RedButton’s cutting edge hotspot firmware – now even sharper

In an earlier post we unveiled RedButton’s firmware with its focus on making it easy to set up reliable hotspots that deliver the world class service our end users expect. Well things have just gotten even better with version 0.9.12 beta being released, hold on to your seats…..

End-users can effortlessly connect to our service, regardless of network settings

A small portion of our end-users arrive at our hotspots with misconfigured network settings that results in them being unable to connect. We currently assist these users with telephonic support but with version 0.9.12 of our firmware such support incidents will be eliminated since all affected users will be able to connect regardless. Should the user have a static IP address or static DNS servers set they will still be redirected to the portal page where they can sign up or login. Eureka!
Not only does this cut down on general support, but it also enhances the user experience at a hotspot. Using a competitor’s solution a user not being able to connect would either phone for support or worse just leave the hotspot and never use it. We are okay with the former (supporting the user) but the latter (a user leaving the hotspot) is absolutely unacceptable and the “dark figure” of the number of such cases seems high. Our new firmware certainly addresses this problem resulting in increased revenues for resellers and venues apart from higher customer satisfaction.

Enhanced service and technical support thanks to automated remote access

With version 0.9.12 we can ship our plug & play routers to any remote location and our clients can be assured that simplified network troubleshooting and customer support will be available on a plug and play basis. This is thanks to all routers being constantly accessible remotely 24/7 by RedButton technical staff and in future resellers, without the need for additional configuration settings such as DMZ or port forwarding.
This also enables RedButton to monitor each and every device 24/7, be it a hotspot router or a simple access point/repeater, as long as it runs our firmware of course. If an outage occurs our system will pick up the disconnection in under 3 minutes and notify the hotspot administrator via email after 10 more minutes of no activity.
Ultimately this means that network problems may be detected, attended to and resolved even before the customer calls in to complain – a feature that none of our competitors can currently offer.

The Cisco LED lights up orange whenever your main node or repeater is online

We predominantly use the Linksys WRT54GL. The picture above demonstrates this ability: We have one router (the top router) with the new firmware, and the bottom router with the old firmware. As one can see, the top router’s Cisco LED is orange which means it has a valid internet connection. The light is off whenever the Internet connection is off. It is therefore not necessary to access the device’s web interface to determine if the Internet connection is the source of the problem. This even works for repeaters or access points connected to the main hotspot router. Configuration and troubleshooting during both installation and maintenance related site visits is thereby greatly simplified and streamlined.

Greatly simplified hotspot installation

In addition to the above the process of hotspot installation by means of configuring your router has been drastically simplified. After having successfully flashed your router with our firmware there are very few steps that need to be carried out in order to get your hotspot up and running. In the majority of cases where you already have an existing Internet connection such as an ADSL line all you need to do is plug a cable from your ADSL modem to the Internet port of your RedButton router. Then connect to its web configuration interface, set the hotspot id which uniquely identifies your hotspot on the RedButton network, save and apply and you’re in business. For more advanced setups there’s always the firmware documentation to fall back on but even there the configuration is surprisingly simple. Of course if you opt for one of our plug & play routers everything has been preconfigured for you, you just have to plug in the cabling.

Fully automated remote firmware upgrade procedure

Ever tried upgrading your third party firmware to take advantage of new features or greater stability? It usually is a painful and frustrating experience as all carefully adjusted settings must be erased and everything reset to factory defaults. Even saved configuration images are useless as they are not compatible with newer versions. This means you have to do everything on site – a costly and time intensive exercise, especially if you have a large network like ours with hundreds of routers deployed.
With version 0.9.12 this entire process can be fully automated. You as the hotspot owner or reseller don’t have to do anything, we take care of it. And for us the entire process has been streamlined to the point where within less than 10 minutes the entire upgrade may be completed. At any time of the day – and if there are any users currently logged into the hotspot the process will politely wait until all of them have logged off. This minimises inconvenience caused to the users, ensures high up time across our network and still enables RedButton to deploy exciting new features across its network whenever the need arises.

Finally…

In a few weeks time after the beta testing phase has been completed successfully we will roll out the production version, 0.9.12 final, across the RedButton network. Naturally our resellers and those opting for the Self Service option of our Prepaid WiFi Product will be able

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to enjoy the benefits as soon as it has been released.

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