Tag: antlabs guest wifi solution

    Automation: The Next Big Thing for Cloud and Digitization

    A for Automation

    According to Wikipedia, automation describes a wide range of technologies that reduce human intervention in processes. As the tongue-in-cheek section header implies, automation may very soon be the first thing on your priority to-do list.  Much has been said about the merits of moving to the “Cloud” or “Digitization”.  While shifting to the cloud or making business processes more digital will have some inherent productivity gains or even strategic advantages, we feel that automation is key to driving more impactful revenue and operational results.

    Automation is critical to providing a consistent and satisfying customer experience, benefiting from expert decision-making, or ensuring a high level of service quality.  These are attributes that are especially important for the service industry, including for Network Managed Service Providers (MSPs), Telcos, and the Hospitality industry.

    The power of “Automation” in the palm of your hand

    Benefits of Automation for the MSPs, Telcos and Hospitality Industry

    1.  As business activities pick up, MSPs that can scale up and down quickly and cost-effectively will be able to benefit from this trend. Venue owners and businesses who are facing uncertainty will prefer low start-up cost and pay-as-you-use subscription business models. MSPs who can provide flexibility to customers and tune their pricing models quickly will dominate the market. “Wi-Fi-as-a-service” (WiFi-aaS) is fast gaining popularity and increasingly preferred.

    2.  The demand for Enterprise managed Wi-Fi services should pick up as business owners and corporates want to outsource infrastructure investment or migrate from Capex to Opex spending model, while relying on MSPs to deliver reliable wireless connectivity for their operations. Centralized monitoring, with easy remote onboarding of customers while empowering them to self-help or administer basic functions are critical success factors.

    3.  It is important for MSPs to have deep understanding of their target customer segments and what is happening in their network, in order to spot business opportunities or respond quickly to operational issues respectively. In the past, many MSPs have built systems in silos to address different business opportunities which made data consolidation and analytics difficult or impossible. A good centralized system that incorporates data analytics with machine learning can help both Marketing, Business Development and Operations team to better address market segments and ensure service levels are met.

    ANTlabs ASP / ASP Cloud Managed Wi-Fi Solutions for MSPs

    There are many ways that automation can be applied to allow companies to reap the benefits mentioned earlier. Here are some examples that ANTlabs has helped evolve our customer’s business processes with our product features or our ability to help customize to their requirements.

    Backup and recovery automation for optimum system availability and resiliency

    With our ASP managed service platform or ASP Cloud service, configuration and recovery data can be backed up centrally. During system failures at a local site, high availability on our gateways automatically kicks in, preventing service downtime. Alerts are sent out automatically. In the event of a full local system failure, the MSP can quickly send in a replacement unit and restore the service fast with the backups that are stored in the cloud. With simple instructions, a non-IT staff can power up a gateway and allow both the gateway and ASP to automatically self-configure and restore optimized settings finetuned by IT group corporate. All these can be monitored remotely by an administrator(s) from our ASP platform.

    Dynamic login pages automation for best user experience and lower operation workload

    The IT Administrator of a MICE venue can predefine and configure new login portal pages to be shown at a specific location at a specific date and time so that they don’t have to remember to change or rush to make last-minute changes before a new event starts. Our Event Manager module helps save time, while potentially allowing non-IT staff to help in times of manpower crunch with the easy-to-use, and intuitive user interface.

    Automated surveys for more customer satisfaction insights

    A customer satisfaction survey can be sent automatically after a guest has checked out of a hotel or finished a meal at a restaurant. Instead of relying on staff to remember to do this mundane step and collate the results, such a simple form of automation can alert management if service standards have been exemplary or degraded.

    Improve Telcos and MSPs productivity and mitigate manpower resources crunch

    During government-mandated lockdowns, ANTlabs Tru’AUTH AAA and Tru’IP DHCP/DNS systems have aided Telcos and MSPs to respond rapidly to shifting consumption spikes of bandwidth in the network. AAA authentication, DHCP, and DNS service are important network services for a Telco. With automation, a much leaner network team could bring up new network coverage quickly and shift the required network resources to multiple sites without sacrificing quality. Coupled with the use of telemetry data, automated expert rules can help Operations teams during maintenance windows to ensure that pre-established operational procedures set up by experienced operators can be faithfully executed by less experienced staff. Real-time visibility on our systems, help provide human engineers or managers with speedy confirmation of service recovery and relevant reports for audit.

    The above examples illustrate the wide range that automation can enhance service quality in small steps for individual customers or create a huge impact on an operator’s network affecting millions.

    antlabs telemetry and network automation

    Conclusion

    Automation is the next step to realize the benefits of shifting to the cloud and digitization of business processes. For more than 20 years, ANTlabs has built robust networking solutions for Telcos, MSPs, large venues, and the hospitality industry. With our unique insight into the needs of small venue owners to large-scale network operators, we continually apply automation through product innovation and customize for our customers. The ability to customize to our customers’ environment is one of many unique advantages offered by ANTlabs.

    Automation is key to driving more impactful revenue and operational results. It will allow the MSPs, Telcos, and hospitality industry to provide a consistently high-quality customer experience, respond faster to a dynamic business environment and ensure a high level of operational efficiency.

     

     

     

    managed wifi service providers. automation

    How Managed Wi-Fi Service Providers can prosper in 2022

    A new year of challenges and opportunities

    As the new Lunar Year of the Tiger is upon us, we are hopeful that 2022 will be a year of opportunities for managed service providers (MSPs) providing Managed Wi-Fi services. For the past 2 years, there have been unpredictable drops in customer demand and business activity, as well as sudden surges after lull periods. Shortage of labour and supply chain disruptions have also created unforeseen issues which require innovative solutions and change in mindset and paradigms to ride through the challenges. Technology and innovation are often cited as catalysts to help businesses transform to overcome these disruptions and emerge more agile and competitive. So how can MSPs position themselves to win in 2022?

    Here are 5 ways that we believe MSPs can take advantage of the business opportunities:

    1. As business activities pick up, MSPs that can scale up and down quickly and cost-effectively will be able to benefit from this trend. Venue owners and businesses who are facing uncertainty will prefer low start-up cost and pay-as-you-use subscription business models. MSPs who can provide flexibility to customers and tune their pricing models quickly will dominate the market. “Wi-Fi-as-a-service” (WiFi-aaS) is fast gaining popularity and increasingly preferred.

    2. The demand for Enterprise managed Wi-Fi services should pick up as business owners and corporates want to outsource infrastructure investment or migrate from Capex to Opex spending model, while relying on MSPs to deliver reliable wireless connectivity for their operations. Centralized monitoring, with easy remote onboarding of customers while empowering them to self-help or administer basic functions are critical success factors.

    3. It is important for MSPs to have deep understanding of their target customer segments and what is happening in their network, in order to spot business opportunities or respond quickly to operational issues respectively. In the past, many MSPs have built systems in silos to address different business opportunities which made data consolidation and analytics difficult or impossible. A good centralized system that incorporates data analytics with machine learning can help both Marketing, Business Development and Operations team to better address market segments and ensure service levels are met.

    ANTlabs ASP / ASP Cloud Managed Wi-Fi Solutions for MSPs

    With more than 2 decades of experience working with Telcos, service providers and hospitality players, ANTlabs has developed a centralized managed service platform called ASP (ANTlabs Service Platform) that can help MSPs address the opportunities outlined here. For customers with small number of sites, ANTlabs also provides ASP Cloud – a pay-as-you-use subscription service based on the same ASP platform to help them get started and realize the benefits that would otherwise be inaccessible to them.

    Launch New Cloud Managed WiFi Services Easily with ANTlabs ASP / ASP Cloud

    4. While wireless connectivity is indispensable, it is also fast becoming a commodity. Yet delivering good quality high-speed internet access (HSIA) service can make or break the success of WiFi-aaS for MSPs. Consistently high quality of service (QoS) requires end to end effort: from the edge devices providing differentiated network QoS control for different user groups, to controlling what kinds of application traffic has priority so that overall user experience is enhanced.

    Beyond HSIA: User-aware, location aware services

    Besides HSIA as a service, MSPs should allow other network services to easily launched and subscribed by end customers. ANTlabs ASP platform has the unique ability to allow MSPs to launch user-aware, location-aware services that are customizable to fit different customer segments. Take for example, a web filtering service to protect network users from malware or undesirable content. MSPs can provide a different customer profile with a corresponding set of filtering criteria for corporate use, versus, hospitality customers.

    5. Finally, with the trend to move business processes online and the shift towards Cloud operations, MSPs should leverage on the same WiFi-aaS platform to capture customers in other business verticals. ANTlabs ASP platform has multi-tenancy features that allow different end user organizations to subscribe and manage their own network, and flexible features that allow the MSPs to address different verticals like corporate, hospitality, retail, finance and even education. With small increment cost, MSPs can leverage on the ANTlabs ASP platform to expand their existing business by providing Managed WiFi business to new business verticals.

    Conclusion

    ANTlabs has built the ASP platform to be a robust centralized managed service platform for MSPs to realize a scalable, and cost-effective Managed WiFi Service model with the added benefit of launching new services quickly, and allowing them to expand beyond their traditional hospitality or corporate customer base. As WiFi-as-as-service (WiFi-aaS) becomes the norm with more businesses going online in 2022 and beyond, MSPs who can capitalize on these trends will have first-mover advantage and build a sustainable and profitable business.

  • IG 4 S-Series Update #6

    This update adds the following enhancements: Licensing GUI to display the service provider contract details Enhanced web security by removing TLS 1.1 support for web pages served by the gateway Use Facebook Graph API version 10.0 New optional reset_balance=yes input to account_update API module to support Fixed Duration plan update where a reset of remaining […]

  • IG 4 Update #44

    This update updates the gateway’s default SSL certificate. Update Release No. 44Release Date: 18 Mar 2021Update File Name: 44.IG4000_base-sys-hotfix-20210315-01.pkg     (md5: eb1ae6db86cc482af92a63ce25ed79f6)

  • ANTlabs Authentication Methods

    ANTlabs recently added Office 365 and LinkedIn to its ever-growing list of Social WiFi authentication methods. Aside from allowing your guests to connect via social media quickly, here is the comprehensive list of ways you and your guests can connect to WiFi when using ANTlabs gateways:

     

    Social media – Encourage your guests to log in via Facebook, Google, Twitter, Instagram, Line, WeChat, and LinkedIn–and let them post good things about your venue

    Complimentary access – invite more guests to your venue with free WiFi

    User ID and password authentication (local accounts) – provide your guests, members, VIPs, and staff their WiFi user name and password

    Access code authentication (local accounts) – generate and give out WiFi access codes to your guests

    MAC-level authentication for non-HTTP devices – choose which devices can connect to your network

    PMS authentication and Billing – conveniently connect your esteemed guests through your hotel’s property management system

    Email / SMS authentication – let your guests connect to your network through email or SMS

    Office 365 login – your guests and office staff can use their Office 365 account to login to your WiFi network

    Auto-login – no login page for areas where you want guests to connect to your network sans access codes seamlessly

    Account Printer – one-tap access code generation on a hand-held device (i.e. ANTlabs Account Printer AP 3100)

     

    ANTlabs gateways also support credit card authentication and billing through Worldpay, Authorize.net, Payflow Pro, Payflow Link.

     

    Recently in December, WeChat rejoined ANTlabs’ roster of social WiFi login methods after its brief hiatus.

    How to let your hotel guests cast Netflix to TV securely

    Casting Netflix on Hotel TV with ANTlabs PAN Module

    Did you know that your neighbors may also know that you are watching Netflix when you cast Netflix on your hotel TV? Even high-end hotel guests are not spared the surprise nor embarrassment and have experienced getting a mobile notification that somebody nearby is streaming Netflix on their hotel TV. This situation usually happens when the network does not have any private network setup.

    Upon reaching your hotel room, one of the first things you will most likely do is get your devices connected to WiFi—whether for work or to relax after a long day by catching up on your favorite shows on Netflix, YouTube, Hulu, or Disney+. Unlike in the home network–where we only see the devices we own–guest networks would most likely also show other people’s devices connected to that AP when you scan for your devices to cast on your hotel TV. If you can see your neighbor cast Netflix from their phone to TV, imagine what else we could be unknowingly broadcasting when connected to guest networks.

    As a service provider, be it for hotels or MDUs, how can you assure the users in your network that their devices are only “speaking” with one another? And that intruders cannot easily find their devices? As more users are practically doing everything online these days, customers are also getting more aware of privacy matters and the need to protect themselves from intrusion.

    How to cast anything securely on the hotel TV

    cast netflix from phone to tv
    Cast Netflix easily to your hotel TV with ANTlabs PAN Module

    One way to accomplish this is to provide each user with their private network. Providing private networks for each of your guests will ensure that only the user’s devices can “see” each other online, whether they are ‘working from hotel’—the other WFH—or just unwinding and casting Netflix on their hotel room Smart TV. Guests can also connect their gaming consoles to it, just like how they set it up at home, thus, improving the guest experience. The traditional way of achieving this is not straightforward and very time-consuming. As a service provider, the easier way to do this is through ANTlabs’ PAN (Private Area Network) module.

    Excellent user experience with PAN module

    User experience is more than just a buzzword now, especially when transacting business online. It usually starts with how fast and easy you can connect to the Internet, how stable it is, and how secure it is wherever you are, especially guest WiFi networks. Improving network security protects your staff and guests from privacy intrusion and simplifies operations support.

    With PAN module, you can tell your guests that they have a private network within their hotel room and can expect to quickly hook up their gaming consoles or enjoy casting their favorite Netflix shows on their TV—without letting the whole building know about it. They can trust that they will have a pleasant and enjoyable stay and secure business transactions online.

    Increase WiFi revenue and staff productivity while ensuring privacy

    ANTlabs gateways also have other modules that complement the PAN module. Take, for example, the Advanced QoS module. You enjoy the best of both worlds with both PAN and Advanced QoS through operational efficiency, high-quality internet connectivity and privacy. These benefits are not only for the guests but also for the hotel staff. For one, it is easy for your team to set up private networks for your guests with the PAN module, and it is just as easy to allocate differentiated bandwidth tiers for your guests.  

    For example, your hotel can allocate VIPs and premium-paying guests with their 1GBps private network while non-guests who are enjoying free WiFi at the hotel lobby café share 200MBps among themselves. This means that no matter how hectic it gets during the day within your staff’s own 1GBps network, your VIPs and premium-paying guests will still be happily casting and streaming Netflix or making Zoom calls in their rooms. On top of this, other users will not see your devices that are within your private network. 

    Peace of mind while casting Netflix on hotel TV with ANTlabs Private Area Network Module

    The PAN module is also suitable for co-working spaces and MDUs (e.g., condominiums, dormitories, serviced apartments). While the current global situation does not encourage a lot of human traffic in these areas, it somehow shows the opposite on online traffic. Everyone is online to do practically everything; thus, more and more devices connect to the Internet daily. With the PAN module, service providers can provide a seamless and private user experience to their users no matter how busy the network gets with WFH (both ‘work from home’ and ‘work from hotel’) online activities during the day, and casting Netflix or YouTube at night. 

    Learn more about how the PAN module can improve your guest network.

    Photos by John-Mark Smith, Nicolas , and cottonbro  from Pexels

  • IG 4 S-Series Update #4 – WeChat login, MAC filter enhancements, firewall module enhancement

    This update adds the following enhancements: Re-enabled support (Policies > Location) for downstream WeChat login, which was temporarily disabled due to WeChat WiFi login deprecation in August 2019 MAC filter enhancement: Added option of Dynamic VLAN to be used in response to Personal Area Network (PAN) authentication Import/export in CSV format Enhanced import/export of accounts […]