Skyrove Reaches Milestones in December 2008

Skyrove is happy to announce that we have reached 500 Wi-Fi Hotspots and 20 000 registered users in December. “Building relationships with organisations such as Spur, Digital Planet and RSAWEB – to name a few, has taken Skyrove from strength to strength making it Africa’s largest and fastest growing Wi-Fi sharing community. It is a very exciting time in our business as 2009 brings with it new and exciting opportunities,” says Tino Mueller, CEO of Skyrove.

Skyrove enables anyone to easily start a Wi-Fi Hotspot and share their broadband internet connection to earn an income, while at the same time providing ubiquitous, inexpensive, prepaid wireless internet access to end-users. Once you plug your Skyrove router into your network (ADSL, iBurst etc), a Skyrove user with a Wi-Fi device will see a new network called ‘Skyrove Internet’. They simply connect to this, buy credits online and start to surf the net.

Take advantage of online shopping, simply visit the Skyrove Shop

To find Skyrove Hotspots in South Africa and worldwide visit map.skyrove.com

For more information on Skyrove click here

RSAWEB’s Wi-Fi Hotspots are powered by Skyrove

RSAWEB, a leading provider of Internet Services to Corporates, SMMEs and home-user customers, has recently integrated their Wi-Fi hotspot offering with Skyrove. With branches in Cape Town and Johannesburg, RSAWEB offers customers free technical and marketing support (including a marketing pack to help you promote the Skyrove Wi-Fi service), plus first line customer support, without any subscription fees! Each Wi-Fi router retails for R795 and venue owners are paid 50% revenue share at the end of the month.

RSAWEB’s Wi-Fi Hotspot instantly turns your location into a Skyrove enabled Wi-Fi Internet Zone that can effortlessly generate passive income for yourself or your business. This means that RSAWEB’s hotspot users have access to over 500 Skyrove Wi-Fi hotspots in South Africa.

For more information on RSAWEB and its Wi-Fi offer please click here

To find Skyrove Hotspots close to you and worldwide visit: map.skyrove.com

ITWeb: Brainstorm Wireless warrior

Henk Kleynhans` dream is to blanket Africa with the cheapest, fastest and most stable internet access possible.



Within two years of founding Skyrove, wireless hotspots have mushroomed locally, and the company is entering Angola, Mozambique and Botswana. Let’s hope Henk Kleynhans’ ambition is realised.


Read more…


Spur Steak Ranches adds Skyrove to their winning recipe

Since its inception over 40 years ago, Spur Steak Ranches have become famous for offering great tasting food for the whole family. The Group has a local presence of over 237 restaurants and has expanded internationally with a combined total of 28 restaurants into the UK, Australia and Mauritius. They have pioneered a winning recipe: warm hospitality together with generous portions and today call themselves “the official restaurant for the South African family.” Spur now adds to this winning recipe by combining Skyrove‘s Wi-Fi solution into the mix thus offering another value added service to business people, travellers, or parents that want to surf the net while their kids are being entertained by one of Spur’s many child attractions. One can now go to any Spur Restaurant around the country, have a great tasting meal and access Skyrove’s prepaid wireless internet.

To find a Spur Restaurant close to you please visit the store locator

Online electronics hub, Digital Planet, retails Skyrove mesh routers

Digital Planet was established on 1st August 1999 and has transformed into one of SA’s flagship online stores, retailing various items such as notebooks, computer components, games etc. to consumers, corporates and IT professionals alike. In October 2008, Skyrove partnered with Digital Planet to retail the Wifi Hotspot routers online. The price of a Wi-Fi Hotspot router is R795 and Skyrove pays 50% revenue share to the Hotspot owner at the end of each month. Skyrove’s pocket size Hotspot device is very easy to install, creates 2 wireless networks (secure private and public Hotspot) and bills Hotspot users per MB (you set the price).

Join Africa’s largest and fastest growing Wi-Fi sharing community and get your own Wi-Fi Hotspot router from Digitial Planet today.

Take advantage of online shopping simply visit Digital Planet or Skyrove Shop

To find Skyrove Hotspots in South Africa and worldwide visit map.skyrove.com

Login Page Update

We’ve made some changes to the Login Page that we hope will improve a few things.

Skyrove Login Page September

The main changes are:

1. Text Fields – in the past the text fields were actually borderless fields on top of a grey image. However, the image didn’t always load in time, and thus the username and password fields became invisible!

2. Labels – The labels inside the text fields had different behaviour on different browsers. We wanted to get some more consistency overall.

3. Branding – We now have a wide section from left to right for hotspot owner branding. Currently we are using an image on the left, with the description on the right in much larger text than before, but we have more freedom to use the entire space in any way we choose.

4. Separation of “First Timer” and “Existing User” sections – We observed a lot of people getting pretty confused here. I wanted to clearly show that “on the hand hand you might be a first timer” and “on the other hand you might be an existing user”, so please enter your details here

Not everything is perfect though. There are some minor layout issues in browsers other than Firefox and the colours are not quite what we want. So expect some minor changes and fixes in the next iteration.

In the meantime, tell us what you think!

The Status Window is Back!

Back by popular demand, we have the Skyrove Status Window!

Skyrove Status Window

What do you think? Is there anything about it that we can make better?

New Portal and Welcome Page

By now you might have noticed that the Skyrove Portal Page (the very first page you see) and the Welcome Page (the one you see once you’re logged in) have changed quite dramatically! Many thanks goes to rockstar designer Adii!

Comparing the old with the new:

The Old Portal Page

Old Portal Page

The New Portal Page

New Portal Page

We discovered a few problems with the old page. Firstly, we had the contact details at the top. This was in the spirit of making it as easy as possible for people to find our phone number. See Seth Godin’s Knock Knock eBook on Web Design on why this is (usually) a good idea. However, this actually confused many people. They didn’t want to phone us, they simply wanted to get online! Many people thought that they had to SMS or phone us before they could start using Skyrove. So we’ve moved the contact details to the bottom and now make it clear that this is for when you need Help!

Another common problem was that First Timers often didn’t know where to start! Initially we had a small Sign Up link below the username and password fields. This also confused a lot of people. We then moved it up the page, which is essentially the first obvious position for a FIRST time user. But we needed to make it bigger and bolder!

Let’s have a look at the Welcome Page:

The Old Welcome Page

Old Welcome Page

The New Welcome Page

New Welcome Page

As you can see, the differences are even more glaring here. We’ve noticed that since our last change a lot of people didn’t open the Status Window anymore. There was no real need for it unless you needed detailed information, but that this was a bit of a nuisance factor. What we do now, instead, is to simply show the relevant info as a Status Section on the Welcome Page. If you’d rather have a separate window, you can simply click on Pop Out.

Importantly, if you now close this Pop Out, you will NOT be logged off! (What do you think about this change?)

We are committed to making some changes to the Welcome Page, based on the feedback we get from you! So please leave a comment. The first 20 users to leave a comment will receive a 100 Skyrove credits.

Hope to hear from you!

Skyrove Firmware Update

For several months Skyrove has been running a new firmware version at select hotspots. Here’s a quick overview of what it does:

1. Open Source OpenWRT based

Rather than claiming that our firmware is ‘proprietary’ or be presumptuous enough to call features such as an LED lighting up ‘cutting edge’, as some Skyrove copycats are wont to do, I’d like to point out that our firmware is based on OpenWRT, and in particular the CoovaAP fork and the brilliant work my friend Jeremy Collake has put into it. A special thank you also goes to Murray Long, Skyrove’s lead firmware developer.

2. AnyIP

AnyIP is a CoovaChilli feature that allows devices to connect to public hotspots, despite possibly having the wrong IP address settings. Business travelers often have Static IP and DNS settings. Even worse, these settings sometimes can’t be changed on company laptops!

With AnyIP, the Skyrove router essentially says: “Hey! I can’t give you the IP address I wanted to, so I’m just going to pretend that I did and send you all the internet packets anyway!”

3. Heartbeat Monitor

The new firmware includes our Heartbeat Monitor that has the Skyrove Router send a little message to Skyrove every 60 minutes, simply to say: “Oi! I’m still alive!”. If the server doesn’t hear anything from the Skyrove router for a while, we’ll send out the troops. (Or rather, an email to the technical contact for that hotspot!)

Besides for the email, you can also see how your hotspots are doing at any point in time by logging in to the Skyrove Account Manager. See the picture below for an example.

Skyrove Heartbeat Monitor

4. Automatic Updates

The new Skyrove WiFi Hotspot firmware will keep itself up to date, as any good software should! It will periodically check the Skyrove server for any new firmware updates, download it and apply it in the early hours of the morning, provided no one is logged on already!

5. SMTP redirect

One of the most common problems people have at public WiFi hotspots is sending email. You might have seen the ‘Relay Forbidden’ error yourself! The reason for this is that a mail server owned by, say, MWEB, won’t accept outgoing mail traffic from a Skyrove hotspot that might be connecting to the internet using iBurst.

To make things worse, you may not know which server you are supposed to use! This is no longer a problem. With Skyrove’s new firmware, the Hotspot owner can set up the preferred mail server in the router interface. So in future, all mail will be automatically routed through the Hotspot owner’s ISP’s mail server, rather than attempting a 3rd party mail server!

Conclusion

These are just a few of the new features. We don’t think of them as cutting edge, but rather as essential for any Hotspot provider that aims to provide a decent service. Around the corner is a dramatic change in how Skyrove networks will be configured, but more about that next time… ;-)

Please email me if you’d like to play with the latest firmware! henk@skyrove.com

ITWeb Brainstorm: Sitting on a wireless goldmine

A web junkie from UCT soon realised that his financial aid would not fund his many hours of surfing. What he needed was a way to not only fund his addiction , but to earn some extra money too. This was the beginning of Skyrove.


Read more…