A splash page (also known as a 'captive portal') can provide a customized branding experience to wireless users in addition to prompting for username/password credentials. For example, the splash page can display a corporate logo and color scheme. The splash page can also show the terms of service, which might include an acceptable use agreement or a privacy statement.
Administrators can set up a separate splash page for each SSID. Splash pages can be hosted by Meraki or by an external host.
A client device is prompted with a splash page after the client is associated to the wireless network. More information on the different association options is found on the Wireless Encryption and Authentication Overview document.
None (direct access)
With direct access, a wireless client is granted network access as soon as he associates to the SSID. No splash page is presented to the wireless client.
Click-Through Splash Page
When configured, a click-through splash page displays a fully customizable HTML page to the wireless client the first time the client opens a web browser and makes an HTTP request. An administrator can use this splash page to display an acceptable use policy or network announcements. The client is only granted network access after clicking the “Continue” button on the splash page.
The click-through splash page is hosted by the Meraki cloud. As such, the network must have connectivity to the Meraki cloud in order to display the splash page. If the Meraki cloud is unreachable for some reason, the administrator can configure whether new wireless users should be admitted to the wireless network without seeing the splash page. This setting is under the Configure tab on the Access Control page in the “Disconnection behavior” section.
While the click-through splash page requires no client-side configuration, it should only be enabled on an SSID whose clients are all capable of displaying the splash page. When there are clients that are not browser-capable (e.g., gaming consoles, wireless barcode scanners), the splash page should be disabled on the SSID. An administrator can configure whether new wireless clients are able to obtain network access when the click-through splash page cannot be displayed (e.g., if the Internet link goes down and the connection to the Meraki cloud becomes temporarily unavailable).
Sign-On Splash Page
A sign-on splash page provides the functionality of the click-through splash page, but adds the ability to prompt the wireless client for a username and password. The client is only granted network access after he enters a username and password that are validated against a backend authentication server (either a Meraki-hosted authentication server or a customer-hosted RADIUS, Active Directory or LDAP server).
The sign-on splash page may be hosted by the Meraki cloud or on an external web server. An administrator can configure whether new wireless clients are able to obtain network access when the sign-on splash page cannot be displayed or when the username/password credentials cannot be validated (i.e., the authentication server is unreachable). This setting is under the Configure tab on the Access Control page in the “Disconnection behavior” section.
The sign-on splash page can be configured to allow or disallow multiple simultaneous logins for a single set of user credentials.
Sign-on splash page is an authentication option that requires no client-side configuration. In addition, it is secured by SSL (HTTPS), so that usernames and passwords are sent to the Meraki cloud confidentially. However, when enabled, it requires clients to remember usernames and passwords, which they will need to enter periodically. As with the click-through splash page, clients that are incapable of displaying the splash page need to be considered.
Hosting Your Own Splash Pages
Meraki also supports the ability for you to host splash pages on your own web server. This capability is referred to as “EXCAP” (short for external captive portal) for externally hosted captive portals. Using EXCAP, it is possible to deliver a highly customized user sign-on experience, such as video advertising and credit card billing. For additional information, please see Meraki's Captive Portal Solution Guide.
Billing Splash Page
When configuring an SSID as a wireless hotspot, an administrator can utilize Meraki’s integrated billing features to grant network access only to paying users. Billing is enabled as a network sign-on method. It is configured under the Configure tab on the Access Control page.
Meraki offers credit card billing through splash page partners including Splash Access, Cloud4Wi, Purple WiFi, and SOCIFI. Each of these vendors works with Meraki customers to provide additional features. The partner processes end user credit card transactions, so that IT administrators do not have to configure or maintain a credit card payment gateway. For more details on configuring a credti card billing SSID, please refer to the article Splash pages for Credit Card Billing.
Prepaid cards are access codes that can be used instead of, or in addition to, credit cards to pay for network access on billing SSIDs. Prepaid card pin codes with pre-defined values can be generated in batches by network admins. When creating a batch of cards, the network admin can define face value, quantity, and and optional expiration date. The prepaid pin codes can be downloaded in CSV format and then printed onto cards or labels using programs such as Microsoft Word mail merge.
The administrator can configure the currency for a billed network. Note, however, that once a transaction has occurred on the network, it is not possible to change the currency of the billed network. An administrator can create up to five billing plans (tiers of service). The administrator can specify the fees charged over a particular amount of time with a specific performance limit. For example:
- $5 per month for .5 Mbps of bandwidth
- $10 per month for 1 Mbps of bandwidth
In addition, the administrator can check the “Free access” option, which provides free access for a limited amount of time (and possibly subject to a bandwidth limit). This limited free access can serve as a trial period for wireless users before they purchase a paid plan.
Customization of Billing Splash Pages
Note that it is not possible to customize the splash page when billing is enabled unless the 'Use fast prepaid login page' is selected under the 'Prepaid access' section on the Access control page. If this option is selected, the splash page can be customized but only for use with prepaid cards (and not credit card billing).
Account Activity Page
The Account Activity page provides transaction information for networks that use Meraki’s integrated billing. Payments received from an end user appear as a credit, while payments made from Meraki to the network administrator appear as a debit. Transactions also show the timestamp, the user’s login name, the MAC address of the device from which the user made a payment, and the price plan the user purchased. Administrators may view the transaction history for any given month.
SMS Splash Page
Using the Meraki cloud, it is possible to allow new users to sign on via SMS authentication codes. By utilizing this approach, an administrator can tie each new user to a unique phone number that is displayed on the Clients page in dashboard under the 'Recent User' column. This data can be used to run SMS campaigns and for validation purposes to ensure that a user has provided personal information that can be used to track them, should they abuse the network.
SMS authentication can be set up under the Access Control page by selecting 'Sign-on with SMS Authentication' in the splash page settings.
The splash page that is displayed upon network sign-on can be customized on the Splash page settings; an admin can select a custom logo and write a message that will be displayed. It is also possible for deeper customization of the splash page by creating and editing a new theme, and making changes to the file 'sms.html'.
Free Trial Period & Billing
Every Meraki network comes bundled with 25 free SMS text messages. Beyond this limit, the user will be charged on a per-SMS basis and will need to configure billing. Configuring billing is a simple 2 step process:
1) Create Twilio SMS account at www.twilio.com
2) Enter in credit card information to create an account with full privileges, and purchase a phone number with Programmable SMS capabilities.
3) Make a note of the Account SID and the Auth Token values on the main twilio.com/user/account page.
4) Enter your Twilio Account SID and Auth Token values into the Meraki Dashboard on the Network-wide > General Settings settings page.
Splash Sign-on Flow
The network sign-on method for a new user will be as follows:
1) User accesses SSID with SMS splash authentication enabled.
2) Splash page requesting phone number is displayed.
3) User enters their phone number, an authorization code is sent via the user's carrier to their phone.
4) User enters the unique authorization code into the splash page and presses the 'enter' button, is granted access.
5) The user's phone number is stored in dashboard, and can be seen by adding the 'Recent User' column on the Monitor > Clients page.