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.
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.
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!
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! email@example.com