March 28, 2019
In today’s connected world, access to Wi-Fi is a necessity. Players in the hospitality industry are expected to offer Wi-Fi access to their guests during their stay at their facilities for a connected experience. There are several technology companies across the globe that are enabling digital transformation in the travel and hospitality sector with numerous offerings that help design, develop and deploy an effective WiFi services management solution.
In addition, the first interaction with the Wi-Fi management solution is considerably simplified by the presence of a captive portal splash page. All smart phones have a built-in captive network detection mechanism. These phones try to reach specific “connectivity check” websites and expect to get a specific response. Depending on the response, the phone is redirected to a web portal and presented a captive portal splash page. The presented captive portal page then can be used to implement work-flows for facilitating login and plan purchase.
As with any private network, Wi-Fi service providers want the guests to be authenticated before accessing the Wi-Fi network. This allows the providers to identify the users in case of violation of the “usage terms and conditions”.
The guest is required to enter login credentials while accessing the Wi-Fi network. In this case, the login credentials are an easily memorized guest information such as the room number and an easy passcode. For instance, the date of birth provided at the time of reservation can potentially serve as a passcode for authentication. The existing Property Management System (PMS) is used for authenticating the guest’s input. The integration with PMS for authentication is easily done using RESTful APIs.
Users are provided with a variety of paid plans depending on their needs. The options include a per-day plan or entire-stay plan, one-device plan or multi-device plan etc. Both post-paid and pre-paid options are supported.
The guests with pre-paid plans are identified by the back-end system (PMS) during the login workflow. On determining that a guest is provisioned with a pre-paid plan, the Wi-Fi service management system asks the guest to redeem the plan without having to go through any payment authorization work-flow.
The back-end system i.e. the PMS maintains a folio for each guest. This is done to keep track of the services purchased by the guest. For the guests who want to be billed later, the Wi-Fi service management requests the back-end system to add a charge against the guest’s folio. The Wi-Fi service management system activates the plan on either verifying a presence of a card on file or on successful payment authorization of a card presented during the process.
The integration with the backend system (PMS) for the payment authorization is again done using RESTful APIs.
For any enterprise network, the enforcement of appropriate access control is important. Multiple levels of network access controls are supported in the system.
The access control can be enforced on a per-user basis. The access control policy is employed by enforcing control over the existing networking equipment. Integration with network equipment is done using RESTful APIs. Some network equipment have an upper limit on the rate of API calls in the management plane. The solution was designed to do a bulk policy assignment so as not to breach this limit potentially causing problems in service.
Monitoring of network usage is useful for multiple reasons:
The current Wifi Service Management systems implement monitoring based on the Netflow data exported by networking equipment.
The above cites some of the use cases that can be implemented with WiFi Service Management systems developed by HSC. HSC has a rich experience in BSS & OSS technologies which helps us understand an operator’s business requirements and provide them customized solutions.
Reach out to us to understand how we helped set up an end-to-end WiFi Service Management system for a leading hospitality business.