New routers supported

We now support Ralink rt288x and rt305x chipset based routers that are supported by OpenWrt. We have added a few examples to our download pages already, namely D-Link models like various D-Link DI615 versions. We have also put a firmware version for the Fonera 2.0 N router online. You can find a list of Ralink based routers supported by OpenWrt (on which our ChilliWrt firmware is based) HERE. If there is a particular router you would like to receive a firmware image for, let us know and we will add the router to our support pages.

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Your own Hotspot Look and Feel: Create a Custom Splash Page

We have recently received a lot of interest in how to link your own custom splash page. Note: The splash page is the page a user who is not logged in to the hotspot gets redirected to. In particular those hotspots owners and particular partners who want to link through to their own advertising servers or advertising pages who have to display a distinct corporate look and feel are interested in this solution, for which we have now created an installation guide and white label sample files, which get you started. You can find them HERE
Please direct any further questions – as always – through our support portal.

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Chillifire supports Open-Mesh/CloudTrax

We have now established integration between Chillifire and the Open-Mesh/CloudTrax mesh network service. We can support open-mesh’s own firmware firmware-ng, and robin-mesh firmware. W ehave tested several devices, including OM2P running firmware-ng and Picostation 2 running robin-mesh. While network configuration is done primarily through Open-Mesh’s own control panel, we have developed a script that will publish heartbeats to Chillifire’s control panel. Prices, branding, subscriptions for free-access and all other parameters defining the hotspot as such continue to be configured through our Control panel. Please find a description of the configuration process involved HERE

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Every router a repeater

We have done away with the old hassle of repeater firmware, as it created all kinds of challenges. The most dreaded drawback was the inability to remotely access the repeaters and to receive performance graphs for it. And of course these routers, perfectly good devices with often considerable processing power, where not doing much as there was not hotspot processing on the device itself.

We have now put online a configuration guide that allows you to configure nay router running our firmware on version 12.x or later to be configured as ‘repeater’ to a main router. Please find the configuration guide HERE

The main difference is that the repeater establishes a backhaul wireless encrypted internet connection from the ‘repeater’ to the main router. In other words the repeater does not repeat the main routers hotspot single but the main router’s encrypted and secured LAN signal, which is then used to feed the hotspot running on the repeater. This makes full use of the repeater’s processing power and distributes the processing load.

Should you wish to run the access points as repeaters only, say in scenario using a Mikrotik RB450G main router with, say Ubiquiti access points (e.g. Picos or Nanostations) we recommend you use native firmware on the repeater, like AirOS on Ubiquiti devices. While this keeps configuration of these devices simple it also allows you to take advantage of all native firmware capability of the AP devices. Please contact us, if you are unsure of the AirOs configuration required for such a scenario.

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Chillifire supports Mikrotik RouterOS

Chillifire now offers native support of RouterOS, both v5 and v6. You can now configure your Mikrotik devices or any other device running RouterOS to connect to the Chillifire service and take advantage of our superior hotspot configuration engine. All functions supported under our own ChilliWRT firmware are also supported under RouterOS. Please find the configuration guide HERE

You will have noticed that we have therefore withdrawn support for the OpenWrt firmware for Mikrotik devices as they are better supported by their native operating system. This good news for the devices without serial interface support like the 750 and the 950 serious, which were notoriously hard to flash with OpenWrt and ChilliWRT, and impossible to revert back to RouterOS. If you need our OpenWrt based firmware for the RB450 or RB450G for some reason, please get in touch with us.

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PayFast Integration for ZAR (South African Rand) payment gateway processing

We have integrated a new payment service provider into our offering, PayFast ( This specialised provider currently supports ZAR currency only, but allows merchants to be located and operate all over southern Africa. Just like with PayPal, Skrill, and 2Checkout we support you using your own PayFast account. Linking your own PayFast account is a premium service requires a 20USD onetime payment for the Premium Features within the Chillifire Control panel. Please contact us for more information.

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New Chillifire firmware version, AirOS based hotspot firmware, and new invoicing functions

Here is a long overdue update from our side; please accept our apologies for our long blogging silence.

New since our last update is a new version for our firmware, 12.07-14 for newer devices based on Atheros, Ramips, and x86 chipsets and 10.03.1-14 for older Broadcom based devices. The 10.03.1-14 version is OpenWrt ‘Backfire 10.03.1’ based, while 12.07 is based on a snapshot of OpenWrt ‘Attitude Adjustment’. For older Broadcom devices and Atheros AR231x and 25xx based chipsets this is the final release (unless patches are required). Newer Atheros AR71xx and AR91xx, Ramips, x86, and in future Lantiq based devices will continue to be developed based on the final release of OpenWrt ‘Attitude Adjustment’ later this year.

So what does this all mean? Well, a lot more supported devices for you in particular from TP-Link, Buffalo, Netgear, Mikrotik and Alix. Go have a look at our ever growing list of supported models in our support site.

On the control panel we have now rejuvenated our invoice production process. You now receive invoices and credit notes as PDF documents and our system sends invoices or payments automatically via PayPal for your convenience.

The code we wrote in the context to create and send our own invoices will be made available as partner feature for Chillifire partners. This will enable Chillifire partners to create automatically on month-end the invoices or credit notes for the revenue share they have agreed with their own customers and hotspot location owners.

In addition we will leverage this functionality to enrich our manual user creation process. Creation of manual users is a transaction available to all accounts, not just partners. However, partners will be able to link to this the creation of a PayPal invoice, which can be paid by the end-customers using a PayPal account or credit card. On payment of the invoice the user is unblocked and ready for use.

This extended manual user creation is the first step to update our new offering, the WISP (Wireless Internet Service provider) software service based in feedback we received. We will develop this WISP service as a full alternative to our Hotspot management service. Goal is the automatic provision of PPPoE based Internet access to remote customers, implementing speed, and data limitations as you see fit, including monthly invoicing, automatic invoicing of additional data consumed beyond the user’s plan etc. We will base this functionality initially on a hardware environment using Mikrotik RouterOS based PPPoE servers but will extend it as required.

We have released a Chillifire version of AirOs, Ubiquiti’s router firmware. Our AirOs version (based on AirOs 5.5) has a hotspot daemon built in, so you can run a Chillifire hotspot using native AirOs firmware including the very good wireless drivers and antenna management of Ubiquiti. The firmware is for the new Ubiquiti M series and has been tested with Picostation M, Nanostation M, Bullet M, Rocket M and AirRouter. You can download the firmware from our support pages.

And yes, now that our new Openwrt firmware’s interface has been stabilised, we have also started updating our installation guides – something that was long overdue. We have added to the Knowledge section of our support pages a detailed article how to implement a WDS repeater to extend the hotspot’s signal. We have also updated the PayPal account maintenance guide. Others will follow.

I hope this gives you some insight into what we are doing at present and as always, look forward to feedback and questions.

The Chillifire Team

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Happy New Year! and new WISP Functions

Happy 2012 to Everyone! Thank you for your ongoing support, feedback and interest in our service in 2011. We look forward to work with you in 2012 and beyond.

Today we are releasing an exciting new development, which brings our hotspot management again one step closer to a fully fledged Wireless Internet Service Provider (WISP) management system. We have released two new access plan types as they are typical in a WISP scenario:

  1. Payment on invoice
    In this scenario the customer receives a certain data allowance per month, and is charged top-up fees, when access amounts of data are consumed. The system records the amount of data consumed within a certain month and calculates any overage and the resulting extra fees. Fees are invoiced after month end, taking into account any discounts granted and any unpaid amounts carried over from the previous month.
  2. Prepaid billing of fixed amount with fixed data cap
    In this scenario the user creates a subscription online through our normal login screen; the subscription is for a certain amount and grants a defined of data the customer is allowed to consume per month. Once the data is consumed, the system will throttle the user to a lower download and upload speed. Both the original speed and the throttled speed can be defined by the hotspot owner. This usage scenario is popular in severely bandwidth constraint scenarios, which requires the enforcement of fair use policies.

To activate the WISP type pay acces and functions you need to go into the control panel under Configuration->Main Hotspot Options and activate the WISP functions specifically. That will enable you to create Paid Access controls called ‘Monthly repetitive plan, payment on invoice’ for scenario 1 and called ‘Monthly repetitive plan, pre-pay fixed amount’ for scenario 2. There is also a new ‘Activity’ menu item called ‘On Invoice Users’, where you can see their monthly usage, how much they owe per month including additional usage, record and see payments made by the customer and record discounts you may grant.
Note that particularly the ‘Billing on invoice’ is not a scenario where users are created online by the users themselves. They are typically created by the WISP provider on request as part of a back office function. We have therefore integrated a manual user creation web page into our control panel now as well. The manual user creation transaction can be used for all access plan types, not just the two new ones described above. This new manual user web page in the control panel addresses a login standing functionality request that was outstanding.

The WISP functions are currently accessible to all Chillifire account holders. We are seeking feedback and function requests, so we can make sure we develop according to your needs as opposed to our perception. The feature is targeted to become an exclusive partner feature at a later date, but we will leverage partner fees to such Chillifire account holders later, who start using the new feature today. In essence we want to reward early adopters and their feedback .

Stay tuned, there are a lot more functions to follow in the next few months, as we extend the capability of our system even further

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Extending Chillifire Free Community Service

We are responding to a common request we receive often to remove the current limitation of our free community service, which does not allow more than 10 users per month. As of midnight 20 September this limitation will be lifted.

The new free community service called Free-Access Splash will allow for an unlimited number of users and provide for an easy to use and simple to set up splash screen control with which you can share your broadband connection with your clients, friends or neighbours.

Free-Access Splash will allow you to:

-       choose your own colour scheme,

-       add your own logo and other content of your choice like images or text,

-       limit the speed of the connection to prevent abuse,

-       enforce the acceptance of your acceptable use policy and/or terms and conditions, and

-       redirect users to a website of your choice after logging, like your main business website or any other website of your choice marketing your products and services.

The user can register to use a Free-Access Splash hotspot online, not requiring manual intervention by you or your staff to hand out vouchers or access codes. The access is valid for 24 hours after registration; after 24 hours the user has to register for access again and again confirm your terms and conditions.

Premium features such as limitation of time spent online or data up and download restrictions, access control via vouchers or text messages are not available with Free-Access Splash and require a current subscription for this service.

Important: Those of you who enjoyed our Free Community Service previously, and who wish to retain functions like data volume or online time control, should use the next few days to establish a Chillifire subscription for their account. Thos who are happy to use the free service as it is will enjoy the fact that now the number of users per month are unlimited.

Subscription based Free-Access Hotspots will have an easier mechanism within the control panel’s account configuration screens to actually establish a subscription for an account or sub-account. Many of you may have noticed the improvements in the control panel we have established over the last month; we continue to be dedicated to extend the functions offered in our control panel.

Revenue share based Pay-per-Use Hotspots will continue as they were, with the exception that linking your own PayPal account has become a premium service. This facility is now bundled into the simple re-branding option, available for USD20, which also allows you to replace our logo, hotspot name and favicon with your own. We have been forced to implement this step due to legal requirements; the simple and cheap purchase forces you to acknowledge and confirm our Terms and Conditions. Note: Existing accounts will not have to retrospectively purchase the premium option package, if they have no outstanding fees with us.

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New Firmware Version 11.08.9 published

As of today we have published a new firmware version 11.08.9. Our firmware continues to be based on OpenWrt, this time on the latest release 28185, which includes a lot of improvements on the wireless drivers, the firmware screens look and feel and cover a lot more modern routers.

So what is new?

-       New routers supported:
We added support for:

  • TP-Link WR740N v1 and v2,
  • TP-Link WR741ND v2,
  • TP-Link WR841N v7,
  • TP-Link WA901ND v2,
  • TP-Link MR 3220v1,
  • TP-Link MR 3420v1,
  • Buffalo WZR-HP-AG300H,
  • Buffalo WZR-HP-G300H,
  • Netgear WNDR3700 v1 and v2,
  • Ubiquti Nanostation M2
  • Ubiquti Nanostation Loco M2
  • Ubiquti Picostation M2
  • Ubiquti Bullet M2
  • Ubiquti RocketM2
  • as well as Mikrotik RB450G

-       Mobile 3G routers:

TP-Link MR 3220v1, TP-Link MR 3420v1 and TP-Link WR1043NDv1 have a USB port which allows the plugging in of 3g dongles. This makes these routers independent of a wired internet connection and gives them a range beyond the coverage of wifi networks. Now everywhere were 3g networks are available your hotspot can roam and supply service to your customers. If a mobile power supply can be ensured mobile hotspots such as on buses and ships can be set up with these models.

-       Improved wireless driver for Ubiquiti products (pre M Series), Fonera routers and Engenius routers:
The new wireless driver is the ath5k open source driver, which replaces the old madwifi  driver. It is not just better maintained but also allows a better management of the router’s power settings.

-       Improved support for Engenius routers:
The reboot issue that prevented a soft reboot of Engenius routers has finally been resolved. Engenius routers now have a daily auto-reboot enabled like any other router.

-       A new look and feel with many modern web 2.0 features enabled in the firmware

-       For Chillifire partners we can now also compile a custom branded firmware on request (if required by your business model and warranted by volume)

The new firmware has not bee published for the older Broadcom supported models such as the Linksys WRT54Gx series; their firmware remains unchanged for the moment. We will publish a new firmware for some of these models shortly but leave the old firmware as the default download option. We will do this because the new OpenWrt firmware versions make use of a new driver. This new driver makes WDS connections much easier than on the old models, but cannot support multiple SSIDs. This will be an interesting addition for those of you who connect routers via WDS on a regular basis, but have no use for the ‘Private_Network’ SSID on the standard Chillifire firmware.

We have also removed support from some older router models, for which we never had any real demand in terms of firmware, but which certainly take effort to maintain.

What’s next?

We are now working on a firmware version for the Ralink chipsets, which is used by D-Link on their newer DIR-300 and DIR-600 models, is used by Engenius on their newer models and also by Netgear and Fonera 2.0n. We will keep you posted.

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