PayPal Authentication System updates and bug fixes

It's the shortest day of the year, and we pushed out some bug fixes before 2016. Here's the changelog:

PayPal Authentication System
  • PayPal authentication process no longer generates superfluous DNS requests
  • Optional customer-requested email address now overrides default PayPal account email
  • Old admin-created accounts work properly
  • Admin-created accounts that don't include an active PayPal product work properly
  • User limits are correctly enforced if allow duplicate logins is checked
Miscellaneous Fixes
  • Session Monitor Window properly displays all types of client sessions
  • Session accounting works on all supported customer-provisioned routers
  • Intermittent CRM (customer survey) display error fixed
  • Session search field works properly in MANAGE > Sessions
  • User Authentication System properly displays group membership checkboxes
  • Device Authentication System displays all registered MAC addresses

SputnikNet Updates: Guest Authentication and Time Zone Support

Here are the latest SputnikNet updates.

Guest Authentication System
  • Guest Authentication now offers ratable (periodic) bandwidth limits; you can limit accounts to a defined amount of bandwidth per day (or any other time interval). In any Guest Authentication System, see Settings > Limits: Bandwidth Limit.
Timezone Updates
  • We rewrote the underlying timezone support system. Please see our changelog for details.

Facebook Authentication System Updates


We've made some changes to the Facebook authentication system to reflect policy updates at Facebook.

Please review our changelog for specific information.

New SputnikNet Usage Reports

We've added a number of reports that can send information to customers periodically (e.g. hourly/daily/weekly/monthly/yearly).

  • Session operating system and browser breakdown
  • Usage report (summary number of sessions, unique clients, and bandwidth usage)
  • Detailed session report (all SputnikNet session data in given time period)
Reports can be sent as HTML, CSV and JSON. To sign up for SputnikNet reports please open a case.

SputnikNet Updates: New Maps, Authentication System Enhancements

We have scheduled maintenance for the SputnikNet servers between 12AM and 3AM PST on Tuesday, May 20th. Please read on to see what’s being changed and how this will affect your account.

  • Replaced CloudMade maps with MapBox maps for faster page loads
PayPal Authentication System
  • Account sharing: ability to control the number of simultaneous logins per account
  • Customizable welcome email with username and password for new signups (optional recovery password can be sent to protect customer privacy)
  • Customizable fields for localizing text during account signup and login
  • Updated code to work with PayPal mobile device payments (e.g. smartphones, iPads)
  • Fixed bug that prevented users from logging in with passwords fewer than 8 characters
Prepaid Authentication System
  • Account sharing: ability to control the number of simultaneous logins per account
Facebook Authentication System
  • Added the ability to selectively bypass a survey if access to the user's Facebook profile is enabled

Although the maintenance window is scheduled for three hours, the impact to your account will be a small fraction of that time. We are working hard to ensure that the upgrades happen transparently and with minimal impact to service.

Announcing Facebook Authentication

We’re pleased to add a new Facebook Authentication System to our growing stable of SputnikNet login methods.

Here’s how it works:

You can now create one or many Facebook Authentication Systems and add them to your captive portals. All you need to do is create a Facebook app in your account (more information about how to do this is at developers.facebook.com) and link it to SputnikNet. Then, when users connect to your Wi-Fi access point, they’ll be presented to log in with their Facebook credentials.

Sputnik’s Facebook Authentication System has tons of flexibility. Here are just some of the things you can do:

  • Have customers login to your hotspot with their Facebook ID
  • Require or request a Facebook Like (to the web page of your choice)
  • Require or request a wall post (you can have up to ten pre-written wall posts that will appear on your customer’s walls)
  • Require or request customers’ email addresses
  • Require or request customers’ birthrates
  • Award session limits based upon how much the customer agrees to share
  • Full customization of the look and feel and login text

As with all other SputnikNet Authentication Systems, you can set bandwidth up/down limits, apply network policies, and completely control the look and feel of the login process.

Best of all, as you collect customer data it is yours to do with per your customer privacy agreements. For example, you can collect email addresses for online marketing programs.

We believe SputnikNet’s Facebook Authentication is the most flexible way of using Facebook to enable customers to log into Wi-Fi. You are in complete control, with the ability to request or require the appropriate information or social gesture from your customers, and full and exclusive access to the data you generate.

Announcing updates to SputnikNet and Sputnik Agent firmware

We have some nice end-of-year upgrades to our SputnikNet service and free Sputnik Agent Firmware - both are now version
These upgrades have already been rolled out to all SputnikNet accounts. Here's an overview of what's new:
  • Wi-Fi device management
    • Enabled remote flash update for the following router models:
      • Sputnik 720, 730 and 320
      • Cisco Linksys E2000 and E3000
      • Netgear 3500L
    • Added firmware update alerts for all other router models.
    • Added ability to remotely set timezone on router and to synchronize its clock with Internet time servers.
    • Enabled remote control over basic wireless scheduling (turn wireless signal on/off at certain times of day).
    • Enabled remote control over wireless client isolation.
    • Router local web admin password can now be changed from SputnikNet.
  • Sputnik Instant Setup
    • Added ability to set Sputnik Agent mode (e.g. NMS) before assigning the device to its SputnikNet server. This will streamline the deployment of managed range extenders running Sputnik Agent in NMS mode.
    • Added ability to detect and manually fix erroneous MAC addresses.
  • Captive portals
    • Added option to disable display of the session monitor window.
    • Added the ability to customize the post-authentication welcome page greeting text.
  • Prepaid authentication system
    • Improved performance when creating large prepaid code batches (e.g. 50,000+ codes).
Sputnik-powered firmware gets some nice updates too, including support for 400 mW power settings for the Cisco Linksys E2000 and E3000 (PoE adapter required), wireless client isolation set by default for enhanced security, and better stability when running in NMS mode for managed range extenders. Download free Sputnik firmware here.
More information is in the SputnikNet and Sputnik Agent change logs.
Posted via email from Sputnik, Inc. Blog

Using Microsoft Active Directory to authenticate hotspot users (update)

We've updated our documentation to make it easier to connect SputnikNet to your Microsoft Active Directory database for authenticating hotspot users. (Tip of the hat to one of our awesome customers who helped us improve this.)

So, if you use Microsoft Active Directory, your employees can use their normal login credentials to sign into your Wi-Fi hotspots. And of course, with SputnikNet, you easily add one or more guest authentication systems for members of the public.

Here's how to use Microsoft Active Directory with SputnikNet in six steps.

Sputnik Announces Major Upgrade to SputnikNet Cloud-Managed Wi-Fi Service

Content Caching at the Edge, Bandwidth Management, SMS Authentication
San Francisco - October 20, 2011 - Sputnik, a leading provider of cloud services for Wi-Fi networks, announced several new features in SputnikNet, the company's flagship application. New innovations include:
Content Caching at the Edge
SputnikNet now enables customers to add a Sputnik-provisioned USB flash drive to popular devices, such as the Cisco E3200, Cisco E4200, and ASUS RT-N16 Wi-Fi routers, and enable content caching. This both improves network performance and saves bandwidth by storing frequently accessed web content locally, improving Wi-Fi user experience at the venue. In addition, new caching reports enable providers to view bandwidth savings and performance statistics.
Per-User Bandwidth Controls
Wi-Fi providers can set a maximum upload and download rate per subscriber, per session, and per Wi-Fi router. In addition, quality-of-service (QoS) throttling enables providers to limit popular peer-to-peer protocols such as BitTorrent.
SMS Authentication
SputnikNet offers a new SMS authentication system, enabling providers to text login codes to subscriber cell phones. Wi-Fi users simply enter their cell phone number into a captive portal and are texted the login code.
Sputnik has partnered with Essendex Limited for SMS messaging. As with all of Sputnik's payment-based authentication systems (for example PayPal, Credit Card, Prepaid), Sputnik does not charge any usage or revenue share fees.
Session Queueing
SputnikNet now enables providers to set the maximum number of Wi-Fi sessions on a router, after which users are given a place in line. (Similar to numbered tickets at a deli counter.) Wi-Fi users see a dynamically updated estimate of how long it will take for them to move to the front of the queue and get online.
SputnikNet now includes a new content management system for assets used in captive portals such as images, javascript, css, and html snippets. This feature enables providers to quickly upload graphics and other files into SputnikNet for reuse in portals. It also enables them, for example, to quickly change selected graphics across a range of portals.
Other Enhancements
SputnikNet contains many other improvements, including:
  • Enhanced user interface for faster, easier access to useful information and controls
  • Context-sensitive help, integrated documentation search and live support chat
  • Quick MAC lookup to survey Wi-Fi devices on networks
  • Radio scheduling to turn Wi-Fi off and on at defined intervals
  • Improved user session reports, enabling time and bandwidth summaries by router, subscriber, authentication system and captive portal
  • Captive portal preview in list view
  • Ability to harvest subscriber emails for building marketing lists
"Our engineers have been working hard to bring great new capabilities to SputnikNet," said David LaDuke, CEO Sputnik, Inc. "But we're not resting. Expect to see new innovations over the coming months as we maintain a laser focus on building the best, easiest-to-use application for cloud-managed, access controlled Wi-Fi in the world."
Pricing and availability
After a one-time $49.95 account setup fee, SputnikNet is $19.95/month, or $199.50/year, per managed router. Volume discounts kick in automatically as providers add managed Wi-Fi devices to their networks. Certain features require Sputnik Pro subscriptions at $49.95/month or $499.50/year, with volume discounts available. Providers can sign up for SputnikNet at http://store.sputnik.com.
Sputnik Agent firmware, which enables Wi-Fi routers from leading vendors such as ASUS, Cisco, EnGenius, NETGEAR and many others, is free. Sputnik firmware is available at http://www.sputnik.com/support/download.
Pre-formatted Sputnik USB cache drives are $49.95 and can be ordered at Sputnik's online store.
About Sputnik, Inc. (http://www.sputnik.com)
Sputnik Inc. is a leading provider of cloud-based software that enables ISPs and wireless service providers to build custom-branded, access-controlled Wi-Fi services and manage them over the Internet. Sputnik's remote network and subscriber management features allow cost-effective operation in locations without onsite technical support. The company's easy-to-use, flexible software supports a wide range of businesses, service providers, and educational institutions, and has been adopted by customers in more than 100 countries around the world. The company is based in Sausilito, California.

Content Caching on Sputnik-Powered Devices: How-To

Routers commonly ship with USB ports nowadays, and Sputnik engineers have been cooking up some good ways to use them.

Here’s the first that we’ve shipped: content caching at the edge. And here’s what it does.
Content caching stores data from frequently visited web sites locally, on the router—or to be exact, on a USB flash drive attached to the router. That way, when the content is requested by a user’s browser it can be loaded locally, from the router, rather than over the Internet.
For example, lets say one of your users visits a popular site such as Facebook, Google News, Yahoo! News or YouTube. The first visitor fetches the web content from the Internet, and it is automatically stored by your Sputnik-powered router. The second visitor then only needs to fetch content that is unique to them—the rest is servved right from the router (at local network speed). As more content is added to the local cache, more and more becomes available to users on your local network.
It’s the same idea used by companies like Akamai to distribute content closer to the “edge” of the Internet, where users are. Only in this case, the “edge” is the Sputnik-powered router only a few feet from the user!
This can dramatically improve network performance and save bandwidth.


How much bandwidth? That depends upon your network. Customers are reporting savings of 10% or even more over time. (We’d love to hear from you if you’re running Sputnik-powered content caching to hear how much bandwidth you save.)
Content caching makes a big difference if the broadband network serving your hotspot is metered, or if you’re on a low bandwidth, high latency connection such as a sattelite.
Sputnik-powered content caching works with the routers we sell that include a USB port, for example the Cisco E200, Cisco E3000, Cisco E3200, Cisco E4200, Netgear WNR3500L and Asus RT-N16.* It requres a SputnikNet Pro subscription for that router.
OK – that sounds good, so how do you get started? It couldn’t be simpler.


  1. Order a Sputnik flash drive from our online store. (We provision and test each USB flash drive to ensure it works well with SputnikNet.)
  2. Put the flash drive into your Sputnik-powered router.
  3. Enable USB support and turn on content caching. enable-caching
  4. Wait 15 minutes for your first bandwidth saving report.
That’s all there is to it. We hope that you enjoy saving bandwidth and providing a faster browsing experience to your customers!
* Supported router list is subject to change over time.

How to Create New Captive Portals in SputnikNet

Captive portals are (usually) how people log into Wi-Fi networks using SputnikNet. And they’re a vital way to convey your brand, deliver messages to your customers, run seasonal promotions and welcome customers to your Wi-Fi network.

SputnikNet enables you to create unlimited captive portals. Once created, you simply apply portals to one or many Sputnik-Powered Wi-Fi access points. Then add one or many authentication systems (ways to log in) to each portal. Each Wi-Fi hotspot on your network can be different, or they can all be the same. This gives you tremendous flexibility to create the kind of experience you want to offer your customers.


In short, there are no limits. 2012 is a great year to use Wi-Fi to connect with your customers and communicate your brand.
Here’s how to create new captive portals in SputnikNet.

How to Create Pre-Login Portals in SputnikNet

Many busy Wi-Fi sites attract lots of visitors or passersby with smartphones in their pockets or purses who never actually log in. These ambient Wi-Fi sessions can create load on your router as it attempts to display your media-rich captive portal to each client as they grab DHCP leases.
The Pre-Login Portal is a slimmed-down captive portal that acts as a basic “CAPTCHA” or Turing test – it only displays your captive portal to users who request it, utilizing a minimum of router resources and bandwidth. This can reduce load on your Wi-Fi router in busy locations with lots of ambient Wi-Fi connections.


Here’s how to enable a pre-login portal to reduce the load on your router at busy Wi-Fi hotspots.

How to Configure DHCP for Busy Hotspots with Execute Command, from the Cloud

Busy Wi-Fi hotspots need a sufficient number of DHCP leases for guests who connect to the network. However the growth of Wi-Fi enabled smartphones, tablets and other mobile devices has dramatically increased the number of “ambient” Wi-Fi connections that also request DHCP leases – even though they might never actually authenticate onto the network. In SputnikNet, these ambient requests show up as unauthenticated sessions.


It is important to ensure that routers in busy hotspots are set up with large, frequently refreshed DHCP lease pools to keep up with this demand.
Here’s how to configure your Sputnik-powered router for high-demand sites, from the cloud.

How to Change your Router's Web Admin Password from the Cloud, with SputnikNet

To enhance the security of your Wi-Fi routers, Sputnik-Powered firmware (available free from our download site) requires a password change upon setup.


However for customers running stock DD-WRT firmware, or who are concerned about the security of Wi-Fi routers in the field, here’s how to change your router’s web admin password from the cloud, using SputnikNet.

SputnikNet Updates

We’ve been rolling out a lot of incremental feature enhancements to SputnikNet, and recently updated our change log to reflect that. Some highlights:


  • A new content management system for dealing with captive portal images, CSS, JavaScript, HTML and text snippets that make them easy to reuse across multiple portals
  • An improved captive portal design subsystem
  • Improved device, PayPal and user authentication systems
  • Block private nets enabled by default in all new authentication systems, for enhanced security
  • Wi-Fi site survey now available as a router command, enabling rogue AP detection from the cloud
And lots more!
Please visit our change log for more information. And stay tuned, there’s lots more coming.