Feature Request: special Browser window for logging in to WiFi Hotspots

Bug #914507 reported by Daniel on 2012-01-10
This bug affects 12 people
Affects Status Importance Assigned to Milestone
Canonical System Image
Bill Filler
indicator-network (Ubuntu)
network-manager (Ubuntu)

Bug Description

Problem occurs with: Ubuntu, all versions
Does not occur with: Fedora 21 and later, elementary OS 0.3 and later, OS X 10.7 and later

WiFi Hotspots normally redirect all traffic to a special IP address which provides a Welcome page with a login form. Accessing this server with another protocol does not work, which is not a problem for POP3, IMAP or SSH, but it is a problem if you connect by https, because your browser will recognise the wrong security certificate or the port is not even used (which is even better in my opinion).
1) So if I open a browser it automatically tries to open its Start page which is https in my case (I use the HTTPS Everywhere plugin in my firefox). Because it uses https, I will not be redirected to the login page and am waiting in front of an empty page. Then I manually have to open a link which does not use https and get redirected to the login page.
2) Another annoying thing are other users who open a saved browser session. All saved (http-)tabs will be redirected to the welcome page so that it does not make any sense anymore to save the browser session.
3) Firefox also sometimes does compatibility checks and plugin updates at start time. These also fail when trying to login to a Hotspot network.

How can we solve this problem?

First, network manager should check if the connected wireless network is a Hotspot network. This chan be done by a simple http request to a stable and well-known page, for example http://gnome.org/netcheck which returns a known token (something like "Yes, you are connected to the Internet").
- If the token is returned, everything is fine and the user has connection
- If it does not receive this token but a redirect, it should open a special browser-window (not the default browser because of the reasons above) which allows to log-in to the network before other internet applications are started.
- In any other case, network manager could try another server (backup) or stop probing.

For known wireless networks, network manager could also provide a setting to disable/autodetect/force hotspot login.

<https://wiki.ubuntu.com/Networking#captive-portal>: "Whenever Ubuntu makes a new network connection, if 'Prompt whenever a new connection requires Web login' is checked, it should perform HTTP and DNS checks that the connection is valid. If it is not..."

Thanks for reporting this bug and any supporting documentation. Since this bug has enough information provided for a developer to begin work, I'm going to mark it as confirmed and let them handle it from here. Thanks for taking the time to make Ubuntu better!

Changed in network-manager (Ubuntu):
importance: Undecided → Medium
status: New → Triaged
importance: Medium → Wishlist
Matthew Paul Thomas (mpt) wrote :

This probably depends on bug 1072675.

description: updated
description: updated
Changed in canonical-devices-system-image:
status: New → Confirmed
Changed in indicator-network (Ubuntu):
status: New → Confirmed
description: updated
Pat McGowan (pat-mcgowan) wrote :

Gaining a lot of heat with dupes

Changed in canonical-devices-system-image:
assignee: nobody → Bill Filler (bfiller)
importance: Undecided → Wishlist
milestone: none → backlog
Daniel (hackie) wrote :

Btw. Android seems to use a very similar technique. It calls http://x/generate_204 while x is one of multiple Google-owned internet hosts (for example connectivitycheck.android.com or clients1.google.com), see also https://stackoverflow.com/questions/1989214/google-com-and-clients1-google-com-generate-204.

Andrea Bernabei (faenil) wrote :

Here's how Chromium handles this: http://www.chromium.org/chromium-os/chromiumos-design-docs/network-portal-detection

(link grabbed from one of the comments to the SO thread that Daniel posted)

dobey (dobey) on 2017-01-26
Changed in indicator-network (Ubuntu):
importance: Undecided → Wishlist
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