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Captive Portal



Redirect to new WasabiNet site



The Captive Portal is the web page that users first see after connecting any WasabiNet access point within the mesh.  They will have to click through the portal to visit anything else, making the portal an ideal location for Benton Park West-focused event listings, community updated, and advertising from local businesses.  The Portal draws content from exiting local websites like Cherokee Street News, and its ad revenue would cover some of the Wi-Fi network's operating costs.  The portal is multi-lingual, currently with support for English and Spanish content.

You may view the portal directly at http://beaker.gowasabi.net

You may browse recent pageview statistics for the portal here.

In addition, this portal works to announce WasabiNet to anyone coming into the neighborhood and looking for Wifi internet access.  That is, they'll connect to the wireless signal on their computer and first see the portal page telling them what WasabiNet is and how to participate.

Free Access
A strong appeal we envision for WasabiNet would be to provide limited free Internet.  The current approach for allowing free access is to provide a daily quota for content which may be viewed/downloaded for free.  This would be appealing since it would provide limited Internet access to those who are unable to pay any subscription fees at all, and it would let passing visitors use the Wi-Fi network in coffeeshops.

Also, local business owners can opt to provide a seperate WiFi signal on their premises specifically to provide free WiFi to their customers.  This additional WiFi signal would require and additional router that broadcasts on a different channel, but it could still be part of the WasabiNet system.

Technical Details
Besides building the page with local events, updates, and ads, the portal handles online subscription payment and access control for the mesh network.  Access control will be done by maintaining a list of users' MAC addresses (a unique serial # for every computer).  Computers with unrecognized MAC addresses connecting to the network will be shown a page explaining how to subscribe to WasabiNet.  Similarly, computers with a recognized MAC address but with no record of an up-to-date subscription payment will be shown reminders to pay their fees for network usage.

The Portal has been implemented using freeRADIUS open source hotspot management software, along with the Drupal open source website software, which readily supports multi-lingual interfaces.  The custom portal page is hosted on a virtual server from linode.com.

Will Everyone Really Have to Use the Portal, including paying subscribers?
No.  Users connecting to the Mesh network will see the Portal before they see anything else if they are using the free service or if they are connecting with a computer not previously used on the network before.  However, we do not see merit in forcing paying subscribers to view the portal, and we are investigating ways to make viewing the portal optional for them.
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