The new devices program themselves automatically upon connection, freeing partners from that time-consuming task. Updated firmware due in June will equip the routers to provide securely segregated Wi-Fi connectivity in public spaces as well.By Rich Freeman
Aditum has made self-configuring wireless network routers available to resellers of its internet management service for multi-unit apartment complexes and office structures.
Officially named Zero-Touch, the optional service enables VARs and managed service providers to supply end users with commercial-grade routers pre-equipped to program themselves as soon as they’ve been connected. All an administrator has to do in advance is associate the device’s serial number with a specific customer account in Aditum’s management portal by scanning a barcode on the outside of the box. Everything else required to get the user online happens automatically behind the scenes.
“You just plug it in and it works,” says Aditum CEO Brian Higgins, adding that the process is simple enough for property managers or tenants to perform without a technician’s assistance.
Based in Norwalk, Conn., Aditum enables channel pros to sell personal Wi-Fi internet accounts to owners of multi-occupant buildings. In the past, resellers of the service typically acquired routers on their own, often from local electronics stores, and configured them manually. Zero-Touch eliminates that requirement, Higgins notes, accelerating and simplifying the deployment process while increasing the service’s sales appeal.
“It should make it much, much easier for the resellers to close deals,” he says.
The new offering lowers profit-sapping administrative overhead as well by automatically storing Wi-Fi network names and other settings in Aditum’s backend administrative system. Technicians handling support calls had to ask tenants for that information in the past.
Two different routers, both made by network hardware maker MikroTik, are available. The 100 megabit model sells for $53 individually and roughly $47 when purchased in quantities of 20 or more. The more powerful gigabit unit costs $129 each, or approximately $125 in larger volumes.
Both versions support the 802.11n protocol at 2.4 GHz and 802.11ac connections at 5 GHz.
“Chances are it’s a much better router that’s going to be much more reliable than whatever they were buying on the consumer side,” Higgins adds.
Resellers can still supply their own hardware if they wish. Subscription costs for ongoing Aditum internet service is the same either way.
According to Higgins, Zero-Touch addresses responds to widespread demand among resellers for standard router hardware and configuration settings. Aditum will address another common channel partner request several months from now by equipping its preset private network routers to serve as wireless access points for public Wi-Fi networks in lobbies, lounges, pool areas, and other shared spaces.
“They’ll be able to have a central building-wide Wi-Fi system all integrated into one platform,” Higgins says.
The system maintains security by keeping private and public network traffic strictly segregated, he adds, and provides a number of mechanisms for preventing public Wi-Fi users from weakening the performance of private networks. Those include the ability to specify a maximum aggregate bandwidth allotment for public connections, set bandwidth limits for individual public Wi-Fi users, and de-prioritize public network traffic relative to traffic from individual units.