- pay per use wifi for guests with laptop
- pay per use internet access for guests without a laptop via desktop computers
- easy credit card, paypal and cash payments (vouchers)
- hosted operation as there were no staff to operate local servers for this
So we started to deploy these routers with dd-wrt and hotspotsystem.com .
We set up a local network to share the internet connection between the workers and guests. One WRT54GL provided the hotspot access to 4 desktop computers that the guests could use. This was defined Location #1 in the Control Center. We had to set it up as two locations however it was 1 location phisically. The reason was that we didn't want to allow guests who were using the public desktop computers to sit there for a long time so we offered only short term accesses there for purchase (30 mins and 1 hour). However for Wi-Fi users with laptop we offered multiple packages from 30 mins to 1 month. Therefore we defined this as location #2 and installed an other router with this setting for wifi users. We attached a powerful external omni antenna to this.
There were big demand to vouchers because many guests came to the office in beach shorts without having their credit card and had only cash. So there were a lot of cash sales, while most wifi users paid by their credit cards for accesses.
Then we installed WDS routers (WRT54GLs with directional external antennas) to cover more area.
The installation were done before the camp opened, in the spring. The coverage was very good. Then, around middle of July the WDS routers began to loose signals. We realized that the leaves in the trees are blocking the signal and we had to place those routers below the leaves instead of placing them in high position - what we usually do.
Today the same system is running in 6 campgrounds, we are now using Ubiquiti routers mainly because they are more stable, has built-in antennas and have more memory so they can control more simultaneous users. We are using the special AirOS firmware on them, because we found more stable than dd-wrt and there is no activation fee
We were very pleased with hotspotsystem. We always got our payments in time and responded to our problems quickly and they were very helpful. They are continually adding new features to the system, we are using the latest campground skin layout which is optimized for sunlight and they recently added full support for mobile phones which is very important as many visitors have a smartphone. When the splash page is viewed from a smartphone (iPhone or Android), buttons are big, layout is simple and even the credit card payment page is optimized that way.
We could also add our own design and instructions to our vouchers and printed them out to Avery business card so they look fantastic.
Another 'issue' was the roaming. Many guests went to another campsite after a week or so and the owners wanted a 'complete system' so it was a requirement that these guests could use the hotspot access in the other camp without having to buy a different access. So we needed roaming between the camps. However there were other networks which we installed for other customer of ours and these were totally independent. We wanted to avoid having multiple operator accounts and there was a solution called 'Roaming Groups'. We defined the camp chain as one roaming group so only those users were able to log in to these campground locations who bought the access in one of the camps. Others were not able to log in at all and had to buy an access. This solution was perfect for us and this feature cannot be found in any of the other solutions we tested.
When i was in other camps i could only smile when i saw a different hotspot installation with a different hotspot system and i was amazed what a big difference can it be when using a different hotspot software.
Here are some pictures:
Antennas are installed by happy staff:
This is hidden from guests
Omni antenna on the roof:
A LinkSys WRT54GL in a box outside:
Another outside box with a directional antenna above the entrance door:
Ceiling installation of routers
I will update this post next summer when the camp opens again with current photos.
If anybody have questions, just reply and i will try my best to answer
Edited by camping, 21 December 2011 - 07:11 PM.