Wi-Fi tutorial for visitor access captive portal walled-garden hotspot gateway controllers providing visitor and guest wireless network login control through a web login interface to the wireless LAN.

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Understanding Visitor Access Controllers

Connect802 can help with the selection and system design for many manufacturer's Visitor Access Controllers. We are also an authorized, value-added reseller for a number of other products from major manufacturers.

If you have questions, please don't hesitate to call us today! We'll be happy to provide you with any technical explanation that you need to help you assure a successful wireless networking deployment.

802.1x Authentication = Edge Authentication
Access Controller Functionality = UserID/Password Interior Authentication

  • A "HotSpot" is a public location such as an airport, shopping mall or conference center that has readily accessible wireless networks, usually 802.11b
  • Roaming Between Different Administrative Domains
    • A controlling software program, called an aggregator (like Boingo, or some other subscription service) allows their users to access WLAN's in different venues. One of the venues can be the hotspots of the various operators working together in an aggregate solution. To be able to allow users that do not have any current subscription membership to access the hotspots, some of these aggregators require client software on the device trying to connect to the hotspot, others require the same configuration on the hotspot access controller. That is, a user will receive the login page where the user and password to be entered is linked to the aggregator. In the case of aggregators requiring a client installed on the user's device, the client software has either standard or proprietary methods to communicate with the provided network at the hotspot.
    • The hotspot of either operator must have logic in the access controller to recognize the request from the user that is member of the aggregator. The hotspot access controller recognizes that this is a user that does not have local membership but that it is part of the aggregator's family. With this knowledge, the authentication request is sent to the aggregator's database which checks the validity of the request and responds to the hotspot access controllers who either open access or deny access to the site.
    • Once this external aggregator's mechanisms checks the credentials and send a positive signal in return the local hotspot opens the access to the user and the accounting mechanisms are triggered to keep information on this foreign user to be able to do billing according to the roaming agreement.