Mbps won’t be used by WiFi users. Consider that, calculating the right amount of bandwidth is one of the most important steps when deploying a WiFi hotspot, especially for WiFi administrators working in the hospitality sector.

The solution

Tanaza is thinking about developing a new feature to optimize the bandwidth limit per SSID and per client. The idea is to dynamically assign a higher bandwidth value to each connected user until they reach the maximum bandwidth value configured by the WiFi administrator for that specific SSID.

This way, when a new WiFi user accesses the SSID on the same access point, the bandwidth exceeding the limit configured (in the example: 2 Mbps) will be distributed again according to the new number of concurrent users. In the end, the overall SSID limit will be optimized, allowing WiFi users to enjoy a higher level of bandwidth when the number of concurrent users is low.

If you like the feature of the dynamic bandwidth allocation for SSID, you can upvote the idea on our Feature Lab.

Starbucks to start blocking pornography from its WiFi networks

Starbucks plans to introduce a new tool aimed at preventing customers from viewing pornography or other explicit content in its stores. This solution will begin to be introduced to the company’s US locations in 2019.

Watching pornographic content has long been banned at Starbucks locations: indeed, viewing pornography in a Starbucks store using its free public Wi-Fi network is already a violation of the company’s internet policy. Nevertheless, until now the chain has not had content blockers on its Wi-Fi service.

“We have identified a solution to prevent this content from being viewed within our stores and we will begin introducing it to our U.S. locations in 2019”, a company representative stated.

This shift has come thanks to pressure from Enough is Enough, a nonprofit, internet-safety advocacy group which created a petition calling for Starbucks to filter pornography. The petition has been signed by more than 30,000 people.

“Apparently, Starbucks cares more about providing paper straws to protect the environment than protecting kids and patrons on its public WiFi!” says the petition. “Starbucks broke its promise to filter pornography and child sex abuse images, despite its public announcement it would voluntarily provide safe WiFi in its restaurants nationwide…an announcement made more than 2 and-a-half years ago!”

Indeed, the company promised to start filtering pornographic content in 2016, when McDonalds, which was one of the chains being pressured by Enough is Enough since 2014 to put up content filters on their public WiFi networks, started blocking pornography. This put pressure on Starbucks to do the same, but the company never followed through on that promise.

Donna Rice Hughes, CEO of Enough is Enough. claimed in a statement that Starbucks, by breaking its commitments, was “keeping the doors wide open for convicted sex offenders and others to fly under the radar from law enforcement and use free, public Wi-Fi services to access illegal child porn and hard-core pornography.”


So far, Starbucks has not disclosed technical details about the solution but said the company tested multiple tools, aiming at avoiding accidentally blocking inoffensive websites.

Web content filtering improves public hotspot WiFi security by allowing network administrators to block distasteful and illegal content, to scan and secure hotspots from hacking attacks and viruses and from liabilities due to illegal activities.

Tanaza features a built-in content filtering tool that gives WiFi hotspot providers the opportunity to create a customized list of sites to block or unblock, choosing among a large number of categories. With this tool, WiFi hotspot providers can easily manage the kind of content their users can see when browsing their network. Moreover, the Tanaza content filtering tool works with any WiFi hotspot, as Tanaza is multi-vendor and therefore supports a wide array of access points.

Do you want to discover the Tanaza Content Filtering? Start the 15-day free trial to see how you can effectively protect your Wi-Fi network with our cloud-based content filtering system.

The next steps of the WiFi4EU programme

After the cancellation of the first call, put out by the European Commission on May 15th, the tender for WiFi4EU – the initiative promoted by the European Union for the diffusion of free WiFi connection in public spaces –  officially reopened on November 7th at 13:00 CET, and closed on November 9th at 17:00 CET. Although, three more calls will be published over the next two years, about one every six months.

>> Find out more about WiFi4EU in our previous article

 

The reasons behind the first WiFi4EU call cancellation

The first call was extensively popular, but due to technical issues (a flaw that allowed some municipalities to apply before the call was opened while preventing others to do the same once the call had opened), the WiFi4EU portal was closed a few hours after.

Once the call reopened, all registrations already completed were still valid and registered municipalities were able to apply again with a click of a button. Over 13,000 municipalities registered to the call in order to become eligible for the grants.

If as a municipality, you applied during the canceled call and you want to check whether your application has been kept valid, just enter the WiFi4EU portal with your own credentials.

>>Watch our free webinar about WiFi4EU

 

Winners’ announcement and next steps

The winners will be announced approximately six weeks after the closing of the competition; subsequently, the selected municipalities will receive an email with the request to sign a grant agreement.

Update: the list of the 2,800 municipalities that won the first call has been published on the WiFi4EU portal on December 7th. A total of 42 millions in funds have been allocated for the first call.

>>Read the official announcement and see the list of winners of the first WiFi4EU call by country.

The projects are declared to be selected on a first-come-first-served basis, as each member state will have a limited amount of vouchers (around 2,500) available to give out to deploy free wireless internet access points.

Each voucher is meant to cover the equipment and installation costs (CAPEX) of the Wi-Fi hotspots, up to a maximum of 15,000 euros: if the costs exceed this amount, the difference will be paid by the beneficiary. Other costs, such as subscriptions, maintenance, and the cost for internet connection, are on the municipality itself and cannot be covered with the European Funds.

The beneficiaries of a voucher will have a year and a half to install and operate the hotspots, selecting the public spaces that will be equipped with WiFi and contracting the equipment installation to one or more suppliers. After the hotspot deployment, the municipalities must guarantee free WiFi for at least three years. The voucher assigned to a municipality must be collected by a single supplier, and cannot be split among multiple suppliers.

Municipalities will choose their suppliers of WiFi hardware and installation services from a selected list of suppliers, which is already published on the WiFi4EU portal.

Tanaza is in this list and provides its WiFi services across all the EU member countries, through its extensive network of authorized partners.

 

How to apply to the next WiFi4EU calls

Even if the first call is now closed, it will be possible for municipalities to register for the upcoming ones.
Municipalities and local institutions intending to take part in this project must register on the WiFi4EU portal to be promptly informed about the timing of the request.

The application will need to be accompanied by the «proof of approval» from the legal representative of the institution, from the copy of the act with which he was nominated and his ID card.

 

The future of WiFi4EU

After the announced calls, the second phase of the WiFi4EU scheme (due to start in 2019) will be about making remote monitoring and seamless login available across all the deployed networks. The plan is to introduce a single authentication and authorization platform that allows users to register their credentials and seamlessly roam between WiFi4EU hotspots, without having to constantly log in or to sign up to new hotspots.

Moreover, there will be a remote monitoring system that will ensure that all networks are up and running during the 3-year period; through this platform, the Commission will be also able to remotely monitor the connectivity quality of all the WiFi4EU hotspots.

Tanaza released new templates for the splash page editor

Tanaza features a splash page editor that allows WiFi professionals to configure, edit, and customise their captive portal.

The editor’s drag and drop system enables WiFi network administrators to create in a few clicks their splash page by adding a logo, a text, their preferred authentication methods, and redirection links to external landing pages, to name a few. The landing page can also be configured in multiple languages.

>> Watch our video tutorial!

In the past, many of our customers have asked for our help when building their splash page – mostly for tips and tactics on how best to engage their WiFi users. With this in mind, we recently released new templates on the splash page editor to help get them started and give them some inspiration.

In addition to this, we also recently published an article about the four rules to follow when creating a landing page.

These models show you pre-designed splash pages, mobile friendly, that you can easily modify by substituting the elements with your logo, image, text and so on.

When opening the splash page editor, click on “Create new”, and choose the template you like the most for your WiFi hotspot.
We created different models for  different sectors/markets where public WiFi is often provided, such as healthcare, entertainment venues, public transportation, education, catering trade, commercial venues and hospitality.

 

If you would like to test the Tanaza splash page editor, you can register to our 15 days free trial.

WiFi 4 and WiFi 5 are the new simplified naming protocols for wireless standards

The WiFi alliance recently announced a change in the names for the IEEE 802.11 wireless standards, the specifications composed of a set of protocols determine the technology requirements of wireless networks. Since the IEEE 802.11 generations of WiFi technology are so popular and similarly named, to avoid confusion the Wi-Fi alliance has decided to appoint simpler names.

 

Simplifying the technical names of wireless standards 

 

For anyone who has no previous WiFi knowledge and has ever tried to purchase a WiFi device, understanding the different generations of WiFi technology within the device can be a real struggle. These technical names composed of a long set of numbers followed by random letters seem nonsensical to anyone not proficient in WiFi terminology, making it difficult to decipher what the different letters are actually referring to.

 

Why is this change happening?

 

The re-brand of these alphanumeric codes will serve to help consumers make more informed decisions about the networks they are connecting to. Namely with popular wireless standards like 802.11n and 802.11ac which are some of the most commonly used, especially used when implementing home and office networks. By renaming these technologies, the WiFi Alliance is replacing these alphanumeric codes for single digit numbers that represent the ranking of each WiFi technology – i.e. WiFi 4 or WiFi 5.

 

From now on, the standard 802.11ac, will be called Wi-Fi 5 as it is the fifth version of IEEE 802.11 Wi-Fi generation. Consequently, 802.11n (also sometimes known as Wireless N), will be known as Wi-Fi 4 as it is a lower version of the 802.11ac standard and the fourth version to be developed.
By shortening and simplifying these technical names, users will have a much easier time understanding the hierarchy between the different version. Indeed, the higher the version number, the higher the generation of WiFi technology – vis a vis, most upgraded, in terms of speed, signal, bandwidth.

 

Although not yet officially announced, the latest generation of Wi-Fi technology – 802.11ax will soon be denoted WiFi 6.

4 ways to leverage your WiFi landing page

Tanaza features a captive portal, allowing WiFi network administrators to create and customise splash page for public hotspots.
Indeed, Tanaza splash page editor gives the opportunity to owners of a venue to promote and deliver adding services to WiFi users.


There are many ways to leverage the splash page of a public hotspot, such as for example encourage WiFi users to download an application, leave a TripAdvisor review, follow a Facebook page or redirect them to another website.

 

Download an application on the WiFi landing page

 

WiFi network administrators can encourage WiFi users to download an iOS or Android application before accessing a public hotspot, which is really useful when managing WiFi hotspots in locations like museums, restaurant chains, shopping malls, sports venues, municipalities, private medical centers, fashion retail shops, furniture shops, shopping outlets, supermarkets and so on.

By simply creating a redirection button to the download platform of an app (iTunes Store for iOS or Google Play Store Android) on the Tanaza splash page, a hotspot administrator can redirect WiFi users and offer them additional services. For example, a museum could promote its audio-guide application on its splash page, a restaurant could promote its “take-away” service application and a brand could promote its e-commerce app to people that are in its fashion retail shop.

>> Read this article for more information

 

Increase the social visibility of your location through Tripadvisor

 

Tanaza allows restaurant owners to increase their visibility on review platforms such as Tripadvisor, Zomato, Yelp, etc. Indeed, WiFi network administrators can customise the splash page, adding a redirection button or image to the restaurant TripAdvisor page.
The idea is to encourage clients to leave a review about their experience in exchange for free WiFi. Another marketing idea could be to ask for a review on Tripadvisor in exchange for a free café for example.

>> Read this article for more information

 

Engage with customers thanks to Facebook Like and Check-in

When accessing a WiFi network, users have often the possibility to connect using their social media account such as Facebook. In this case, a WiFi network administrator could ask them to like a page or to geolocate themselves in a location on Facebook. This allows the owner of a venue to increase his social visibility and to engage with more customers.
To do this, simply enable the option “social actions” on the splash page settings.

We recommend you to ask whether for a Like or a Check-in to WiFi users.
Indeed, there are three options when using social actions with the Tanaza hotspot system:

  • the first one is the Like only;
  • the second one is the Check-in only;
  • the third one is asking for a Like and a Check-in to WiFi users;

One possible scenario is that the user is asked for a “Like”, then connects to the internet. When connecting the second time to the network, depending on the settings, he’s asked again for the “Like” (if not done) or he’s asked for a check-in in a specific place.
Find more information about how you should communicate about social actions in this article.

>> Read this article for more information

 

Use an external WiFi splash page to offer additional login services

 

Tanaza allows WiFi network administrators to configure an external splash page and deliver additional services to WiFi users y adding an external radius server on top of the Tanaza infrastructure. This function is really useful in scenarios like in a supermarket, where the WiFi administrator sets up the social login or a login through a fidelity card.

Also, the external splash page can be used when WiFi administrators want to enable their own splash page or SMS gateway different from the Tanaza’s one.

>> Read this article for more information

 

To conclude, customising the splash page of a public hotspot is a fundamental step in the communication and marketing plan of any businesses willing to promote and deliver additional services to their customers. It allows businesses to offset costs of the WiFi infrastructure but also to enhance the final experience of their users.