In the UK, BT’s OpenZone in a Box (OZIAB) is an easy-to-use broadband Internet access service that any proprietor of a retail establishment can setup using BT OZIAB hardware purchased from local distribution channels and service configuration, provisioning, and operations support from British Telecom.
Establishments can sign up for the BT OZIAB program online at the BT website. Once the Wi-Fi service is enabled as part of the OZIAB provisioning process, laptop users can access the Internet. These hotspots are in a number of places such as cafés, hotels, motorway service stations and airports. One can get online at BT OpenZone hotspots throughout the UK and Ireland, and at selected locations abroad.
BT’s business objective was to achieve high and rapid Return on Investment (ROI) on the OZIAB deployments, for which it required a system focused on the monitoring and management of Wi-Fi networks. The solution deployed by Pronto Networks enables BT to provide various benefits in the BT OpenZone solution like reducing deployment costs with Automatic channel selection during initialization, and encrypted shared secret between the OZIAB device and the Cisco Service Selection Gateway (SSG), and secure network monitoring for maximum uptime with proactive ipsec tunnel outage and recovery.
Pronto’s UniFi Managed Services is a hosted service, enabling operators to rapidly deploy large-scale networks by initially outsourcing back-office functions to Pronto’s experienced operations team. The service is based on Pronto’s leading UniFi OSS Platform, providing critical back-office and service control functions such as user registration, secure authentication, subscriber management, flexible billing, customer portal customization and remote network management. Pronto’s UniFi Managed Services allows operators to focus on building their networks upfront and eventually transfer the operations in-house once sustained growth has been achieved.
Earlier, in order for the managed hotspots to operate correctly, the OZIAB location owner’s ADSL Modem Router or Cable Router was required to have a feature called VPN pass-through for ipsec tunnels from the Hotspot device to the central Cisco SSG. In case it was not supported, it was required to put the hotspots into an open access type network, in a DMZ (de-militarized zone) portion of the LAN.
The Pronto Service Controller (PSC) is now being used to replace the standard APs deployed by these managed hotspot operators in various locations. The PSC acts as a managed AP in these locations. The client Wi-Fi Laptop connects to the PSC, which carries these connection details to the Cisco SSG on a secure ipsec tunnel. The Cisco SSG passes these credentials to the Pronto UniFi OSS via the Internet for the user authentication. Once the user is authenticated, he can start browsing the Internet.
About Pronto Networks
Pronto Networks, based in Pleasanton, California, provides a carrier-class operation support system (OSS) that enables service providers to rapidly and cost-effectively provision, deploy and manage large-scale, broadband wireless networks. Pronto Networks is funded by BV Capital, Draper Fisher Jurvetson and the Intel Communications Fund. Pronto Networks was recently named to the AlwaysOn List of Top 100 Private Companies for the third consecutive year. In 2003, the company received Wired Magazine’s Top 25 Wi-Fi Companies to Watch and Computerworld’s Innovative Technology Awards. For more information about Pronto Networks, visit www.prontonetworks.com
About BT OpenZone
BT, one of the world’s leading communications service providers, offers networked IT services, local, national and international telecommunications services, and higher-value broadband and Internet products and services to customers across the world.