Definition - What does Visitor-Based Networking (VBN) 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.
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.
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.