This section describes the core component of the hotspot and includes sub-pages that explain how to manage accounts, tickets and ticket rates, to create reports, and to configure the general settings. Although this graphic interface shares the design with the other modules, it contains an entirely new menu structure: Its complexity and the countless configuration options it offers require that a different layout be employed. The choice was to consider the hotspot as an independant module of the Endian UTM Appliance and therefore to replace the standard menubar, common to all other main sections of the Endian UTM Appliance, with a new one that consist of two parts, as shown in the figure above. The upper part does not change across the various parts of the Administration Interface and contains the ‘proper’ menu, while the lower part is a sub menu, which changes depending on which section of the Administration Interface is chosen.
New in version 2.5-2013-May: SmartLogin functionality and cyclic tickets.
Each of the four main sections allows the management of one hotspot’s component:
Accounts - Create, manage, import, and export user accounts.
Tickets - Define ticket rates and generate tickets.
Reports - Consult the various balance, connection, and transaction logs.
Settings - Change the appearance of the web interface, set up SmartConnect™, enable the API, and configure all the functionalities.
On the far right, the Main Menu link will always be there to go back to the initial Dashboard and menubar.
This section of the Hotspot’s Administration Interface contains four sub-menu items, List, Import from CSV, Export as CSV, and Account Generator, that allow to create, delete, and manage the clients of the hotspot.
This page shows by default a list of the available user accounts with some information, namely Username/MAC Address, Name (The user’s full name, Enabled (the status of the account), Creation Date, and Valid until. A few options help customise the view:
Users mentioned in this section are intended as user of the hotspot as clients who can access and browse the Internet. There are, however, two other types of users, namely Administrators and Account Editors, whose abilities and duties are described in section Hotspot User.
Several Actions are available on each account and are shown along each account on the right-hand side of the table:
Print an informative message with the credentials for that account.
Messages for MAC-based accounts can not be print as they do not foresee username and password defined.
The actions of showing the balance and connection, along with options for their management, are described under the Reports section, while the accounts’ administration (i.e., user and ticket management) composes the remainder of this section.
A new account can be created in two alternative manners: Either by specifying a username and a password, or by providing a MAC address. Both actions can be carried out by clicking on the appropriate link above the accounts’ table. The data associated with each account is divided in three types: Login information, Account information, and Tickets. Login information slightly differ in the two types of account, depending on the type of account, while account information are exactly the same. Finally, tickets can be associated to an account, depending on the types of tickets already defined and available in the hotspot. See the Tickets section for a description of tickets types and settings.
To each account, the following data can be associated:
This box contains the information related to the newly created account and necessary to access and use the hotspot.
This option appears only if SmartLogin has been enabled. It is the time in days that the cookie used by smartlogin will reside on the client.
New in version 2.5-2013-May: SmartLogin
Bear in mind that changing some of the account’s existing login information like the username, will cause a new account to be created.
This box contains all the personal information related to the owner of the account.
This box allows to see and manage the tickets associated with the current account and shows the following options:
The drop-down menu shows the available ticket rates and if they are time- of traffic based. It is not possible to mix time- and traffic based tickets, hence if a user has already one or more time based ticket, no traffic based ticket can be added, and vice-versa.
New in version 2.5-2013-May: A cyclic ticket can be chosen from this drop-down menu and assigend to the user and the next option in displayed. The Ticket box is also slightly modified, see below for more info.
When editing an existing account it is also possible to print a welcome message containing also the credentials by clicking on the Print button: This is the same action that can be carried out from the list of the accounts.
At the bottom of the box, a small table shows all the tickets associated with the account with a couple of information for each of them. If a ticket is still valid, it can be deleted, but if it has expired, it remains there as it is already stored in the accounting for the account (see Reports for more info about balance and accounting).
If the Endian UTM Appliance has already support for cyclic tickets (introduced with release 2.5-20130516, after choosing a cyclic ticket from the drop-down menu, a small form is displayed instead of the Validity drop-down menu, with the following options.
Below these otpions, a variable message shows the total number of cycles of the tickets, the price per cycle, and calculates the total price of the ticket. Like in the case of the normal tickets, a table maintains the list of the cyclic tickets associated with the account. For the sake of clarity, this table is kept separated from the other one.
When importing the account names from a CSV file, the filename is not important (exported files have peculiar names, see next section), but it needs a fixed format of the fields. The follow options are available:
The character that shall be used as delimiter, which is usually a comma ‘,’ or a semicolon ‘;’. If not provided, the Endian UTM Appliance will try to guess which is the correct character.
The Endian UTM Appliance uses commas to separate the fields.
Files that the Endian UTM Appliance fails to recognise as CSV files will be rejected with the message The given file does not seem to be in CSV format.
After the account have been imported, the page will be replaced by a new one, containing some columns (depending on how many accounts have been found in the file). The first column contains all the available fields, while the second all the fields that have been recognised in the CSV file.
If in the first column all the labels have a red background, and those in the second column all have a green background, the data have been correctly imported.
The remaining columns show the content of the file and how will the data in the file be interpreted. All fields that have not been recognized are depicted in yellow: They can be associated with the available fields by dragging the red labels from the left-most column onto the yellow fields in the second columns.
The data in these columns can not be modified, so if there’s something wrong with them, go back to the previous page to break the import process and modify the CSV file before trying again to import it.
Below the table appears the following options:
A click on this button starts the storage of the accounts in the Endian UTM Appliance and concludes the import process.
If the checkbox above is ticked, click again on this button after the summary has been show to complete the import process.
Recall that modifying one of the user’s login information causes a new account to be created. This is true also when importing accounts that only slightly differ in some login information from existing ones. Make sure to examine them prior importing them, in order to avoid potential issues later.
A list of existing accounts can be exported and saved in CSV format. When exporting the list, the fields that will appear in the exported file are fixed, so it is only possible to decide whether to open (view) the file or under which directory to save it. For convenience, the filename will be saved as accounts_YYYYMMDD_HHMM, where YYYYMMDD represents the year, month, and day, and HHMM represents the hour and minutes when the list has been exported. This choice allows the exported files to be listed in lexicographic order in the directory in which they are saved. The filenames can however be modified at will. The exported files can be used as backups and imported later.
Remember that the exported list contains also the passwords of the users in plain text, so remember to keep the list in a safe place.
The use of the account generator can prove particularly useful when there is a necessity to create a bulk of new accounts with a default ticket already assigned and can therefore be handed in to e.g., a group of users. As an example, consider the registration phase at the beginning of events like conferences or conventions, during which large groups of people need to access the hotspot and receive their credentials in a small interval of time. The account generator allows to create at once a specific number of accounts by providing only some common options, grouped in three parts: Username, Password, and Settings, described below. This page is divided in four boxes: the first three compose the Account Generator, while the fourth one is the list of generated bulks of accounts, shown on the bottom of the page after at least some bulk has already been created.
There are 2 different types of username generators: Sequential and Random, both of which share two common option:
The length shall be longer that the prefix’s length, otherwise an error message will be shown.
The complete usernames will be filled up differently for the two generators, and for both generators there will be displayed a peculiar option. In the case of the sequential generator, increasing numbers are used, defined by the option:
The digit or number from which the sequence starts.
If more characters are needed, besides the prefix length
and the sequence, to reach the required length,
will be added. (see Example HS2).
In the case of the random generator, characters are used, defined by the different Character sets selected:
* Uppercase Letters (A-Z) * Lowercase Letters (a-z) * Numbers (0-9) * Extra characters (._-+)
The length of the password and which character sets should be used to generate the random passwords can be defined here. The strength of the password depends on its length and on how many character sets are used among the available four: Uppercase and lowercase letters, numbers, and extra characters. As a rule of thumb, chosing a 8 character long password and all charachter sets will generate 48-bit passwords, which should suffice for most uses.
Additional option about the generated accounts: The number of accounts to generate, whether they should immediately be enabled, if they have a default ticket associated, and finally how many days will the account last.
To generate users with the specified settings, click on the Generate accounts button: A sample of the first 5 username - password combinations will appear. The whole bulk will be generated only after clicking on Confirm, otherwise a click on Cancel will delete even the 5 samples shown.
After the first creation of a bulk of accounts, the page will reload with a confirmation message and, beneath the account generator, a new table will show up, that contains information about the accounts created. In particular, the following columns are shown in the table:
There are three available actions on each bulk:
Load settings, to load the setting used to create those accounts and reuse them to generate a new bulk.
Delete users, to remove all the users created in that generation. This action will only delete users who have not yet connected or who do not have credit left: In other words, users which have already connected to the hotspot or have credit left will not be deleted.
Export as CSV to export the username / password combination in CSV format. This proves useful to print the data on prepaid cards.