Sputnik FAQ

  • SputnikNet
  • What is SputnikNet? < back
    SputnikNet is the super-flexible, web-based management and captive portal authentication system for Wi-Fi hotspots and hotzones. Manage one or thousands of hotspots with SputnikNet. SputnikNet enables you to:

    • auto-provision Wi-Fi access points (APs) by plugging them into broadband
    • manage Wi-Fi APs centrally, over a secure Web connection
    • design captive portals with your brand
    • authenticate users and devices for free or paid Wi-Fi
    • track usage by access point and Wi-Fi end user

    Learn more about SputnikNet.
  • What is SputnikNet Express? < back
    SputnikNet Express is the free web-based management and captive portal system for single-site hotspots. SputnikNet Express enables you to:

    • theme your site, using your logo and
    • localize your Wi-Fi end-user experience with content from Google, Yahoo!, MSN (movies, maps, weather, and local search)
    • authenticate users and devices
    • track usage by access point and Wi-Fi end user

    SputnikNet Express will be discontinued in 2015.
  • What is a Sputnik-powered device? < back
    Any network device such as a Wi-Fi access point or network gateway that runs Sputnik Agent firmware. Sputnik-powered devices can be managed by SputnikNet, and can authenticate users with captive portals.

    Sputnik and authorized hardware resellers sell a wide range of Sputnik-powered devices.

    Because the Sputnik Agent is a default component of DD-WRT firmware, once you flash hardware with DD-WRT you have a full-fledged Sputnik-powered device ready to be managed by your SputnikNet account.
  • What is a SputnikNet account? < back
    A SputnikNet account is your web "control center" for your Wi-Fi networks.

    You can do everything-- manage one or thousands of Wi-Fi access points (APs) and gateways, set up captive portals, create network policies, apply authentication systems, get usage reports -- from SputnikNet.

    There is a one-time charge of $49.95 to set up a SputnikNet account, which you can purchase from our online store.
  • What is a SputnikNet subscription? < back
    Each Sputnik-powered device you manage needs a subscription to your SputnikNet account.

    There are three levels of device subscriptions: NMS (network management for range extenders), Standard (for Wi-Fi APs/routers), and Pro (for high-volume network gateways).

    • Sputnik Agent NMS subscriptions are free. That means you can centrally manage as many Sputnik-powered range extender APs as you want at no cost.
    • Standard access point subscriptions, devices that can authenticate 20-30 simultaneous Wi-Fi end users, are $19.95 per AP per month, or $199.50 per year. Subscription prices decline in volume.
    • Pro gateway subscriptions, devices which can authenticate 100 or more simultaneous Wi-Fi users, are $49.95 per month, or $499.50 per year. Subscription prices decline when purchased in volume.

    There are no per-user or transaction fees-- just subscription fees based upon the number of Sputnik-powered devices managed by your SputnikNet account.
  • What is Sputnik Control Center? < back
    In distant times, we sold a software version of SputnikNet. In those days people could purchase licenses from us and run the software on their own servers.

    While there are still many partisans of the old Sputnik Control Center, Sputnik no longer sells software licenses except to legacy customers. In other words, SputnikNet is only available in a hosted version.
  • Sputnik Agent Firmware
  • What is the Sputnik Agent? < back
    Free Sputnik Agent firmware, a default component of DD-WRT firmware, runs on hundreds of compatible Wi-Fi devices, enabling them to plug-and-play into centrally managed, access-controlled hotspot networks powered by SputnikNet.

    The Sputnik Agent is responsible for:

    • Communications with SputnikNet
    • Remote telemetry (reporting device health and status)
    • Remote management (provisioning, configuration, upgrade)
    • Captive portal redirect (for user authentication)
    • Dynamic firewalls (based on user policy)
    • Bandwidth tracking

    Find the Sputnik Agent by selecting "Services/Hotspot" in DD-WRT firmware.

  • What is Sputnik Agent Standard? < back
    Sputnik Agent Standard is the mode the Sputnik Agent runs in on "standard" Wi-Fi access points/routers. These devices are capable of authenticating 20-30 simultaneous network users.

    • Standard access point subscriptions, are $19.95 per AP per month, or $199.50 per year. Subscription prices decline in volume.
  • What is Sputnik Agent Pro? < back
    Sputnik Agent Pro is the mode the Sputnik Agent runs in on high-end network gateways, such as the Sputnik 750. These devices are capable of authenticating 100 or more simultaneous network users.

    Pro subscriptions are also required to use advanced features such as session queueing and content caching at the edge.

    • Pro gateway subscriptions are $49.95 per month, or $499.50 per year. Subscription prices decline when purchased in volume.
  • What is Sputnik Agent NMS? < back
    Sputnik Agent NMS ("network management system") is the mode the Sputnik Agent runs in on any class of AP, router, or network gateway, when it is used only for device management, not client authentication. Running a Sputnik-powered access point in NMS mode enables you to remotely manage the device (e.g. change SSID, power output, channel, issue remote commands, etc.)

    Typically these devices are used as range extenders behind Sputnik-powered devices running in Sputnik Agent Standard or Pro mode.

    • Sputnik Agent NMS subscriptions are free. That means you can centrally manage as many Sputnik-powered range extender APs as you want at no cost.
  • Can I just run Sputnik Agent NMS? < back
    No. In order to run Sputnik Agent NMS, you must have at least one client-authenticating Sputnik-powered AP, router, or gateway device on your network.

    Devices running Sputnik Agent NMS are designed to act as range extenders behind Sputnik-powered devices running in Sputnik Agent Standard or Pro mode.
  • What is DD-WRT firmware? < back
    DD-WRT is a Linux-based alternative open-source firmware suitable for a great variety of WLAN routers and embedded systems. It is licensed under the GNU General Public License version 2.

    In most cases, DD-WRT is considered a third-party firmware solution designed to replace the firmware that ships pre-installed on many commercial routers. This is done for a variety of reasons; including but not limited to the addition of features which are not typically included in a manufacturer's router firmware, such as the Sputnik Agent.

    For more information visit dd-wrt.com.
  • Is DD-WRT on sputnik.com different from standard DD-WRT firmware? < back
    The firmware is exactly the same. However, Sputnik Agent firmware images on our web site have been tested by Sputnik, and have our default settings. More specifically, the Sputnik Agent is enabled by default, and will be active after a factory reset. It also has our nice logo at the top of the web management console, which is how you can tell whether you're running Sputnik-default DD-WRT firmware.
  • What Wi-Fi hardware does the Sputnik Agent run on? < back
    A quick way to check whether a hardware product is Sputnik-compatible or not is to look DD-WRT's router database.

    Any hardware device that is capable of running DD-WRT firmware will run the Sputnik Agent, which is a default component. (There are some exceptions, such as Linksys WRT54G, where the device's memory constraints make it impracticable.)

    A few important points:

    First, if available for your model, choose the Sputnik-default DD-WRT firmware available for download from our firmware download page. This firmware is identical to stock DD-WRT with one important difference: it enables the Sputnik Agent by default, and keeps the Sputnik Agent enabled settings after a reboot.

    Second, please understand that Sputnik cannot help you flash or troubleshoot the flashing of DD-WRT firmware onto third-party devices. There is a lot of great documentation on DD-WRT's site on how to do this, and an active user forum. If you are uncomfortable flashing your own hardware, purchase pre-flashed devices from us.

    Finally, DD-WRT firmware is free for Broadcom-based devices, but requires activation for Atheros- and Intel-based devices. The activation fee is approximately 20 Euros, paid directly to DD-WRT. Sputnik has nothing to do with these fees (though we do pay them for devices that we flash and resell).
  • What are the default network settings for Sputnik-powered devices? < back
    Post-flash Sputnik defaults
    • Admin: http://192.168.180.1
    • DHCP lease subnet is 192.168.180.x
    • WAN is set up as a DHCP client
    • Username/password: root/admin
    • WLAN and LAN (if it exists) are all authenticated
    Exceptions
  • How do I enable/disable the Sputnik Agent? < back
    Associate with the Sputnik-powered device (wired or wirelessly).

    Browse to http://192.168.180.1 (or appropriate IP for your model of router) and enter your username password.

    Click on "Services" then "Hotspot".

    Click "Enable" and select the Sputnik Agent mode: Pro for Sputnik 700 series gateways, Standard for all other models.

    Select "Use Sputnik Instant Setup" to assign the device to your SputnikNet account. See our online documentation for more information.

    Select "Use SputnikNet Express" to assign it to our free management service for single-site hotspots. See our online documentation for more information.

    For more information about the Sputnik Agent refer to our online documentation.
  • How do I know if the Sputnik Agent is running? < back
    Associate with the Sputnik-powered device (wired or wirelessly).

    Browse to http://192.168.180.1 (or appropriate IP for your model of router) and enter your username password.

    The main DD-WRT control panel page shows whether the Sputnik Agent is enabled or not.

    For more details, click on "Status", then "Sputnik Agent".

    "Managed by" should show youraccount@sccXX.wifi.sputnik.com, where youraccount is the name of your SputnikNet account and XX is the number of the server.

    "State" should show "Running normally - Managed". If it does, you're up and running.

    For more information about the Sputnik Agent refer to our online documentation.
  • How much bandwidth do Sputnik-powered devices use to communicate with SputnikNet? < back
    Not much. We estimate the following data usage for Sputnik Agent <-> SputnikNet communications.

    • ~ 500 bytes for every node on startup, settings changes or resynchronization
    • ~ 100 bytes per minute per node
    • ~ 50 additional bytes per session, per minute
    • ~ 50 bytes for each new captive portal request (above the content downloaded to display the captive portal page)
  • Using SputnikNet
  • How do I get started? < back
    You need three things: a SputnikNet account, Sputnik-powered devices, and subscriptions for those devices.

    • If you're a do-it-yourselfer, you can purchase Sputnik-compatible hardware (basically anything that runs DD-WRT firmware) and flash it with free Sputnik Agent firmware.
    • If you want a quick, easy way to get started, purchase a SputnikNet starter kit from our online store.

    You can find more information here.
  • What does SputnikNet cost? < back
    There is a one-time charge of $49.95 to set up a SputnikNet account, which you can purchase from our online store.

    There are three levels of device subscriptions: NMS (network management for range extenders), Standard (for Wi-Fi APs/routers), and Pro (for high-volume network gateways).

    • Sputnik Agent NMS subscriptions are free. That means you can centrally manage as many Sputnik-powered range extender APs as you want at no cost.
    • Standard access point subscriptions, devices that can authenticate 20-30 simultaneous Wi-Fi end users, are $19.95 per AP per month, or $199.50 per year. Subscription prices decline in volume.
    • Pro gateway subscriptions, devices which can authenticate 100 or more simultaneous Wi-Fi users, are $49.95 per month, or $499.50 per year. Subscription prices decline when purchased in volume.

    There are no per-user or transaction fees-- just subscription fees based upon the number of Sputnik-powered devices managed by your SputnikNet account.
  • I want to give SputnikNet a try. Is there a free, trial version? < back
    Yes. Learn more about our test drive SputnikNet account here.
  • How do I add or remove AP subscriptions? < back
    Increase or decrease SputnikNet subscriptions from your SputnikNet Account.

    • Log into SputnikNet
    • Select "Control Center"
    • Enter the number of free NMS, Standard, and Pro subscriptions you want

    change-subscriptions

    Once you make a subscription change...

    • You'll receive an email confirmation from Sputnik
    • If you're on monthly billing, billing changes will take place in the next period
    • If you're on annual billing, your subscription will start with payment
    • As your network grows, volume discounts kick in
  • How do I subscribe a Sputnik-powered AP to my SputnikNet account? < back
    Make sure the Sputnik Agent is enabled on your Sputnik-powered device.

    Connect to your Sputnik-powered device and attempt to browse to any page (other than the administrative control panel).

    You will be redirected to Sputnik Instant Setup (SIS).

    Carefully enter your Sputnik Account ID into the account field.

  • I swapped APs and now I'm getting out-of-license errors. What should I do? < back
    Sometimes SputnikNet caches information about access points after they are later decommissioned. As a result, you can get an out-of-license error when you bring a replacement device online.

    If this happens, open a support case. Provide the MAC address of the old device you no longer want to use with SputnikNet. We will remove its association with your SputnikNet account in our database.

    You should also disable the Sputnik Agent on that device so that it no longer attempts to connect to SputnikNet.
  • I lost my login or password. How do I retrieve them? < back
    Open a support case requesting a new password. We'll email it to the address associated with your SputnikNet account.
  • Billing and Returns
  • When am I billed? < back
    If your SputnikNet account is month-to-month, your billing cycle is either from the first to the end of the month, or from the 15th to the 14th of the following month, depending upon when you started. These dates are indicated on all billing statements.

    If your account is annual, your billing cycle starts when you add the subscription. It renews on the same date in the following year. If you have multiple annual subscriptions, each can have a different renewal date.

  • My account is past due. How do I pay? < back
    Log into your Sputnik online store account.

    Select "Payment Information" under "Customer Profile".

    Enter the appropriate credit card information. Click "Continue".

    IMPORTANT: make sure "Save My Credit Card Information" is checked so that we can process future subscription payments. This is also useful for expediting future purchases with Sputnik, for refunds, etc.
  • Can I put my account on hold? < back
    Sure. Open a support case requesting an account hold. We retain SputnikNet account data for at least six months.

    Beyond six months we may require the purchase of a SputnikNet account setup ($49.95) when reactivating.
  • If I cancel my SputnikNet subscription, can I still use my Wi-Fi hardware? < back
    Absolutely. Your hardware can be used as standalone device-- just deactivate the Sputnik Agent so that the device doesn't attempt to connect to SputnikNet.
  • How do I cancel my SputnikNet account? < back
    Either open a support case requesting cancellation, or decrease your subscription count to 0 from within SputnikNet.
  • How do I return (RMA) defective hardware? < back
    Open a support case requesting a return. To expedite the process, please provide all of the following information:

    1. Model number and quantity of item(s) being returned
    2. Date of purchase
    3. Sales order number
    4. Reason for return
    5. If return reason is defective hardware, brief description of the problem with each unit - repeatable performance errors
    6. Whether the return is for refund or repair
    7. If for repair, the address to which we should ship the repaired unit(s)
    8. MAC address(es) of the unit(s) being returned