Calling All Wi-Fi Hotspot Operators

Posted on February 18, 2009

With a lot of (much appreciated) help from our enthusiastic user base, Devicescape’s network list is growing every day. New networks from around the world are being added all the time; everything from campus networks to small coffee shops; independent hotspot network operators to aggregators.

Most of the time we can get these networks added and working quickly once the required information is sent to us, but every once in a while we come across a network that is either harder to get working, or very rarely impossible. When we contact the operators of a network like that for help we get mixed responses. Some are incredibly receptive and get it straight away, others less so, sometimes with good reasons (which we’ll get into later). So, I wanted to write up something that explains the value of Devicescape to a smaller network operator, and also lets you know how you can get your network added to our list and working easily.

If you’re a network operator, whether you understand the advantage of Devicescape or not, this post is especially for you!

Why Be Part Of Devicescape’s Network?

Increasingly, people are getting online with devices other than their laptops. When they’re picking up coffee in the morning, or hanging out in a bar or restaurant after work they may not want to get their laptop out, assuming they even have it with them (who takes a laptop to a bar?). Their smart phone or iPod touch is right there in their pocket or bag, but getting it connected to the internet is another matter.

The web portal is OK on a laptop, but try it on a handset and it is much more frustrating. Enter Easy Wi-Fi – a one tap solution to getting connected for networks we know about. Your customers can get online and enjoy the Wi-Fi service your providing painlessly, and that means they’ll come back again (especially those iPod touch users who need Wi-Fi to get online).

What About My Venue Information Page?

We hear you, and we’re working on something that we think will resolve this. If you’re a network operator (free or otherwise) who has concerns about smart clients bypassing their information landing page, please get in touch so we can discuss your requirements in this area.

How Much Does It Cost?

Nothing. Nada. Nil. Being added to Devicescape’s network list is free. All it takes is a little time to send us the information we need, and to test it once we’ve set you up.

How Can You Get Your Network Added?

Submitting the information about your network through our web form (account needed) is one way. But if you have a lot of locations, or support inbound and/or outbound roaming, get in touch directly.

The basic information we need is the SSID (or SSIDs if you have more than one), a list of locations and how to log in on your network. The how to log in can be one of two things:

  1. If your network supports the WISPr protocol, then all we need to know is the suffix and/or prefix information for each of the credential types your network accepts;
  2. If your network uses only web form log in pages, then send us the HTML from each of the pages that the user sees, and tell us the path they follow through them (i.e. what links or buttons they need to click on).

It’s that simple.

Oh, if your credentials roam onto other networks too, then let us know that list and we make sure we add those as well so your users can get online anywhere their account lets them.

What Should I Avoid When Setting Up a Network?
We can handle most things these days, but there are a few things that will make it impossible for Devicescape to support your new network:

  • Having more than a user name and password to be entered;
  • Having a captcha string that needs to be entered when the user logs in (and, yes, we have seen a network do this – as if getting connected wasn’t hard enough already);
  • Using JavaScript in the pages to either add elements to the form, or to modify the user’s input somehow;

In general, if you can support WISPr (and most of the commonly used hotspot access points and controllers out there can do this), then do so. It makes it much faster to add support, much faster for your users to log in and also makes it easier to join an aggregator network, like Boingo or iPass, in the future if you want to.

Can I Get A Custom Client?

Sure, if you’re interested in getting a custom branded client, or clients, for your network contact us through