Information regarding shared Wi-Fi networks at senior living facilities
We've found that usually, shared Wi-Fi networks in senior living facilities are OK for connecting a ViewClix frame to the Internet.
But sometimes, there are issues with a customized Wi-Fi login or with the performance of the network that can be addressed and resolved by working with the facility.
This web page is provides information and also questions that you can ask the facility prior to setting up a ViewClix frame.
Logging in to a Wi-Fi network
As with any connected device, ViewClix does not determine or control the login requirements of a Wi-Fi network. The login requirements are determined by the Internet service, the Wi-Fi router and/or the network administrator.
There are 3 different kinds of Wi-Fi login procedures:
- Standard Wi-Fi password security logins: this type of login is typically used with a private Wi-Fi network, for example, the network in a home.
- Web browser-based logins: this type of Wi-Fi login is typically used with a "guest" or facility network.
- Open networks (no login)
The standard Wi-Fi login (option 1) is best because it's secure and devices usually need to login only once. In this case, the network and its password are remembered by the Wi-Fi device (such as a ViewClix frame). If there is a disconnection, which can happen from time to time on any Wi-Fi network, the device can usually restore the connection automatically. ViewClix can also be used with an open Wi-Fi network (option 3) but open networks are generally not used because they don't offer enough security.
Issues with browser-based Wi-Fi logins
Some senior living facilities have Wi-Fi networks with browser-based logins. Although a ViewClix frame can sometimes be used on a network with a browser-based login, ViewClix does not recommend this because there can be persistent problems.
- Issue - login doesn't work: A ViewClix frame is a specialized streaming media device that does not include a web browser for general web "surfing". When an attempt is made to login a ViewClix frame to a browser-based network, there is special software that tries to facilitate the login. But all browser based logins are custom to the particular network and may include general web page features that are not supported by ViewClix.
- Issue - logins have a limited duration: Most Wi-Fi networks that incorporate a browser-based login do not allow a device to stay connected indefinitely. So the logins are likely to expire after a set number of hours or set number of days and the network will then disconnect the device. When this happens, to a ViewClix frame, it will need to be unplugged and restarted. The special network login password will need to be entered again.
Other potential issues with shared networks at senior living facilities
In addition to the fact that a shared or guest network at a senior living facility might have a browser-based login, the network might have periodic performance issues due to the fact that it's shared. There may be certain times of the day when the network is congested and slow.
Although this might not impact picture sharing with a ViewClix frame, the quality and reliability of ViewClix video calling may be severely impacted. When the Internet connection is slow or congested, the video may be choppy, audio might be garbled or the calls may drop or fail to connect.
Shared facility networks can also be subject to firewall or Internet filtering issues. These are caused by configuration choices made by the network administrator(s). These issues can prevent video calls from connecting or prevent a frame's required communication with ViewClix cloud servers.
Determining the quality of a shared facility network in advance
If you are able to communicate with the network administrator(s) for a senior living facility, you might be able to gather information that will shed some light on whether a ViewClix frame can be used successfully on the shared facility network.
First of course, verify that the network's login is a one-time process that will not need to be repeated.
Second, verify the network's performance and the Wi-Fi signal strength. ViewClix needs a good Wi-Fi signal from the network and minimum sustained performance of about 3 megabits per second of download and upload speed for a good video call.
Third, make sure that the network does not use any web site filtering or port blocking. A ViewClix frame must be able to connect to ViewClix servers to function.
Alternatives to shared facility networks
The alternative to a shared network is to have a private Wi-Fi network.
Add-on Internet service: if a senior has a landline phone service or cable TV service, you may be able to "bundle" an Internet service for a reasonable monthly fee. Usually, ViewClix should work fine with the lowest priced bundle option.
Another alternative: mobile hotspot: Some ViewClix customers use a mobile hotspot to provide Wi-Fi for the ViewClix frame. Here's a link to information about mobile hotspots: https://viewclix.com/mobile_hotspot