Nothing stops you when you really want something

OVERVIEW

When the final form of XtraWiFi was conceived, there were many hurdles.

The existing technology is simply not enough for making a Public WiFi system run. The best one could achieve is printed tokens or online payment gateway or web login.

There was utter chaos during our team meetings. Meetings where we finalized to scrap RADIUS in favor of in-house authentication & billing system had seen papers furling in the air, amongst other things. It helped us bond.

Some of the major breakthroughs we achieved when we decided to bulldoze through problem:

  • Automatic router configuration
  • Scrapping RADIUS for NetControl
  • Building low-cost PoE switch
  • Multi output AC injector
  • Disabling P2P traffic on XtraWiFi Network
  • Custom build of Linux image from BSP
  • Automatic GPS location of hotspot
  • Image upload servers

Technical details of these innovations can be ignored as of now; let us explore the example of scrapping RADIUS.


What is RADIUS?

RADIUS stands for Remote Authentication Dial-In User Service.



In the age when there were dial-up modems and ISPs hosting multiple E1/T1 lines for dial-up service, an authentication mechanism was needed. RADIUS was designed to authenticate users.

It was designed in 1991.

Even in 2017, almost all ISPs still use RADIUS.

RADIUS authentication was not fitting into the scheme of XtraWiFi design goals. It is the reason why we could not have certain billing and authentication features like roaming.

RADIUS is assumed to be an all-encompassing solution by all ISPs. There are many billing solutions available in the market for RADIUS system.

But it was plainly insufficient.

If we are scrapping it, we cannot use any of the solutions that are based on RADIUS. We cannot use hardware that depends on RADIUS (like Mikrotik).

All public WiFi solutions now depend on RADIUS to make them work. While it is a robust system, it simply cannot fulfil the requirements of a public WiFi system.

By scrapping RADIUS we were forced to come up with custom hardware: this meant many more sleepless nights and huge budgetary requirements for manufacturing the same. We have overcome all these hurdles and launched our services successfully.

There is no force in the world that is strong enough to stop you if you chose to put your mind to it.

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