From IT-tool to Business tool
In 2001 when we founded Aptilo, the captive portal and Wi-Fi service management were tools for the IT department. Our captive portals blocked Internet access so that customers could be charged before getting online.
All that has changed; Sure, the login page is still there. But, now, it is primarily a business tool. It’s all about getting insights about your guests and better engaging with them online. Over time Wi-Fi monetization has gone from being direct to indirect.
Captive portal use cases
A captive portal is a web page that users must view and interact with before accessing the Internet. What triggers a redirect to the captive portal from the access gateway can vary:
- The user is unknown and needs to sign-up and pay for the service.
- Users have depleted their prepaid quota and need to make a top-up.
- Aptilo SMP has automatically authenticated the user through, e.g., SIM authentication, but the user still needs to approve a daily charge for the Wi-Fi service.
- For Wi-Fi marketing purposes, a user needs to see an advert or sponsored message before getting access.
- Users need to give consent for the use of their personal data.
- Need to onboard certificates/profiles for secure EAP-TLS authentication (for 802.1x networks).
- A user wants to change the service, e.g., to increase the bandwidth for video-on-demand.
The captive portal template framework
We use the latest web technology and flexible REST-based APIs towards the Aptilo Service Management Platform™ (SMP) core functions. This ensures a future-proof solution. Our Wi-Fi captive portal framework supports the complex user journey flows required for a first-class Wi-Fi service.
The captive portal in Aptilo SMP works hand-in-hand with our portal management tool. We have moved the complexity and web development code into captive portal templates. Only the objects and texts defined as editable are available in the admin interface. This allows anyone, even someone with no web development skills, to administrate the captive portal.
Learn more in the portal management section of this page.
Support for the IETF captive portal API
The Captive Portal API will not only improve the user experience in connection with traditional Captive Portal implementations. We believe that the Captive Portal API – in combination with Passpoint R1 – has the potential to deliver much of the user experience that Passpoint R2 and R3 were designed to accomplish.
The adoption of Captive Portal API among handset manufacturers has also been fast. Google was first to support the Captive Portal API for Android 11, and Apple soon followed with support in iOS14 and macOS Big Sur. With a critical mass of supporting devices, adoption across all the major operating systems appears imminent.
The Captive Portal API gives service management platforms, such as the Enea Aptilo Service Management Platform™ (SMP), greater control of the Captive Portal flows for traditional hotspots. As a result, users will experience a more reliable service than ever before.
The overall user experience will also benefit hugely from the Captive Portal API. We have traditionally designed Access Gateways to intercept the user web request and redirect it to a Captive Portal.
With the Captive Portal API, the gateway does not need to intercept such requests. Instead, when users join the Wi-Fi network and receive an IP address via DHCP (or Router Advertisement in IPv6), the DHCP server also provides the URL to the Captive Portal API. This will trigger the device to query the API to determine whether it is in captive mode.
If the API states the device is in captive mode, the device will open the Captive Network Assistant (CNA) browser to log in. And, if the API states the device is not in captive mode, the device will proceed directly to the Internet.
Supports all authentication and payment options
An essential part of the end-user experience is the login process. Enea Aptilo SMP provides access to the Wi-Fi service both seamlessly and through captive portals. We doubt there is a single login method or business model we haven’t already delivered in our 100+ carrier Wi-Fi deployments.
Authentication and payment methods in Enea Aptilo SMP include:
Service Provider Wi-Fi Insights
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