Methods of WiFi Hotspot Billing

Charging Methods for Internet Use.


Two main questions:


Charging Basis:

Billing customers for internet access over a set period of time has the advantage of being readily understood by customers. However as internet speeds and demand for "rich content" increase the utilisation of internet resources is much more dependant upon the activity and therefore amount of data transfer taking place. Business will generally have monthly data use limits set by the Internet Service Provider according to the level of package the business is paying but won't be limited upon the amount of time devices spend "connected".

UseMyNet's system allows WiFi Hotspot owners to set both a time length period (from the code's first use or PayPal payment being made) and data usage limits for paid internet access across 3 different paid billing tariff levels. In other words an owner can issue codes for (say) up to 1 hours access and 20MB for one price, 4 hours access and 50MB for another price and 24 hours and 200MB at a third price level. Alternatively time or data can set as unlimited at any or all price billing levels. This gives a good deal of flexibility and is in addition to unpaid "free" options that might be offered for lower access levels. UseMyNet suggest applying both limits to ensure responsible use.

"Saving unused time" for later: A common assumption is that internet access should be billed according to the time spent on line. In other words if a customer purchases 60 minutes of internet access time and they use 15 minutes of it now they should be able to save the remaining 45 minutes to use later - such as the following day. There are a number of disadvantages with this approach and UseMyNet consequently does not support it.

One problem with the "saving unused time" method is how to judge when usage "stops". Internet usage is not constant so someone may be "online" even if though no traffic is flowing at that precise moment. Also users often don't appreciate their device may still be accessing the internet even though they think they have stopped using it. Therefore such systems usually require users to "logout" to "stop the clock". This often causes dissatisfied users who assumed they were logged out because they closed the browser when the system still judges them to be online as it has no way of knowing the browser has closed unless they formally log out.


How to Process Payments:

Ticket systems work by issuing paying customers with a code unique to them. This may be done at the counter in a shop or reception in a hotel. With this billing method, all pricing and payments are dealt with outside of the system. The customer can then log in with this code.wifi hotspot billing using paypal

UseMyNet Pro's alternative PayPal feature allows payment to be taken for internet access without any staff involvement. The initial WiFi login page will include the Hotspot's price plan with a "buy now" button against each price point. On clicking the appropriate button the user is taken to PayPal's secure payment portal where they can pay by card or, if they are already a PayPal user, via their own PayPal account. The Hotspot owner obtains payment straight into his bank account. Upon succesful payment the system is notified and when the user is returned to the UseMyNet system internet access is allowed transparently as if a valid code had been entered with a ticket based system.

It is possible to combine both methods so either a ticket can be obtained from reception or payment made online whichever is most convenient to the customer.


Most Hotspot internet billing systems work by matching the verified code (or confirmed Paypal payment) to the customer's laptop or smartphone's unique MAC address and permits that device to access the internet for as long as that particular price plan allows. A customer will only be able to use a given code on one device and will not be able to use it on both his laptop and smart phone for example, nor offer an unused part of the ticket to someone else.




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