Navigating through "Acceptable Use" pages

We often need to deploy our environmental monitoring systems at sites that have WiFi, but require a user to confirm their acceptance of the location’s acceptable use policy. In the past, I’ve used the Electric Imp platform, but the device is only able to talk to its cloud service and, therefore, cannot navigate through the page that’s presented. Consequently, we end up deploying a cellular modem to provide independent internet service to the device. Obviously, this brings additional cost and complexity.

I’m wondering if anyone is experienced with utilizing a Particle in an application that requires getting through such an acceptance webpage. If so, can you share any thoughts/guidance? I’m wondering if the HttpClient library might be part of the solution, but asking here before I invest too much time heading that direction.

Its been discussed a few times on the forums, try a search for captive portal.

the electron may be what you need, not sure what your time scale is

I searched the “captive portal” discussions, but didn’t find anything that appears to be a solution.

One approach I’ve considered (and was briefly mentioned in another comment) is using something like a CradlePoint CBR400 router and configure it as “WiFi as WAN” and enable NATing. I would attach it to the local WiFi and then WiFi connect to the router with a laptop/smartphone and try to connect to a website in the outside world. This should bring up the captive portal page and require acceptance of the local policy(ies). Since the router would be NATing, all communications from devices on the WiFi would share the router’s WAN IP address. I believe I could then connect the Photon to the CradlePoint’s WiFi and (hopefully) have access to the Internet.

The basis of my thought is from experience at a small college where we had a scheme to ensure student-owned computers were “checked” prior to providing access to the campus network. It was based upon development work at the University of Buffalo. It worked very well. However, we learned that the scheme was based upon MAC addresses and the approach could be fooled by students introducing a router, thereby enabling “unauthorized” devices to connect to the campus network.

With the above in mind, I am aware that some networks only provide time-limited access to the Internet. As other proposed solutions indicated, this would require re-attaching and re-accepting the policy, so it’s far from an ideal solution.

Sorry for the long comment–kinda thinking “out loud”. FWIW.

Ask your clients to whitelist your devices’ MAC addresses.
Or implement some sort of tunneling via ICMP or DNS.

With the latter, maintaining connection to the particle servers is a little more difficult, but you can send data to your own endpoint reliably. Also, with the latter, your clients’ IT people might frown upon you pwning bypassing their security.