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:
- 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.
- 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