New Control Panel and new Look and Feel

Over the last few weeks we have been busy reorganising our back end control panel into an easier to manage set of screens. Here are some of the changes:
-       The huge account control screen has been broken down into smaller, more manageable screens;
-       Each screen includes online documentation, providing explanation about what certain fields and values are for;
-       Lists are supported consistently by our new data grid, which is a lot faster than the previous solution, even if your hotspots handle a lot of users; and
-       New lists like voucher transactions only based sales views are finally available.

In addition we have changed both our control panel as well as our login pages to use the jQuery CSS framework. Advantages for you:
-       With the jQuery Themeroler (http://jqueryui.com/themeroller/) you can create your own colour scheme to support your own Branding, and Look and Feel of your hotspot completely independent from us;
-       The pages look cleaner and crisper and download less images. Without any added or custom logos the login page is now less than 100kB download data on first load; and less than 5KB on any subsequent loads – keeping it light is appreciated especially by your mobile users.

You can test drive the new control panel and login pages on login11.chillifire.net/admin. ‘login11′ is a pre-production-server, meaning you get to test the new system, but the database is the actual live data. Therefore you will get a ‘real life’ experience if you choose to test the new look&feel system, if you perform any test transaction you wish to revert, let us know and we can do that for you. Community testing on login11.chillifire.net is open to any CF account holder as of immediately, and will go through to the 20th July. On that day we will deploy the system to our general production system, so everybody gets to benefit from the new development.

We are looking forward to your feedback

What else is new?

-       We are currently busy linking in the Worldpay credit card payment gateway to our system, we expect that to be available for public use in August.
-       We are also working on a revamp of our subscription management, to make this easier to set up and to allow flat rate per router subscription for free-access hotspots.
-       At the same time, once all feedback on the new control panel has been collected, we will port the sub-account portal to the new control panel format, to provide a consistent and fresh look and feel to all partners with sub-account portals
-       Last but not least, as OpenWrt keeps maturing, we are working on new versions for our firmware, so your choice of routers becomes wider and stays up to date with new and exciting models that are out there.

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New Chillifire firmware version ChilliWRT 10.03.1rc4 published

We have published a new firmware version, now based on OpenWrt 10.03.1rc4 – based on OpenWRT revision 26143

The new version features a number of improvements, such as improved wireless drivers for the various Atheros chip-sets, but also full featured performance graphing with remote graphing storage on our control panel.

In addition we can now offer repeater firmware for Atheros chip-set based routers, such as the popular Ubiquiti, Fonera, D-Link DIR300A and Engenius routers.

Last but not least support for various models has been firmed up and fully tested. This includes the new Ubiquiti M series, but also such great routers as the Mikrotik 450G and other Mikrotik 4xx routers.

We also provide initial support for some new routers from TP-Link like the MR3220 and the MR3420. We have also experimental support for Ralink chip-set based routers like the D-Link DIR615D and D-Link DIR300B. Please contact us if you wish to try OpenWrt and ChilliWRT on these routers. We will assist you in getting in running.

All in all an exciting extension of the firmware’s capability to many new and interesting router models. Enjoy.

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The new ‘Hotspot out of the Box’: It could not be easier!

On popular request we started to offer ‘Hotspot out of the Box’ which can be ordered from our website. These Hotspots are routers preinstalled with our firmware and pre-configured to your specifications. Once we have received and order, we contact the purchaser and confirm the exact specifications, like whether you want to charge for access, or provide free access, how long people can access the Internet, and how much they have to pay (if anything). The configuration options are endless and whatever you can do with a normal account in terms of configuration you can do with the ‘Hotspot out of the Box’.  We then configure the hotspot to those specifications and send the router to you per mail.

Note that the Hotspot out of the box is capable of advanced functions like performance graphing, peer-to-peer traffic blocking, or throttling, traffic shaping, detailed recording of hotspot user’s internet traffic, if that is a requirement in your jurisdiction, etc. There really are a lot of options.

As for revenue share and subscriptions the same prices and fees applys published on this website here and here.

There are a number of routers to choose from, the classic Linksys WRT54GL, but also more modern routers suitable for outdoor and indoor use, like the Ubiquiti Picostation. We also offer avery fast and modern N band router, the Picostation 2M HP. These Ubiquiti routers have proven themselves as very reliable, with great antenna sensitivity (important for today’s mobile devices like iPhones and Android based devices), at low power consumption, and quite an impressive coverage area. And yes, all routers are shipped with compatible power plugs.

Of course, if you have a specific requirement, do let us know and we will make you a special offer to support the router of your choice.

It has never been easier to install your own professional Hotspot. So order a ‘Hotspot out of the Box’ today.

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New Chillifire Firmware version ChilliWRT 10.03.1 published

We are proudly announcing the release of our new Chillifire firmware version, which gives access to a lot more functions and provides a lot more stability on a variety of new router models. As previously the firmware is based on OpenWRT, this time using release 10.03.1rc3 (r24009) and the trunk release r24010. So we retained our approach to distribute ChilliWRT as an optimised and preconfigured version of OpenWRT.

What new models do you support?

  • Using the new OpenWrt versions as base for the new firmware we can now offer ChilliWRT on many new router models from
  • D-Link: new DIR615 hw revision D, new DIR300 hw revision B, DIR600 and DIR825;
  • Engenius: EOC 1650, EOC 2611P, EAP3660 and others;
  • Linksys/Cisco: WRT150N, WRT160NL, WRT300, WRT350N, WRT400 and WRT610N;
  • Mikrotik: 1xx, 4xx and 5xx series;
  • TP-LINK: TL-WR741ND, TL-WR841N, TL-WR814ND, TL-WR901ND, TL-WR1043ND;
  • Trendnet: TEW-632-BRP, TEW-652-BRP; and
  • Ubiquity: Entire M-Series (Nano, Loco, Bullet, Pico, Rocket), and SL-SR71.

What new functions do you offer?

  • Remote performance graphing as an option of CPU, Load, Processes, Memory and Wireless;
  • Automatic determination on reboot of optimal Chillifire server to connect the router to;
  • Improved tracking of hotspot users surfing behaviour on IP address level as required in some jurisdictions (EU Guideline enacted in France and Italy so far – aka. Pisano Law);
  • Inclusion of Peer-to-Peer (P2P) traffic filter to prevent hotspot abuse;
  • Inclusion of Firewall manipulation scripts;
  • Improved stability of WDS Repeater heartbeats, and enabling of heartbeats for n-level WDS repeaters (i.e. repeaters connected via other repeaters);
  • Fixed heartbeats for routers without wireless network (no WLAN, LAN only);
  • SMTP redirection to local ISP SMTP server to allow sending of emails from clients like MS Outlook without configuration change;
  • Completed de-branding of firmware to the eye of the hotspot user, particular of interest to partners; and
  • Upgraded Coova-Chilli hotspot daemon to latest version 1.2.5.

Will the system upgrade itself?

Since the underlying revision of OpenWRT is changing an automatic update from 10.02.8 – the latest release of the previous software version – is not possible.

Should I upgrade my router(s) to the new version?

If you are not located in Europe, you should definitely upgrade to the new version to make sure you get the best performance due to the fastest connection to the nearest server. We now have servers in the US, in the UK and Australasia.
If you have repeaters, we definitely recommend and upgrade, so do we if you live in a country that imposes traffic tracking requirements on providers of internet access. Equally if you want to use the performance graphing for routers in marginal locations, an upgrade makes sense. If you are a partner an upgrade makes sense to protect your own brand experience from intrusion by the Chillifire brand.
And yes, if you are on a firmware version other than 10.02.x, then it is definitely time for you to upgrade.

What is next?

We are working on a firmware version for the popular Linux router from Netgear WNR3500L and WNR3500U, as well as the Linksys/Cisco E2100L.
We also want to extend the de-branding of the firmware to a rebranding to partner brands, with logos and colours pulled from the main account.

As always we are interested in your feedback and comments. As always, if you want us to have a look at your router and help you address a question or a configuration challenge, please make sure you leave your router switched on and connected to the internet. Please address any questions to our logging system on http://support.chillifire.net.

Thank you for your interest and patronage.

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Chillifire System has been Upgraded

The Chillifire hotspot management system has now been upgraded around the world. The new system has a more professional look and feel, provides a lot more configuration options, has been translated into 3 more languages, 10 now overall, and is significantly faster and responsive.

We will provide more details of the new system over time. We will also move our main website to match our new color scheme – the registration pages have already been transferred. There are of course tutorials and documentation to update – a lot of work for us we look forward to.

If you come to try our Chillifire hotspot management but cannot find the required documentation yet, please contact us for guidance through our support form.

We look forward to your feedback to our new system.

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Chillifire Hotspot on DD-WRT

As you know we are providing a license free preconfigured Firmware as part of our service. That firmware has been optimised and tuned to provide a best of class hotspot management service. While we believe our firmware is the best easiest option to create a great hotspot, we are aware that there are fans of another firmware, DD-WRT.

At the end of the day we want to provide you, our customer, with choices and not lock you into a certain path. For this reason we have offered an integration of DD-WRT into the Chillifire hotspot service for a number of years. We have taken the recent upgrade of our system as an occasion to update the DD-WRT configuration and make it work with newer version of DD-WRT, namely v24 SP1, and v24 preSP2.

To make things as easy as possible, we have created a configuration file that you can load into your DD-WRT router. This has been focused on the WRT54GL, but requires only very little adjustments (if any) for other router models that are DD-WRT supported. We have also updated our installation guide to reflect these changes and to support the installation process.

The DD-WRT configuration files, installation and configuration guides (with many screen prints) can be found here.

Note: DD-WRT is using a depreciated hotspot software, chillispot, whereas we use a hotspot software coova-chilli, that has emerged from chilispot and is alive and well. Some features such as remote firmware configuration support, and detailed hotspot user activity tracing or Peer-to-Peer traffic filtering are not available with DD-WRT. Please use ChilliWrt, Chillifire’s pre-configured OpenWrt firmware, if you require these features.

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Extend your hotspot’s range

We have released a new version of our software suitable to extend your hotspot’s coverage area through the use of repeaters. Repeaters are wireless routers, who are wirelessly connected to the main wireless router running the Chilifire firmware, and thus extend the signal range and coverage. The new firmware is based on OpenWrt and can be loaded on many different router models. The new firmware is capable of sending a heartbeat to the Chillifire control panel and can be remotely accessed for maintenance and support. The connection between the main Chillifire router and the repeater is created using the well established WDS prorocol. The new repeater firmware has also the spanning tree protocol (STP) installed, which allows connection of many router to one access point without creating loops between the routers – even when they are connected in a circular fashion.

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Unbranded Sub-Account Portal on www.hotspot-admin.net

We now offer an unbranded version of our control panel. This new feature is aimed at our partners who want to share turn-over data and maybe even some of the configuration options with their own clients. While partners can manage their own clients as sub-account to their main account understandably they do not wish these clients to become aware of Chillifire as the provider of the service platform. Neither do we, as they are your clients and yours to keep and nurture.
We have therefore established an unbranded portal, which can be accessed on www.hotspot-admin.net or www.hotspot-admin.com by holders of a sub-account. The control panel is limited in its function, with the main-account retaining full control over which functions the sub-account can actually make use of in their unbranded panel. If you do have your own custom skin linked to you main account, of course this custom skin with your own brand will come through on the sub-account control panel as well, once a sub-account holder has logged in.
How can you test this new function? Easy, create a sub-account within your account’s control panel, activate the new sub-account, go to www.hotspot-admin.net, log into the sub-account and away you go.

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Order hotspot vouchers without prepaying fees

Chillifire account holders no longer need to prepay vouchers when they are ordered online. You can still request them as you always have and they will be sent to you via PDF file to print and in a csv file for use in a word processing or graphics program of your choice. In fact everything is the same – other than you not having to prepay fees due to Chillifire anymore.

Fees due to Chillifire will be levied per invoice after they have actually been. This means vouchers are handled the same as credit card or payment account (like PayPal, 2Checkout, Moneybookers) payments that go through your own PayPal, 2Checkout, or Moneybookers account.

We trust this change will make vouchers more popular and we hope you find this new way to account for vouchers attractive.

As a new feature we have also enabled the request of vouchers for free-access hotspots. They can be requested through the same screen in the control panel as the pay-per-use vouchers. Please note that vouchers for free-access hotspots are not available if you have free subscriptions. They are only available for commercial use which requires a paid subscription.
As always we welcome any feedback you may have.

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Whitelist, Guest Access, and improved Usability Features at Chillifire

Other than opening up vouchers we have added a number of additional features to Chillifire hotspots.
For starters we enabled a ‘whitelist’ feature in the router, which allows you to declare devices which will bypass any authentication and gain unlimited internet access. The declaration is done by MAC-address. To make things easy, we have added the devices MAC-address to the bottom of the login screen. You can just cut and paste it into the Chillifire configuration screen of the router. For detailed instructions how to configure this and many other features on the routers see our forum’s Firmware Downloads and Installation Guides. This feature requires firmware 09.08.R10.

The next feature we added is a guest access to users, that you can switch on or off per account. If the guest access is enabled users can receive access to the internet for a defined period of time between 5 and 60 minutes. The system will allow guest access only once within a period you can also define within the control panel. This way you can define guest access for, say 10 minutes every 24 hours, to give users a ‘try before you buy’ option. Of course data limits and speed limts can be defined as for any internet access.

Next thing we improved was the definition of Price Plans for Pay-per-Use hotspots, the Access Control for free-access hotspots, and the definition for Guest Access. We have separated the definition of these different access control mechanisms into three different screens, to make the maintenance easier for you and less confusing.

Last but not least we improved the features of the buy screen of the Pay-per-use hotspot, adding hover button elements, highlighting of error messages et all, to make things easier for less web savvy users, so as to increase your conversion rate.

These are some new features, as always we encourage your feedback as to what other features you would like to see enabled on your hotspot.

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