Howto

Using Microsoft Active Directory to authenticate hotspot users (update)

We've updated our documentation to make it easier to connect SputnikNet to your Microsoft Active Directory database for authenticating hotspot users. (Tip of the hat to one of our awesome customers who helped us improve this.)

So, if you use Microsoft Active Directory, your employees can use their normal login credentials to sign into your Wi-Fi hotspots. And of course, with SputnikNet, you easily add one or more guest authentication systems for members of the public.

Here's how to use Microsoft Active Directory with SputnikNet in six steps.

Content Caching on Sputnik-Powered Devices: How-To

Routers commonly ship with USB ports nowadays, and Sputnik engineers have been cooking up some good ways to use them.

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Here’s the first that we’ve shipped: content caching at the edge. And here’s what it does.
Content caching stores data from frequently visited web sites locally, on the router—or to be exact, on a USB flash drive attached to the router. That way, when the content is requested by a user’s browser it can be loaded locally, from the router, rather than over the Internet.
For example, lets say one of your users visits a popular site such as Facebook, Google News, Yahoo! News or YouTube. The first visitor fetches the web content from the Internet, and it is automatically stored by your Sputnik-powered router. The second visitor then only needs to fetch content that is unique to them—the rest is servved right from the router (at local network speed). As more content is added to the local cache, more and more becomes available to users on your local network.
It’s the same idea used by companies like Akamai to distribute content closer to the “edge” of the Internet, where users are. Only in this case, the “edge” is the Sputnik-powered router only a few feet from the user!
This can dramatically improve network performance and save bandwidth.

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How much bandwidth? That depends upon your network. Customers are reporting savings of 10% or even more over time. (We’d love to hear from you if you’re running Sputnik-powered content caching to hear how much bandwidth you save.)
Content caching makes a big difference if the broadband network serving your hotspot is metered, or if you’re on a low bandwidth, high latency connection such as a sattelite.
Sputnik-powered content caching works with the routers we sell that include a USB port, for example the Cisco E200, Cisco E3000, Cisco E3200, Cisco E4200, Netgear WNR3500L and Asus RT-N16.* It requres a SputnikNet Pro subscription for that router.
OK – that sounds good, so how do you get started? It couldn’t be simpler.

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  • Order a Sputnik flash drive from our online store. (We provision and test each USB flash drive to ensure it works well with SputnikNet.)
  • Put the flash drive into your Sputnik-powered router.
  • Enable USB support and turn on content caching. enable-caching
  • Wait 15 minutes for your first bandwidth saving report.
That’s all there is to it. We hope that you enjoy saving bandwidth and providing a faster browsing experience to your customers!
* Supported router list is subject to change over time.

How to Create New Captive Portals in SputnikNet

Captive portals are (usually) how people log into Wi-Fi networks using SputnikNet. And they’re a vital way to convey your brand, deliver messages to your customers, run seasonal promotions and welcome customers to your Wi-Fi network.

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SputnikNet enables you to create unlimited captive portals. Once created, you simply apply portals to one or many Sputnik-Powered Wi-Fi access points. Then add one or many authentication systems (ways to log in) to each portal. Each Wi-Fi hotspot on your network can be different, or they can all be the same. This gives you tremendous flexibility to create the kind of experience you want to offer your customers.

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In short, there are no limits. 2012 is a great year to use Wi-Fi to connect with your customers and communicate your brand.
Here’s how to create new captive portals in SputnikNet.

How to Create Pre-Login Portals in SputnikNet

Many busy Wi-Fi sites attract lots of visitors or passersby with smartphones in their pockets or purses who never actually log in. These ambient Wi-Fi sessions can create load on your router as it attempts to display your media-rich captive portal to each client as they grab DHCP leases.
The Pre-Login Portal is a slimmed-down captive portal that acts as a basic “CAPTCHA” or Turing test – it only displays your captive portal to users who request it, utilizing a minimum of router resources and bandwidth. This can reduce load on your Wi-Fi router in busy locations with lots of ambient Wi-Fi connections.

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Here’s how to enable a pre-login portal to reduce the load on your router at busy Wi-Fi hotspots.

How to Configure DHCP for Busy Hotspots with Execute Command, from the Cloud

Busy Wi-Fi hotspots need a sufficient number of DHCP leases for guests who connect to the network. However the growth of Wi-Fi enabled smartphones, tablets and other mobile devices has dramatically increased the number of “ambient” Wi-Fi connections that also request DHCP leases – even though they might never actually authenticate onto the network. In SputnikNet, these ambient requests show up as unauthenticated sessions.

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It is important to ensure that routers in busy hotspots are set up with large, frequently refreshed DHCP lease pools to keep up with this demand.
Here’s how to configure your Sputnik-powered router for high-demand sites, from the cloud.

How to Change your Router's Web Admin Password from the Cloud, with SputnikNet

To enhance the security of your Wi-Fi routers, Sputnik-Powered firmware (available free from our download site) requires a password change upon setup.

cloudlock

However for customers running stock DD-WRT firmware, or who are concerned about the security of Wi-Fi routers in the field, here’s how to change your router’s web admin password from the cloud, using SputnikNet.