Visitor-Based Networking

What Does Visitor-Based Networking Mean?

Visitor-based networking (VBN) facilitates temporary mobile device user access to high-speed Internet or an Internet-based Ethernet local area network (LAN). VBNs are commonly used in universities, offices, conference rooms, convention centers, airports and hotels.

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Generally, visitor-based networks consist of software, such as a browser; hardware, such as hubs, switches, routers, and servers; Internet access; and service, such as telephone support. VBNs require minimal mobile device user configuration and provide services like billing, application integration and credit card interfacing.

Techopedia Explains Visitor-Based Networking

In its simplest form, a VBN requires two network connections – one for the subscriber network and one for the Internet.

A VBN gateway transforms an Internet-based Ethernet LAN into a VBN. VBN gateways also use Plug and Play (PnP) connections for management control between Internet routers and users.

The three modes of VBN operations are as follows:

Transparent VBN: The easiest and least expensive mode. Provides fast Internet access with few security provisions. Common examples are free Wi-Fi networks and hot spots.
Billing VBN: More complex. Users must pay for network service. Commonly used with credit card merchant accounts in Wi-Fi hot spots and hotels.
Authentication VBN: The most secure version. Requires authenticated user registration and special authentication servers, such as Remote Authentication Dial-in User Service (RADIUS) or Lightweight Directory Access Protocol (LDAP). May require user security codes. Commonly used in business environments.
A VBN uses a captive portal for billing and authentication, ensuring secure network accessibility by authorized users only. All VBNs use Dynamic Host Configuration Protocol (DHCP) and proxy Address Resolution Protocol (ARP) for Internet Protocol (IP) address authentication, which eliminates manual IP address configuration requirements.

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Margaret Rouse
Technology Expert

Margaret is an award-winning technical writer and teacher known for her ability to explain complex technical subjects to a non-technical business audience. Over the past twenty years, her IT definitions have been published by Que in an encyclopedia of technology terms and cited in articles by the New York Times, Time Magazine, USA Today, ZDNet, PC Magazine, and Discovery Magazine. She joined Techopedia in 2011. Margaret's idea of a fun day is helping IT and business professionals learn to speak each other’s highly specialized languages.