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How Do I Use Vouchers in Datto Networking?

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Question

How do I use vouchers in Datto Networking?

Environment

  • Datto Networking

Answer

Vouchers allow administrators to control network access on a per-user basis by creating unique codes for each user.  This guide will help you set up your Datto network to generate and accept vouchers. 

Vouchers can be set to specific time increments or bandwidth tiers. They are ideal for hotels, coffee shops, apartments, or other places where it is necessary to limit users' access and authorized usage time.

Key features

  • You keep control of the look and feel of your splash page.
  • You create business card-sized vouchers that can be customized with your text and logo.
  • You can offer multiple bandwidth tiers, or offer a free lower-speed service tier and one or more paid tiers at higher speeds.
  • You can combine vouchers with an open network by keeping the standard Continue button and the new voucher button access. This enables a free service level with low bandwidth (the bandwidth options you specify on the SSID#1 tab) plus additional higher speed options for which you can charge users.
  • You can set the number of users per voucher to support multiple devices—laptops, smart phones, etc.—under one voucher. In a hotel room or apartment, for example, you may want to allow five or so users per voucher.
  • With automatic MAC Authentication, you can allow users to roam between nodes without seeing the splash page again.

Procedure

This guide is intended to be used with existing networks. If you haven’t set up your network yet, see Getting Started with Datto Networking.

Datto Networking integrates with PayPal to provide users with automatic online payment options for network access.

Prerequisites

To set up vouchers or PayPal on your network, you’ll need the following:

  1. A Datto network running on Firmware 481 or later. 
  2. A computer with a browser pointed to network.datto.com or logged in to the Partner Portal.
To check your firmware version, access Datto Networking through the Partner Portal. Click Manage > Access Points, then clicking View options and select Version. The firmware version appears in the Version column.

Edit a splash page

1. Log into the Partner Portal and choose Devices > Networking Status, then choose the network on which to implement vouchers. Select Configure from the left pane and choose the SSID you want to use as your guest network (typically SSID #1). Enable the Splash Page option under Captive Portal and then click Edit Splash Page to open the splash page editor.

enable_splash.jpgFigure 1: Edit the splash page

2. Select a splash page template with voucher support. This will include the input field needed to request the voucher from the user. Currently, all splash page templates have a voucher option.

3. Choose whether to require vouchers for all users, or to provide a base level of service without vouchers. This is commonly done to provide a low amount of bandwidth for checking email and light web browsing without a voucher, and offer higher amounts of bandwidth with a voucher.

  • To provide base bandwidth voucher-free:
    Keep the standard Free Access section and the Continue button in addition to the Passcode Access and Purchase fields.
  • To require vouchers for all access: 
    Delete the Continue button, leaving only the Passcode and Purchase fields.

Edit the splash page as you’d like (being careful to leave the voucher input fields and buttons) and save the splash page.

Adjust voucher settings

adjust_voucher_settings.jpgFigure 2: Adjust voucher settings

Datto Networking allows you to change a number of settings to customize access:

  • Bandwidth Throttling: enable this to throttle users with non-voucher access. Voucher-specific throttles will override this setting. 
  • Client Force Timeout: minutes between showing the splash page, regardless of activity, for non-voucher access. 1 day=1440 minutes.
  • Require Vouchers: this option requires a valid voucher on splash pages. If unchecked, it allows provision of a basic service tier at the rates and durations below. It also allows an optional faster service using vouchers or PayPal.
  • Block Unauthenticated Users: this option blocks all ports until the splash page has been successfully clicked through. If unchecked, only browsing is blocked. Checking initially disables services such as email, instant messengers, VoIP, etc., but will require first opening a browser to use any Internet services.
At any time, a user authenticated using the Free Access option can enter http://logout in the browser to return to the splash page and log in with a voucher code, or purchase a voucher via PayPal. A user already authenticated with a voucher code must wait for that voucher to expire before they will see the splash page again.

Create vouchers

1. Select Manage > Vouchers from the left pane in the dashboard. This opens a table showing your existing vouchers, which you can edit, renew, delete, export and reprint as needed. If you haven’t created any vouchers yet, this table should be empty.

2. There are three options in the top right corner above the table: Create New, Edit Voucher Settings, and Actions to take on existing vouchers.

create_vouchers.jpgFigure 3: Create new voucher

3. Click the Create New button. This opens a page asking you to enter several options, including:

Figure 4: Set voucher parameters

Quantity: Number of vouchers to create/print. 

Paper Size: Select the paper print size.

Comment: Relevant note that will appear on the Vouchers page, such as room number, last name, etc. Comments will not appear on the voucher(s) when printed out.

Duration (hours): The number of hours each voucher will be valid (starting from first use).

Max Devices: The maximum number of devices (computers, smart phones, gaming consoles, etc.) that can use a voucher. Allowed values are 0-9. Use 0 for unlimited devices.

Note that if you are using 0 for unlimited devices, individual devices connecting using this code will not report and the voucher will show as Unused.

Download limit: Download limit in Mbits/sec, per user, for this voucher batch. Use the slider or enter a value such as .375 for 375kbps.

Upload limit: Upload limit in Mbits/sec, per user, for this voucher batch. Use the slider or enter a value such as .125 for 125kbps.

Purge after: How long before unused vouchers are deleted.

When finished choosing voucher settings,  click Create Vouchers.

Click Print vouchers button to print them, or select the Edit Voucher Settings icon to customize the look of the vouchers before printing. 

printed.jpgFigure 5: Print vounchers

Duration Text: Text to indicate how many hours the voucher is valid.

Access Text: Text on each voucher before the voucher code.

Show Border: Check to draw a border around each voucher. Useful if you are not printing on business card stock.

Show Image: Include logo on each voucher.

Voucher image: Upload the image you would like to show. 

Save Defaults: Select to save these settings as your defaults for this network. These settings will be used by the Lobby Assistant login.

Management > Share Vouchers: When enabled, vouchers created on this network will be usable on all other networks under this account.

When your settings are correct, click Save Changes.

Note that vouchers can be created for a duration of up to 1 year, however they must be used at least once within 90 days of creation or they will be automatically deleted.
You can replace the Datto logo in the top left corner of the screen with your own. You can also use your custom logo on vouchers. Logo files should be 175 px wide by 75 px tall for the best results.

Edit/View Vouchers page

Select Manage > Vouchers from the left pane to go back to the Vouchers page. There, you’ll see a list of all existing vouchers. You can edit, renew, reprint, expor in .CSV or XML format, or delete, either by selecting the gear icon next to individual vouchers, or by selecting multiple vouchers and using the gear icon in the top right corner of the table. 

actions_menu.jpgFigure 6: Administrate vouchers from the gear icon

When you generate a voucher, it is added to your network on Datto Networking. Vouchers are good for the specified time period beginning with their first use. So a one-day voucher is good for 24 hours from first use, not 24 total hours online activity. Expired vouchers will be auto-removed every night.

Datto imposes a cap of 1,000 unused and active vouchers. Be sure to use all the vouchers you create within 90 days to avoid the cap.

Test the voucher

When you connect to the SSID on which you enabled vouchers, you should see your new splash page. To test the system, enter one of the voucher codes you created and connect.


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