How do I register a new hotspot?
If you don’t have a HOTSPLOTS account yet, you’ll have to register with us first. Under “My hotspots” in the registered users section you will find the following form which lets you register a new hotspot under your account:
Here’s an explanation of the different fields:
- Name of the Hotspot: The name identifies the hotspot in our database and should be as clear as possible. This name must not contain special characters or spaces.
- Passphrase: It identifies your hotspot for our billing system. The key that you enter here also has to be left at the hotspot’s firmware. Try choosing a random sequence of characters.
This key is a password that you can choose yourself.
- Public name: Since neither spaces nor umlauts are allowed in the hotspot name, there is also the public name. If nothing is entered, the hotspot name is used instead. All users will see this name on the login page of your hotspot: Welcome to the hotspot “HotelMuster”. On our map this name is also used (except for hotspots with rate “V.I.P. / Nur Tickets”).
- Rate: Here you choose the (online) rate for your hotspot. This defines the conditions for users who registered online at the HOTSPLOTS website. This is completely independent of the optional offering of location tickets and an also optional FreeRate contract.
The choice of “Direct login” or “Biz kostenlos” implies the conclusion of a HOTSPLOTS FreeRate contract. If you choose“Biz kostenlos” or “Direct login” for the first time, you are directed to the online forms to close the FreeRate contract. It starts immediately. Since you can change the online tariff any time we suggest to leave the standard rate at first and close the FreeRate contract after the installation of the hotspot router.
“V.I.P. / nur Tickets” means, that the hotspot usage is prohibited for all registered users except of the hotspot owner and the Free users (see point B below).
- FlexiFlat-Option: If the “FlexiFlat-Option” is selected, the given amount is the maximum a user will pay per month for the use of all hotspots that have activated this option. If “Fun 1,50Cent/MB” was chosen, the FlexiFlat is automatically set active.
- Location Flat: The LocationFlat ist an alternative to the FlexiFlat. In contrast to the FlexiFlat the hotspot operator can choose the amount for the LocationFlat limit but users do not benefit from a roaming feature as it is provided by sites with FlexiFlat.
- Default language: Select your default language. At the moment (July 2010) you have the choice between German, English, French, Polish, Dutch and Greek. This setting is used as default for the login page of this hotspot.
- Address, Postcode, City: Put in your hotspot’s location here. The default setting will be the address you registered with. This information helps other users to find your WiFi hotspot in our database. The area code will be used in a first step to geographically locate your hotspot and show it on our map. You can correctly adjust the location on the map afterwards. .
- Publish: We can automatically enter your hotspot into other WiFi hotspot directories. If you select this option we will publish your WLAN hotspot in all major hotspot directories on the internet. That way it can be more easily located by users. .
- Description: Here you can enter a description of your hotspot that users will see in our database.
- Website: For each of your hotspots you can enter a URL that’s displayed on our map. This way you can publish your hotel’s homepage, for example.
- Publish E‑Mail: If you publish your email address, it will be shown as contact information for your hotspot. This can be helpful if surfers have questions about your offer.
Then click on the green button to register new hotspot. You can delete or change its details at any time by clicking on its name in your hotspot list:
In addition to the fields explained above you can register “free users” for your hotspot. For you the hotspot is free, of course. In the example above, the HOTSPLOTS users “JohnDoe”, “linus” and “maxi” can use your hotspot for free. Naturally you don’t earn any money off these users.
As Admin contact several email address can be entered, seperated by spaces. To those addresses our monitoring system sends notification emails, e.g. if the hotspot is offline and Downtime notification is activated.
You can also adjust the login page of your hotspot, for example to show a picture of your hotel or a personalised welcome message.
What do I need to run a hotspot?
To run a hotspot, you need two things:
Preferably a DSL connection:
A DSL connection with a flat rate provides a fast connection to the internet. Depending on the location, alternatives to DSL can also be used to connect to the internet.
A WiFi router:
Users can use it to connect to the wireless network. At the same time, it monitors who is using the internet. Only those who can authenticate themselves via HOTSPLOTS are forwarded to the internet. And you as the operator will regularly receive your share of the revenue.
Which WiFi routers are suitable for HOTSPLOTS?
We recommend the routers from our webshop as hotspot routers. For outdoor WiFi installations we recommend the devices from Ubiquiti.
All hotspot routers can also be used as access points or repeaters. All devices with the same firmware generation can be connected to each other as repeaters. Repeaters with firmware 2.0 can work but cannot be connected to newer access points or routers via radio – but the other way around.
Our firmware offers the following advantages, among others:
- The hotspot can be managed easily with a web browser
- VPN routing as protection for hotspot operators
- Monitoring system: If the hotspot router is no longer online, the HOTSPLOTS server automatically sends a failure message by e‑mail as well as a message when the malfunction is resolved.
- Automatic firmware updates can be carried out with just a mouse click
- The operator can release his own web addresses (e.g. for the website of his hotel, cafe, club, etc.).
- A so-called “traffic shaping” ensures that uploads do not “clog up” the DSL
Can I continue using my DSL connection properly?
Yes, nothing changes for the hotspot operator. The DSL connection remains unchanged and can be used as usual.
The hotspot has a firewall running on it that can prevent hotspot users from accessing your private network. In addition, VPN routing can be activated, which tunnels the data from the hotspot router through your private network to a VPN server of HOTSPLOTS.
If you want a separate DSL connection for the hotspot, you can also get one from us. Please contact our sales department.
Features of the hotspot router firmware
- Gateway with captive portal. On LAN ports the captive portal is optional.
- Three options for WAN connection: pppoe, static, dynamic/DHCP
- Configuration as hotspot router or repeater
- Packet secure port forwarding (PSPF). I.e. the WLAN clients do not see each other. (This security feature can be deactivated if unwanted.)
- Configuration of transmitter power
- Walled garden: List of domains that can be accessed without authentication and whose traffic is not charged.
- Wireless encryption with openVPN.
- Traffic shaping
- Comfortable graphical user interface
- Configuration of all network settings
- Input and test of HOTSPLOTS operator data
- Download OpenVPN certificate from the HOTSPLOTS server with just a mouse click
- Download and installation of new firmware versions by mouse click
- Activation/deactivation of SSH as an alternative administration tool
- Activation/deactivation of administration by WLAN, LAN and WAN ports
- Change passwords
Which ports must be allowed at a firewall to the internet?
All connections are initiated by the hotspot router. For stateful firewall it is therefore not necessary to open or forward any ports.
For manually configured firewalls it might be necessary to allow certain ports. The following ports are relevant for hotspot-routers:
- DNS:UDP Port 53
- Web: TCP Ports 80, 443
- NTP: UDP Port 123
- VPN-Routing: UDP Ports 1193, 1194, 1195
- HSVPN-Routing: UDP Port 2001
- Radius: UDP Ports 1812, 1813
- Load-Balancing: TCP Ports 5001–5008 (Appliances up to version p6.5), UDP Port 2001 (Appliances with version d8.0 or higher)
Can I inhibit filesharing?
At the moment there is no method known to inhibit filesharing effectively. The often mentioned blocking of certain ports that are often used by filesharing clients can easily be eluded by using ports that are supposed to be use by other programs. E. g. common ports are the ports for normal surfing, 80 and 443.
Who uses filesharing intensively will probably get his own DSL connection. Until then: Enjoy the turnover.
Nevertheless you can use the traffic shaping of our firmware. The traffic is classified into three groups:
- High priority (DNS, SSH, VoIP)
- normal (telnet, Web and email)
- bilk traffic (edonkey, bittorent, etc.)
The traffic shaping can be activated in the admin interface. Additionally the bandwidth of the own internet connection has to be set. If for example it is set to only half of the real bandwidth, the clients behind the hotspot can use only that half. In that case a congestion of the own traffic is prevented.
With which internet connections does Hotsplots work?
The provider or respectively the medium hardly plays a role here as long as our systems get access to the internet. However, one must be aware that shared internet lines (shared medium) such as cable networks or LTE do not guarantee bandwidth and therefore offer lower throughput in core hours. You can usually find details on this in the general terms and conditions of the internet provider.