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Captive Portal

A Captive Portal is a system used for authenticating users who want to access the Internet through your network. With a captive portal you can limit and monitor their access thanks to a centralized system. With a single Captive Portal you can create your Guest network and separate your Guest users' Internet traffic from that of your business network.

SecPoint is working in partnership with WifiGem to offer the WifiGem Captive Portal as an add-on to the SecPoint Protector. With WifiGem you can easily create your own Guest Network using one of the available network schemes, and use the Protector to filter and prioritize Internet traffic from devices connected to the WifiGem Captive Portal.

If you are planning to offer your Guest users an Internet access through the Protector, WifiGem Captive Portal is the natural solution: users will login through the captive portal and the SecPoint Protector Web Filter will block access to specific internet categories, such as sites containing adult material, sites with hacking/cracking information, phishing sites, sites containing violence, nudity, pirated software, viruses, etc.

 

  • Full Control. It's you to decide who can login to your Guest network and what they can do. You can decide access time, duration, frequency, amount of downloaded data and much more. You can decide the login method (local accounts or Social Media login) and customize the login page.
  • Network Security. Security is important, yours and that of those who use your network. With WifiGem, the Guest network is separate from your private network. There is no risk of an unwanted access to your personal data. You are not exposed to attacks on your Access Points, since the user access is managed by the server.
  • Social Login. WifiGem is integrated with Social Media for user login. You can decide whether or not to enable this feature and view the social profile of users who connect. With our Power Share program you will receive information even when your customers connect to another WifiGem network.
  • Real-time Monitor. Keep full control over the usage of your network, view the situation in real time, create statistics. All through a powerful dashboard.
  • Powerful Dashboard. You can access at any time to your personal Dashboard, a powerful control panel to monitor connections in real-time, manage users, display their social profile, create statistics.
  • Flexible network architecture. The Captive Portal can be deployed on any existing network thanks to its flexibility. In the Standard Mode you are free to place the WifiGem custom Access Points anywhere on the LAN. In the Bridge Mode, the Captive Portal can isolate a whole subnet and can be used with your existing Access Points and network Switches. Wired computers and portable devices can be connected.
  • Hack-free Access Points. No passwords are stored on the Access Points and the WiFi network is open. It's the Captive Portal to take care of asking user credentials, and for this reason the Access points cannot be hacked. The login system is located on the WifiGem server.
  • Multiple product solutions. You can choose between the Hardware Appliance and the Virtual Edition running on VMware. Both versions are able to run in Standard and Bridge Mode and can use the Social Media login.

 

 

 

Definition of Captive Portal

A webpage which is permitted to be viewed and accessed by a public-network user before the authenticated access is granted will be called a captive portal. These are generally utilized by business centers or entities where frequent and massive public interference is a regular norm such as airports, cafes, and hotel lobbies, etc. Wherever Wi-Fi hotspots are available for internet users, captive portals are activated. 

Understanding a Wi-Fi Hotspot

Any area where wireless internet access is available will be termed as a Wi-Fi hotspot. The term Hotspot is interchangeably used for the place where the wi-fi signals are available and the device that broadcast the signals. This device can be a Wi-Fi router or a Wi-Fi access point (WAP).  Similarly, Wi-Fi Router and WAP/Wireless Access Point are two terms that are interchangeably used.  

Captive Portals and Hotspots

Almost all the commercially activated Hotspots are actually Captive Portals. The hotspots appear as areas offering unencrypted or open Wi-Fi signal and once users have logged on, these redirect the traffic to a particular web page. This web page is known as the “Splash Page” and usually it asks users about login information or informs them about the fees of internet access. The beneficial aspect is that a majority of the laptops get automatically connected to the Open wi-fi signal. As soon as the client runs Internet Explorer or any other browser, they are instantly directed to the Splash page regardless of the website they are trying to access. 

What are DIY Captive Portals?

If a user doesn’t want to utilize a hosted Hotspot the other option available is the DIY Captive Portal. DIY Captive Portals are those commercial software packages that act as actual captive portals and usually run on Linux or Windows OS. The requirement is that a DIY portal has to be activated on a PC 24 hours a day. 
Another way of creating a DIY Captive Portal is by running the Hotspot software on the actual Wi-Fi router. This involves replacing of the stock firmware with any Linux-based operating system such as DD-WRT. The real challenge is that the software will have to be adjusted in to the minimal amount of memory available on the domestic router. 

How Captive Portals Function?

Once a user firstly logs on to a network where captive portal is enabled, the user will encounter a web page that asks him/her to perform certain actions before allowing full fledge internet access. These actions may include going through an Acceptable Use Policy or AUP and clicking on the button for accepting the terms and conditions. Some captive portals can ask the user for a pre-assigned ID and password while some just display sponsored advertisement which the user must close in order to access the internet. 
 

Benefits of Captive Portals

Captive portals are mainly used for authenticating the users and limiting their access. The use of captive portals is beneficial because the authentication process not just discourages but minimizes the use of hotspots as platforms for carrying out illegal activities.  Usually, all the servers where captive portals have been enabled comprise of anti-virus and firewall programs, which also offer comprehensive security to users and their data. 
Another beneficial aspect is that captive portals minimize bandwidth hogging through a technique called bandwidth shaping or bandwidth throttling. This can be performed by conducting additional programming in the settings of captive portal. Bandwidth shaping can limit the speed at which users download large files as well as the size of files that are allowed to be downloaded. The controlling program limits the number of files a user can download in a single session and can also restrict access of such sites where large files are usually available for downloading such as torrents. 
 

 

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