October Update – 3x Faster Guest WiFi and more
As the internet gets “bigger” there’s a constant need for how we interact with it to keep up in performance. People want more, and they want it faster than ever.
Keeping that in mind – plus a few prickly real-world experiences – our teams have just completed upgrades to our guest WiFi service.
A great WiFi login is butter smooth, lightning fast, beautifully branded and tastefully personalised. Our latest update levels up all these areas.
Many of you reading this will know that guest WiFi was where we started back in 2015. Our founder Patrick knew there was a better way to get customers online in hospitality venues. We’ve grown since then, but that mentality is still our driving force.
The other driving force is time. We’ve done this update now (Oct ‘23) so that Stampede users and their customers get the most from the upcoming “golden period” of Christmas.
Three times faster. Or 320% faster to be more accurate. That is the headline result of our recent performance improvements. Customers get online quicker, even in low bandwidth areas.
This results in fewer complaints to staff and less time spent dealing with IT companies. It also means more customers will opt-in to your marketing – an ideal way to grow your mailing list. Read on to dive into the technical details.
Branding and Design
Consistent branding for your business across all pages with our newly released brand kits – you can read up on them here. Loading, welcome and email validation screens all support brand kits too.
This makes the entire experience more brand-focused, increasing customer recall and making your retention marketing more effective.
A lot of you ask about custom fonts – this update makes them now available on your WiFi portal and other screens, as per the brand kits.
Lastly – we’ve made the WiFi service more easily accessible for international customers without the need for them to choose language manually. Using the devices’ locale we automatically change the language in the portal. It’s a nice touch for those of you with regular international customers.
A Note on Paid WiFi
We’re still supporting many businesses who offer a paid WiFi service, and have dedicated a large amount of effort in this update to improving that side of our guest WiFi.
Using paid access we have supported £1.28m for customers across 59,600 unique payments since starting.
To improve the user experience, the updated paid access now looks and feels like a modern e-commerce shop. The goal is to make it easy for more users to get online in these use cases.
Behind the scenes, we have completely refactored the integrations between PayPal and Stripe to give the whole system a fresh start.
Device management on paid access has historically been problematic for some businesses and users. This has also been reconfigured to make it easier for guests/users to share paid access between accounts.
If you’re here then it’s time to get into the details. How have we taken world-class guest WiFi and made it even better?
We are now pre-rendering every splash page before guests’ devices to speed up loading times. This is also done in all supported languages (14) which means – at the time of writing – we’re generating ~80,000 WiFi login pages before people even log in through them.
As all page generation is pre-generated the bundle size of our WiFi feature has decreased. To load a full page now requires ~140 KB of bandwidth – it used to be 430kb minimum. This means that WiFi portals will load quickly even in the most challenging connectivity environments.
The WiFi feature has been moved into its own dedicated infrastructure which means API calls are entirely independent of other Stampede services. Interconnection between this service and Stampede still happens. This dedicated resource simply acts like a unique power source so it no longer shares power with other Stampede functions.
For true cloud-first WiFi hardware vendors – like TP-Link and Ubiquiti – we are now authenticating the guests server-to-server, previously done via client-to-server. This drastically speeds up authentication time, getting users online faster.
Components that affect page load speed like the phone number input, Apple Sign-in and Stripe checkout, are now being streamed into the application.
There’s no doubt that this is a significant update. It wouldn’t have been possible without the feedback and input from our customers and partners, so a massive thanks to them.
The depth and detail of this update tell us that even the best always have room to improve. Don’t get too comfortable with the status quo, someone else will be moving the needle elsewhere.