What defines a modern, secure, social WiFi network?

Getting you out of a hotspot of bother

A recent survey by Purple WiFi covering 3,349 venues across the globe, uncovered that 2048 venues were running completely open WiFi networks, meaning anyone could access their network, putting them at greater risk of a potential virus attack. But as with many security-related issues, potential threats become minimised with the right systems in place.

Purple WiFi is cloud-based, and as a result, the company claims that its solution can work with practically any hardware and is scalable in terms of customer need and geographic location.

It offers an alternative to existing WiFi services by putting the focus back on the business or venue. It does this by offering marketing tools and analytics to derive value from interactions with customers whilst providing a secure and independent channel for commercial use.

More importantly, a number of key security aspects are offered with Purple WiFi's platform, which relate directly to what the company calls a "unique, cloud-managed approach to hotspot provision."

Purple WiFi's security system is able to block traffic between devices connected at hotspot points while offering infection control and the ability to quarantine those connections that might demonstrate the symptoms of WiFi-related flu.

We talk to Purple WiFi CEO Gavin Wheeldon to find out more.

TechRadar Pro: How did Purple WiFi originate?

Gavin Wheeldon: Purple WiFi was formed in 2012 with the vision of offering a better, user-friendly alternative for public WiFi. To set itself apart from the competition, Purple's solution has been designed to give venues clear benefits of offering Purple WiFi, while keeping the end user experience at front of mind at all times.

TRP: What is Social WiFi?

GW: Using social media authentication, users are online within a few clicks, with no typing and no username or passwords to remember. Purple WiFi currently offer Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn as login methods but the Roadmap includes many more, with Google login next for release. The benefit to the venue of offering WIFi in this way, is enhanced social media exposure, marketing capabilities and rich analytics.

TRP: How is Purple WiFi different to other WiFi providers?

GW: Unlike most public WiFi, which is typically provided by an operator who delivers connectivity, hardware and an overall managed service (both costly and not very scalable), Purple WiFi is completely cloud-based and works with any hardware; with native integrations with Cisco, Cisco Meraki, Ruckus and Airtight. We know of no other similar approach to market.

Purple WiFi is also different in that we have a totally free product for smaller businesses to offer secure and user-friendly WiFi. We pride ourselves on giving the venues something more than other providers - they really do own the branding and the customer data, unlike other WiFi solutions out there.

TRP: What are the various packages on offer to customers?

GW: We work through reseller partners who package up our product in different ways dependent on the venue or brand's requirements. This page of our website visualises the packages on offer. This page of explains our pricing models and gives some example pricing.

TRP: Which key partners and resellers are you currently working with globally?

GW: Currently we work with some of the leading names in wireless equipment manufacturing , and our signed reseller base now covers us in 28 countries and counting. Purple WiFi is natively integrated with Cisco, Cisco Meraki, Airtight, and Ruckus hardware.

We are a Cisco CMX partner and have Cisco Registered Developer status. Our software is also tried and tested on TP-Link, Ubiquity, Netgear, Linksys, and we are adding more brands to this list constantly, providing resellers with even more sales opportunities.

We have distributor agreements in place with Purdicom, Ingram Micro, e92plus, Wood Communications and Chuanhow, and we are in discussion with a number of others and our partner network is growing daily.

Desire Athow
Managing Editor, TechRadar Pro

Désiré has been musing and writing about technology during a career spanning four decades. He dabbled in website builders and web hosting when DHTML and frames were in vogue and started narrating about the impact of technology on society just before the start of the Y2K hysteria at the turn of the last millennium.