Creating your first CloudTrax network
Set up your first cloud-managed wireless mesh network with CloudTrax. CloudTrax is a free cloud-based network controller that makes it easy for anyone to build, manage, and monitor wireless networks from anywhere in the world.
This article will assist you in setting up a new network on the CloudTrax web application. For a faster and much simpler setup, we suggest using the CloudTrax for iOS or CloudTrax for Android apps.
No matter which version you start with, you can switch between the web and mobile apps seamlessly.
- Active subscription with MyWiFi
- One or more CloudTrax-compatible wireless devices, such as the OM2P or MR1750
- Internet connection with at least one Ethernet port available on your modem or router
- Ethernet cable
- A browser pointed to www.cloudtrax.com, or an iOS or Android device running the CloudTrax app
The process explained:
- Create a master login on CloudTrax.com.
This will help you build, manage and monitor multiple networks in a single place.
- Create a new network on CloudTrax.
- Add access points to your network.
- Install the access points on location.
- Configure your network.
We’ll make this process as easy and nontechnical as possible. Here are a few keywords that will help.
A group of computers or devices that can talk to each other (in our case, wirelessly).
A CloudTrax-compatible router that is connected to the Internet (usually through a DSL, cable, or LAN connection).
A CloudTrax-compatible router that is not connected to the Internet that repeats the signals from local computers and other access points to the gateway.
- Access point
A generic name for a CloudTrax-compatible router/access point which can be either a Gateway or a Repeater. You may also see these called "Nodes".
All CloudTrax devices configure themselves: they become gateways or repeaters depending if they are connected to the Internet or not.
NOTE: This article is not intended to cover every aspect of CloudTrax.
To learn more about planning your network, view the Cloudtrax Network Planning Guide.
Creating a new network
Create an owner account
The first time you use CloudTrax, you will need to create an owner account. This account will be your main login for all networks that you create and will allow you to manage all subordinate user accounts.
- Open CloudTrax.com.
- Click Create Account.
You’ll see a page similar to the one below.
- Fill out all fields:
Name: Your users will see this name as the account owner.
Email: This will be your master login used to access all of your networks. This must be a valid email address.
Password: Make this password different from the individual network passwords you’ll create later.
- Click Create account.
- Within a few minutes, you will receive a verification email. Click Verify Account to create your new CloudTrax Master Login.
From here you will be able to begin creating your first network.
Create a new network
Once you've created your new network in CloudTrax, you can begin adding your access points.
- Create a new network.
- Provide the following information into the relevant fields.
Network name: You will use this name to make changes to the network, display reports, and so on. This does not need to be the SSID that you want your network to broadcast.
Network Group: This determines which user accounts will administrate this network.
Location: Enter a street address for the first access point. To add access points, you will be shown a map that you click on to place access points. By entering an address here, you will be centered on the correct location for your network.
Application Reporting: This will set whether the Application Reporting function is enabled by default on this network, which will provide more in-depth reporting on the sort of traffic on your network.
Network Type: This gives CloudTrax an idea of how you are using them, so they can find more ways to improve.
Clone Network? If you wish to carry over your network settings from an already existing CloudTrax network under the same account, you can choose to clone that network's settings here.
- Click Create.
Note: Once you have your first network created, you can access the creation page again from the bottom of the Networks dropdown when viewing any network's edit page.
Add access points to your network
It’s time to let CloudTrax know which access points you want to include in the network. Adding them to CloudTrax will allow you to manage and monitor the access points from anywhere.
- Navigate to Manage > Access Points.
There are three methods to add access points to your network. All three methods require the same information; the difference is in the way you enter the information.
Method 1: Click Add New to add access points one at a time.
Using this method to add access points will display a location map that uses Google Maps, centered on the address you entered when you created the network, and will display a popup to enter your first access point. In some cases, you can click “Satellite view" and zoom in for a closer look.
Method 2: Use the down arrow next to Add New to add access points in bulk.
- Enter your information:
Name: Enter a name for this access point. This name is used to reference its location and will be displayed in reports and does not affect users.
MAC address: This can be found on a label on the bottom of the router and on the side of the product box. A MAC address is a sequence of 12 numbers and the letters A-F often separated by colons (ex: AC:86:74:8B:45:20).
Description: You can enter optional descriptive text that will be displayed on reports. This is typically used to keep notes on where the access point is installed.
- Click Add and repeat the process for each additional access point.
Method 3: If you need to add a large number of access points, you may want to add them in bulk. You can do this in two ways:
- Entering the MAC addresses in a text field (one per line).
- Uploading a list of access points (along with the optional name, location, channel overrides) in a CSV file. The CSV file must be in a specific format; you can download a sample CSV file here.
Once uploaded, your access points will be added to the map based on your network location (similar to how the CloudTrax iOS and Android apps add access points). You can reposition these access points on the map after adding them.
Didn’t get the placement of an access point quite right?
You can move it around by clicking and dragging an access point to a new location.
Install the access points
Once your access points are added to CloudTrax, it’s time to install them. If you're using an enclosure, video installation guides are available here.
- Connect your Gateway unit to the Internet with an Ethernet cable.
This can be plugged in directly to your high-speed modem (if it has a single Ethernet port, power cycle it first), or it can be fed from a router or switch.
If it can get an Internet connection via cable, it’ll connect to CloudTrax.
- Once the Ethernet cable is plugged in, connect the power.
Next, plug in additional access points as either gateways (connected to Ethernet) or repeaters, connected only to power.
To ensure strong, consistent signal coverage:
- Place your gateway in the center of the network. For most devices, every time data is transmitted over one repeater hop, it loses half its speed. A central gateway minimizes the number of hops required.
- Never go through more than three to four walls or floors.
- Never go more than 50-150 feet (depending on building materials) between access points.
- Install no more than about five repeaters to every one gateway.
Once all access points are plugged in, you should see them turn green on the CloudTrax Network Status page in about 5 to 15 minutes. For more detailed information on planning and optimizing your network, see CloudTrax's Network Planning Guide.
Your Gateway is central to the area you want to cover as possible. Place repeaters around this gateway to extend coverage, as shown here. Adding more gateways as you expand the network helps ensure consistent speeds and improves reliability.
Configuring your network and SSIDs
Configure your network
Now that your network is up and running, there is more we can do to customize the network to meet specific needs that you or your network may have. These are the most common settings:
To access the general settings open your CloudTrax account.
- Select Configure from the main menu.
- Select General.
The general settings tab controls network-wide settings. This will be partially filled in with the information you initially provided to create the network.
Below you will find each of those settings explained.
- Network name: The login name for this network on the dashboard, and also the login ID to access this network individually by a site administrator. This is NOT your master login. This allows you to give access to only the network settings for that network without allowing access to your master account.
- Location: This defaults to the first address you entered when setting up the network. You can change the location of your network at any time.
- Timezone: Controls the local time on reports.
- Password: The administrator password for this network. Again, this is only for this network and is not your master login password. It is also not the password your users will use to connect to the network. This is not visible on user management accounts.
- Notes: Enter any notes for this installation you’d like to be able to refer to later.
- Send Email Alerts: Enable this option to send notifications of AP outages to the email address(es) you enter below. The notification will be sent between 1 hour and 1 hour and 15 minutes of the AP being continuously offline.
- Alert Emails: The email address notifications will be sent to if email alerts are enabled. You can list multiple email addresses, separated by spaces.
CloudTrax allows you to control network access in a number of ways, even before integrating with MyWiFi.
Before users connect to the SSID, you can set up a WPA Pre-Shared Key, WPA Enterprise, or a MAC address-based whitelist and blacklist. After users connect, you can present them with a splash page where they can click to enter, use a RADIUS-based username and password, a voucher code, or pay with PayPal.
Configure > SSID
To access the SSID settings open your CloudTrax account.
- Select Configure from the main menu.
- Choose SSID 1, SSID 2, SSID 3 or SSID 4.
Each CloudTrax device can broadcast four unique SSIDs that users can connect to. Each one is controlled independently within your CloudTrax interface.
Typically users have a mix of public SSIDs - with splash pages, bandwidth throttling, DNS filtering and client isolation - and private SSIDs, with WPA Enterprise authentication and access to LAN resources and other clients. When a network is created, SSID 1 is set to be public and SSID 2 is set to be private, but you can adjust them to fit your needs.
Common SSID settings
- SSID name: The SSID is the name that is broadcast or displayed on location to users which they can connect to with their devices, and should be the SSID you want your campaign to broadcast. You can also select Use access point name to use each access point’s name for its SSID.
- Enable: When selected, this SSID will broadcast on all network access points. When deselected, it won't broadcast, but your settings will be saved.
- Visible: When enabled, this SSID will advertise itself publicly so users can select it from their list of available networks. When disabled, users must enter the SSID name manually.
- Band: Select which frequency you wish the SSID to broadcast on. (APs with only one frequency capacity will still only be able to use their designated frequency)
Both - Combined SSID: Both 2.4 GHz and 5 GHz broadcasts of the SSID will use the same name. Client devices will make their own roaming decisions on which frequency to connect to.
Both - Unique SSIDs: Clients capable of utilizing both bands will see two different SSID names for each frequency. The client device will stay connected to either the 2.4 GHz or the 5 GHz SSID name depending on which you select.
2.4 GHz only: This SSID will only utilize the 2.4 GHz frequency.
5 GHz only: This SSID will only utilize the 5 GHz frequency.
- Authentication: Enable this to enable security and authenticate users with WPA-PSK or WPA-Enterprise at the time they connect to the SSID. This isn't required if you wish to authenticate users on a splash page, such as with MyWiFi.
Pre-shared key (Password): If you would like to secure your network with a password, enter it here. It must be eight characters or longer and contain no spaces.
WPA Enterprise: Uses 802.1x authentication that requires a unique username and password for each user.
Note: Enabling WPA2 only will require all clients to be compatible with the WPA2 encryption standard.
Captive portal settings
- Bandwidth Throttling: Enable and set download/upload limits to set the maximum speeds users will receive when connected to your network. You may want to set these between 10 and 25 percent of the speed of your Internet connection, ensuring that one or two users can’t consume the entire available bandwidth.
- Splash Page/Splash Page Type: Enable or disable the page users will see before connecting to your network. You can set this to Custom (hosted by CloudTrax), Facebook WiFi, or a hosted remotely version for advanced users. This will display before your MyWiFi campaign.
- Splash Page Authentication: Select CloudTrax, RADIUS or HTTP Authentication. Read more here. This shouldn't be necessary if you're using MyWiFi.
Failed Authentication Block: Indicate how many attempts users will have to correctly enter their voucher code. If the attempts fail, you can also set how long before the user may attempt to enter the voucher code again.
- Client Force Timeout: Minutes client is idle (Idle Timeout) before showing splash page, or minutes between showing splash page regardless of activity (Force Timeout) for non-voucher access. 1 day=1440.
- Require voucher: Require a valid voucher on splash pages. If unchecked, it will allow you to provide a basic tier of service at the rates and durations above and (optionally) faster service using vouchers or PayPal.
- Redirect URL: The page to display after the splash page. Leave blank to let the user choose.
- Include user data in redirect URL: If set, additional information specific to the request is added as URL parameters when the final redirect occurs. The parameters node_mac, client_mac, and client_url will be set to the MAC addresses of the access point and client, and the original request URL, respectively.
- Block Unauthenticated Users: Block all ports until a client device has been authenticated. If unchecked, only browsing is blocked. When selected, unauthenticated users trying to access https websites will not be redirected to the splash page.
- White List: List MAC addresses, one per line that will not see the splash page, if enabled. This is useful for game consoles or other devices that do not have a browser.
- Walled Garden: Sites and resources (images and files for the splash page, etc) users can visit prior to authentication.
To access the advanced settings open your CloudTrax account. Please note these settings should only be changed by advanced users.
- Select Configure from the main menu.
- Select Advanced.
- Block LAN Access: Prevents users on this wireless network from accessing your wired LAN.
- Client isolation: Prevents your wireless users from being able to access each other's computers -- this is common for public networks. Unchecking this box will allow you to do things like share a printer attached to the network, but will also allow malicious users access to other users on the network. Uncheck this ONLY if you know all users have a firewall enabled on their computers.
- DNS Intercept: Prevents client devices from overriding the DNS settings of the SSID, and instead uses the default gateway DNS, or the Alternate DNS address if set.
Without DNS Intercept enabled: Block Clients, Splash Pages, and Alternate DNS will be disabled.
- SMTP Redirect Alternate SMTP server IP address for your network. This allows users to send SMTP email by using your ISP's SMTP server.
- Alternate DNS: Alternate DNS server IP addresses, one per line, for this SSID. This setting will override your network-wide Alternate DNS settings on this SSID, and allows you to use services such as OpenDNS for content filtering, client tracking and more.
- Access Control List: MAC addresses allowed to use this access point, one per line. All other users (MAC addresses) will not be able to browse on this access point. Leave blank to allow all MAC addresses -- this is highly recommended while using MyWiFi!
- Bridge to VLAN: Each SSID can be tagged with a number from 2-4094 so you can control traffic flow within your LAN. Using a VLAN automatically bridges the SSID to the LAN.
- PayPal Item ID: You can require guests to pay for all services or enhanced service through PayPal.
Integrate with MyWiFi
If you have any questions, please contact our support team by clicking the support icon located in the bottom right-hand corner of this page.