New firmware released and New international servers commissioned

We are ready to release our new OpenWRT Kamikaze based firmware for field trials and to support this effort, we have also commissioned two brand new web servers and authentication servers in Europe.

 

What does this mean for you, the hotspot owner?

 

Having Europe based servers means you will have a superior customer experience, when located outside our home region Australasia. The internet is fast but not so fast that distance is not noticed. The lag (=delay) between a hotspot in Europe and our existing servers in Europe was noticeable. While not crucial it did at times create longer waits for hotspot customers when purchasing time or signing on. That is now a thing of the past. The new servers are based in central Europe and thus will not only benefit that continent but also the US (as there is a lot of fibre between the Americas and Europe), Africa and the Middle East.

 

To take advantage of these new servers we recommend you use them in conjunction with our new firmware. This new firmware has a number of features. For starters it will automatically identify the closest and fastest responding server to your hotspot. So you do not have to worry about the vagaries international internet speed, lag etc. The router will do that for you. So if you are based in Australia, New Zealand, or even Japan you will still be using the servers based in that region. However, hotspots based in the US or Europe will identify the new servers as the fastest and most responsive and will fall back to those. In essence everyone should have a more favourable experience for their customers.

 

The real leap forward in terms of the firmware however is the fact that it will be based on OpenWRT Kamikaze 8.09 and no longer on the older Whiterussian version. The benefit is that this new Chillifire firmware version can be installed on many more hardware architectures and thus routers compared to the old one. Microtik boards, Ubiquiti routers, FritzBox, Fonera, some Asustek and DLink routers, Atheros chipset based routers (to name but a few)are all within reach now. By no means are you confined to the good old WRT54GL – not that there is anything wrong with it. The firmware expects a minimum of 4MB flash memory and 16MB RAM. For a list of supported router models please refer to OpenWRT Table of Hardware for now. We will update lists of actually tested routers as the tests occur over time and we receive feedback from clients. We are reliant on the feedback of the community, as you will understand that we cannot test them all. If you want a firmware image compiled by us for a certain Hardware platform, please contact us via support. We will do that for you and ‘tackle’ the router together with you, if further adjustments for that particular model are required.

 

Another very important improvement is the ability to track web traffic down to IP address level for logged in users. This is a feature that may be a legal requirement in some jurisdiction. It has to be switched on deliberately, as it will generate some traffic from the router to the server (some 50 – 1000 KB per user per hour depending on how many pages they access) and this is not in everyone’s interest. At the same time you may not have a choice at all and may have to provide these records to the authorities of your jurisdiction on request. For those jurisdictions where this requirement is in place this function is provided. Now, because the very same jurisdictions generally also have very strict privacy laws these records are not made generally available to view on the control panel, but just on request and with good cause. We will make available for general viewing though details of login session per user as part of the ‘User’ transaction of the control panel. This gives some indication of usage including start and stop time, location and device used, as well as data up and download volumes. If more information is then indeed required by authorities we can make the detailed usage logs available on request with good cause.

 

The firmware also provides an overview of currently logged in users and the ability to disconnect them, if required. An improved interface to maintain your own splash page and add webpages or websites to your walled garden rounds up the improvements.

You can download the firmware images here 

This entry was posted in Hotspot Features. Bookmark the permalink.

Comments are closed.