HOTSPLOTS installation

Welcome to the HOTSPLOTS FAQ. Here you can find interesting and helpful information about the installation of your Wi-Fi hotspot.

FAQ hotspot installation

  1. How do I register a new hotspot?

    If you don't have a HOTSPLOTS account yet, you'll have to register with us first. Under "My hotspots" in the registered users section you will find the following form which lets you register a new hotspot under your account:

    Here's an explanation of the different fields:

    1. Name of the Hotspot: The name identifies the hotspot in our database and should be as clear as possible. This name must not contain special characters or spaces.
    2. Passphrase: It identifies your hotspot for our billing system. The key that you enter here also has to be left at the hotspot's firmware. Try choosing a random sequence of characters.
      This key is a password that you can choose yourself.
    3. Public name: This name will be seen on the registration page by everybody who accesses the internet via your hotspot. On our map this name is also used (except for hotspots with rate "V.I.P. / Nur Tickets").
    4. Rate: Here you choose the (online) rate for your hotspot. This defines the conditions for users who registered online at the HOTSPLOTS website. This is completely independent of the optional offering of location tickets and an also optional FreeRate contract.
      The choice of "Direct login" or "Biz kostenlos" implies the conclusion of a HOTSPLOTS FreeRate contract. If you choose"Biz kostenlos" or "Direct login" for the first time, you are directed to the online forms to close the FreeRate contract. It starts immediately. Since you can change the online tariff any time we suggest to leave the standard rate at first and close the FreeRate contract after the installation of the hotspot router.
      "V.I.P. / nur Tickets" means, that the hotspot usage is prohibited for all registered users except of the hotspot owner and the Free users (see point B below).
    5. FlexiFlat-Option: If the "FlexiFlat-Option" is selected, the given amount is the maximum a user will pay per month for the use of all hotspots that have activated this option. If "Fun 1,50Cent/MB" was chosen, the FlexiFlat is automatically set active.
    6. LocationFlat:The LocationFlat ist an alternative to the FlexiFlat. In contrast to the FlexiFlat the hotspot operator can choose the amount for the LocationFlat limit but users do not benefit from a roaming feature as it is provided by sites with FlexiFlat.
    7. Default language: Select your default language. At the moment (July 2010) you have the choice between German, English, French, Polish, Dutch and Greek. This setting is used as default for the login page of this hotspot.
    8. Address, ZIP and City: Put in your hotspot's location here. The default setting will be the address you registered with. This information helps other users to find your Wi-Fi hotspot in our database. The area code will be used in a first step to geographically locate your hotspot and show it on our map. You can correctly adjust the location on the map afterwards.
    9. Publish: We can automatically enter your hotspot into other Wi-Fi hotspot directories. If you select this option we will publish your WLAN hotspot in all major hotspot directories on the internet. That way it can be more easily located by users.
    10. Description: Here you can enter a description of your hotspot that users will see in our database.
    11. Website: For each of your hotspots you can enter a URL that's displayed on our map. This way you can publish your hotel's homepage, for example.
    12. Publish E-Mail: If you publish your email address, it will be shown as contact information for your hotspot. This can be helpful if surfers have questions about your offer. That happens for example if regular users suddenly miss the Wi-Fi signal because you turn the antenna or unplugged the router accidentally.

    Then click on the green button to register new hotspot. You can delete or change its details at any time by clicking on its name in your hotspot list:

     

    1. In addition to the fields explained above you can register "free users" for your hotspot. For you the hotspot is free, of course. In the example above, the HOTSPLOTS users "JohnDoe", "linus" and "maxi" can use your hotspot for free. Naturally you don't earn any money off these users.
    2. As Admin contact several email address can be entered, seperated by spaces. To those addresses our monitoring system sends notification emails, e.g. if the hotspot is offline and Downtime notification is acivated.
    3. You can also adjust the login page of your hotspot, for example to show a picture of your hotel or a personalised welcome message.

     

     

  2. What do I need to run a hotspot?

    To run a hotspot, you need two things:

    Preferably a DSL connection:

    A DSL connection with a flat rate provides a fast connection to the internet. Depending on the location, alternatives to DSL can also be used to connect to the internet.

    A WiFi router:

    Users can use it to connect to the wireless network. At the same time, it monitors who is using the internet. Only those who can authenticate themselves via HOTSPLOTS are forwarded to the internet. And you as the operator will regularly receive your share of the revenue.

  3. Is the wireless network encrypted securely?

    Hotspots should be accessible to the public or external users. The wireless network is therefore initially operated without encryption so that clients can log on to the network. This does not mean that the network is completely open. A client must first authenticate with us before it is released to the internet.
    As an alternative to WiFi encryption via WPA2 we offer end user HOTSPLOTS VPN. With the corresponding OpenVPN software, which you can download from us, WiFi clients can encrypt the wireless connection. You can find more on our help pages.

    Important security aspects when setting up WiFi hotspots are the protection of the locally available (office) computers against access from the hotspot network and the protection of hotspot users against access by other hotspot users, i.e. network-wide client isolation:

    By default, the firewall on the hotspot routers prevents clients from the wireless network from unintentionally entering the local network at the hotspot router's WAN port. This means that even if you share an internet connection, your office computers are safe from access from the Hotspot network! If you wish, you can also make your LAN or parts of it accessible. You can make these settings on the admin interface of our firmware. Depending on the hardware used, you will find explanations in the Firmware 2.0 (PDF) or Firmware 3.0 (PDF) manual.

    Since firmware 2.0-032, client isolation applies not only to clients connected to the same transmitter, but to all clients at a hotspot. The hotspot can consist of a hotspot router and any number of access points and repeaters as long as they are operated with the HOTSPLOTS firmware. If terminals, LAN sockets for end users or WiFi access points with third-party firmware are integrated, they should be connected via VLAN-enabled switches and mutual access should be blocked. Please do not hesitate to contact our technical support for any questions.

  4. Which WiFi routers are suitable for HOTSPLOTS?

    We recommend the routers from our webshop as hotspot routers. For outdoor WiFi installations we recommend the devices from Ubiquiti.

    All hotspot routers can also be used as access points or repeaters. All devices with the same firmware generation can be connected to each other as repeaters. Repeaters with firmware 2.0 can work but cannot be connected to newer access points or routers via radio – but the other way around.

    Our firmware offers the following advantages, among others:

    • The hotspot can be managed easily with a web browser
    • VPN routing as protection for hotspot operators
    • Monitoring system: If the hotspot router is no longer online, the HOTSPLOTS server automatically sends a failure message by e-mail as well as a message when the malfunction is resolved.
    • Automatic firmware updates can be carried out with just a mouse click
    • The operator can release his own web addresses (e.g. for the website of his hotel, cafe, club, etc.).
    • A so-called "traffic shaping" ensures that uploads do not "clog up" the DSL
  5. Can I continue using my DSL connection properly?

    Yes, nothing changes for the hotspot operator. The DSL connection remains unchanged and can be used as usual.

    The hotspot has a firewall running on it that can prevent hotspot users from accessing your private network. In addition, VPN routing can be activated, which tunnels the data from the hotspot router through your private network to a VPN server of HOTSPLOTS.

    If you want a separate DSL connection for the hotspot, you can also get one from us. Please contact our sales department.

  6. Features of the hotspot router firmware

    1. Gateway with captive portal. On LAN ports the captive portal is optional.
    2. Three options for WAN connection: pppoe, static, dynamic/DHCP
    3. Configuration as hotspot router or repeater
    4. Packet secure port forwarding (PSPF). I.e. the WLAN clients do not see each other. (This security feature can be deactivated if unwanted.)
    5. Configuration of transmitter power
    6. Walled garden: List of domains that can be accessed without authentication and whose traffic is not charged.
    7. Wireless encryption with openVPN.
    8. Traffic shaping
    9. Comfortable graphical user interface.
      • Configuration of all network settings
      • Input and test of HOTSPLOTS operator data
      • Download OpenVPN certificate from the HOTSPLOTS server with just a mouse click
      • Download and installation of new firmware versions by mouse click
      • Activation/deactivation of SSH as an alternative administration tool
      • Activation/deactivation of administration by WLAN, LAN and WAN ports
      • Change passwords
  7. Which ports must be allowed at a firewall to the internet?

    All connections are initiated by the hotspot router. For stateful firewall it is therefore not necessary to open or forward any ports.
    For manually configured firewalls it might be necessary to allow certain ports. The following ports are relevant for hotspot-routers:

    • DNS: UDP port 53
    • Web: TCP ports 80, 443
    • NTP: UDP port 123
    • VPN-Routing: UDP ports 1193, 1194, 1195
    • Radius: UDP ports 1812, 1813
    • Load-Balancing: TCP ports 5001-5008 (for appliance only)
  8. Can I inhibit filesharing?

    At the moment there is no method known to inhibit filesharing effectively. The often

    mentioned blocking of certain ports that are often used by filesharing clients can easily be eluded by using ports that are supposed to be use by other programs. E. g. common ports are the ports for normal surfing, 80 and 443.

    Who uses filesharing intensively will probably get his own DSL connection. Until then: Enjoy the turnover.

    Nevertheless you can use the traffic shaping of our firmware. The traffic is classified into three groups:

    1. High priority (DNS, SSH, VoIP)
    2. normal (telnet, Web and email)
    3. bilk traffic (edonkey, bittorent, etc.)

    The traffic shaping can be acitvated in the admin interface. Additionally the bandwidth of the own internet connection has to be set. If for example it is set to only half of the real bandwidth, the clients behind the HOTSPLOT can use only that half. In that case a congestion of the own traffic is prevented.

  9. With which internet connections does Hotsplots work?

    The provider or respectively the medium hardly plays a role here as long as our systems get access to the internet. However, one must be aware that shared internet lines (shared medium) such as cable networks or LTE do not guarantee bandwidth and therefore offer lower throughput in core hours. You can usually find details on this in the general terms and conditions of the internet provider.