This article describes the difference between a Guest Network, the Guest Portal and the Hotspot system and some basic settings and uses of each.
Table of Contents
- UniFi Guest Networks vs. Guest Portal vs. Hotspot System
- Guest Portal Details
- Guest Portal Customization
- UniFi Hotspot System
- Related Articles
UniFi Guest Networks vs. Guest Portal vs. Hotspot System
Guest Users (i.e., Clients on Guest networks) will face different access restrictions from those faced by the trusted, "Corporate" Users on default UniFi networks. Guest Networks can therefore exist independently of the Guest Portal and/or Hotspot System, which are built-in tools for Guest Authentication, Authorization & Accounting. In other words—the Guest Portal is often/optionally applied to the Guest Network (for authentication), while the Guest Network is always enabled for users authenticating via the Guest Portal.
The Guest Portal is enabled under the Controller's Settings > Guest Control, and the Guest Portal adds an additional step for authentication of Guest Users attempting to access the Network, including a series of different Policies for Guest Network Authentication.
Guest Portal Details
After establishing physical connectivity to the UniFi Switch—if wired, or a UniFi Access Point—if wireless, the Guest Device then proceeds to retrieve an IP Address via DHCP to begin communicating on the network. Until the guest device is authenticated by the controller to access the network, UniFi devices will, by default, redirect all guest traffic to the UniFi Controller. At which point, the UniFi Controller serves the Guest Portal to the guest device, by means of a splash page, or landing page, with the following options for authentication:
- With Open Authentication selected, the guest need only accept a Terms & Conditions page to begin using the network.
- With Simple Password selected, the Controller requires that the guest provide a password in order to begin using the network. This is a Layer-7 equivalent of requiring a passkey to associate with a WLAN, and inherently more useful since the UniFi Controller tracks guest authentication, under the Insights tab, as well as the Hotspot System.
- With Hotspot selected, UniFi supports Voucher & Payment-based authentication methods. While voucher creation is managed by the Hotspot System, UniFi also supports APIs to integrate the most popular Payment Merchants for each region.
- Finally, the External Portal option allows Admins to integrate their own Guest Portal into the UniFi system.
After successfully authenticating via the designated Authentication method, the guest is free to send traffic to the Internet during a user-defined period of time. Once the period of guest use expires, all guest traffic is once again re-directed to the UniFi Controller, pending re-authentication via the desired authentication method.
|Overview of how guest users can authenticate via the UniFi Guest Portal server (optionally enabled in the UniFi Controller).|
Guest Portal Customization
UniFi offers two ways for full customization of the Guest Portal, whether via JavaServer Pages developed by a more proficient user, or the AngularJS engine, which anyone can use. The AngularJS engine is a powerful, built-in tool that makes customization easy, and straightforward through instant, graphic previews.
|UniFi's built-in AngularJS engine makes Guest Portal customization fast & easy.|
UniFi Hotspot System
Intended as a separate Guest management platform, the UniFi Hotspot System comes freely integrated in the UniFi Controller software. UniFi Controller Admins and Hotspot Operators can access the Hotspot System via a link under Guest Control, which performs a URL redirect to another area of the UniFi Controller called /hotspot.
Built separately from the UniFi Controller management system (i.e., Device configuration/adoption sections), trusted employees (e.g., hotel receptionists) can be granted limited-access Hotspot accounts to perform actions on Guest users, including:
- Print vouchers
- Manage guest authorization
- Review payments
- Check guest authentication, and more.
|Preview of UniFi Hotspot System where Operators can quickly create, customize & revoke vouchers for Internet access.|