Captive Network Portal Behavior

Documentation of captive network portal behavior on different devices

Overview

Public Wi-Fi networks offering temporary internet access often begin new connections using a Captive Portal Mini-Browser (or “CPMB”). These CPMB utilities are built into operating systems in order to make it easier to connect to public Wi-Fi networks. The problem is that their behavior is nuanced, often undocumented and can be difficult to understand.

The goal for this project is to document captive portal behavior across the various client devices and to hopefully make it easier to build captive portal solutions that offer a better experience for users.

Organized by the WBA

WBA Logo

This project is organized by the Wireless Broadband Alliance (WBA). The aim of the WBA, together with its 100+ members, is to secure an outstanding user experience through the global deployment of next generation Wireless.

While the WBA organizes this project, anyone is encouraged to contribute. Please see the GitHub repository to learn how or contact the WBA to find out more.

Contents

Connection Process

The connection process for the CPMB usually involves the following steps:

CPMB Connection Process Diagram

Device Behavior Summary (latest versions)

Platform Captive Portal Display Method Default Browser Details
iOS Mini-Browser Popup Websheet More Details
Android Push Notification Google Chrome More Details
Samsung Android Push Notification Samsung Internet Browser More Details
MacOS Mini-Browser Popup Safari More Details
Windows 10 Manual Browser Redirect User’s Preferred Browser More Details

Device Behavior

General Behavior (for most devices)

iOS (latest)

iOS (With VPN)

With VPN or some other software that blocks Captive Detector Installed

iOS (With “Auto-Connect” disabled)

With “Auto-connect” selector in the Wi-Fi SSID settings switched off.

Android (Google)

Android (Samsung)

MacOS

Windows 10

Chrome OS

Linux

Ubuntu

Linux (Firefox Browser Installed)

Linux (Chrome Browser Installed)

FireOS

List of captive portal check URLs

Apple iOS

Apple MacOS

Google Android

Samsung Android

HTC Android

Windows