WiFI: Hotspot Networks
WiFI Hotspots are usually set up indoors and serve some type of retail establishment such as a coffee shop, book store, airport, hotel lobby or other establishment that provides services to people that roam from one city to the next on business.
A WiFI Hotspot usually consists of a single access point (radio) and a billing gateway. A complete WiFI Hotspot should cost around $500 to build and operate.
Customers of WiFI Hotspots are usually business travelers who are equipped with some type of computing device such as a laptop, personal digital assistant (PDA) or a cell phone that uses their own wireless CPE (customer premises equipment) antenna to access the WiFI Hotspot wireless network.
The most important feature of WiFI Hotspots is that it is “self-serve”; customers provision themselves. As soon as a user is within range of a WiFI Hotspot and the click on the view wireless networks option on Microsoft XP operating system, they are presented with the WiFI Hotspot's Landing Page.
The landing page is the first screen that a user sees when they attempt to login to the network. The landing page provides a form whereby the customer can enter their username and password in order to logon to the network. If the user doesn't have a username and password, they can buy one with a valid credit card.
Most WiFI Hotspots are a member of one or more roaming network aggregator services that allow their users to log on to any member network with a single username and password.
Allowing any customer to sign up for service while roaming into a WiFI Hotspot is a very important feature that is included NISP networks.
In a NISP network, the access point is set up as an outdoor WiFI Hotspot. Once the operator turns on the access point, all neighbors with some type of wireless antenna that are within range of the broadcast signal can sign themselves up as a customer.