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Captive Portal

Definition - What does Captive Portal mean?

A captive portal is a webpage that a user must view and interact with before being given access needs to a public network.

It is mainly used for authentication purposes and is usually in place for free Wifi hot spots, business centers, airports, lounges and lobbies. A captive portal also can restrict users on a public network on the basis of usage and services they can render.

Techopedia explains Captive Portal

Features of Captive Portal:

  • Most captive portal keeps an idle and hard time out, i.e. a minimum time that a user has by which to interact or use services, in order to maintain basic level of security.
  • Only selected MAC or IP addresses are allowed to access the network.
  • Can place bandwidth restrictions on users.
  • Different user authentication choices are provided along with https authentication.
  • Capable of providing customizable content on the portal page.
  • Allows for local user management options
  • Requires customers to read and accept the acceptable usage policy.
  • All Internet traffic is blocked until the user finishes the authentication process. In cases of a logout or other technical issues, a redirection url is provided.
  • Can indirectly help in winning more customers for business, especially when free Wifi is provided.
  • Browsing patterns also can be indirectly be captured using the same.
  • Can help in generating revenue. The customizable page can be shown with deals and advertisements. Another way is to make customer pay for usage of the Internet plan.
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