Software or Hardware to Log Information Transmitted While Connected to Company Wi-Fi?

Posted on 2013-05-14
Last Modified: 2016-04-05
The company that I work for provides free Wi-Fi in our cafes around the the country. The cafes are usually located right next to our retail stores as well. That being said, for ethical and information gathering purposes, our marketing team has asked us if there's any way to "log" or "capture" information while a customer is using out public Wi-Fi.

The information that we'd be looking to capture are email addresses, website URLs, possibly a first and last name, etc. We wouldn't be interested in credit card numbers or anything along those lines, nor would we want to. This is so that our marketing team can find links between certain groups that visit the cafes such as:

1. A lot of college students visit the cafes and log into their Blackboard or school academic portal to get assignments and do homework while connected to the Wi-Fi in the cafe, and for a few hours at a time.

2. The same email address (or name) that was used for a transaction at the retail store was also used to buy something from the cafe and was then found in the Wi-Fi traffic, thus meaning that our customer bought product and enjoyed a meal right after. How many people do this? Do they eat and then shop? Etc.

The solution could be hardware or software related and should be able to provide information on all or more of the scenarios and items mentioned above.
Question by:ATR1788
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Author Comment

ID: 39165053
Looks like something similar to the Untangle boxes ( would be what we're looking for. I'm going to continue researching products but the Untangle device is an example of something that we might be interested in.
LVL 78

Assisted Solution

arnold earned 250 total points
ID: 39167048
That is correct, proxying any unsecure sites is the only way to manage the content being accessed; however, what you are asking is more intrusive dealing with scouring the outgoing and incoming traffic for data.  IMHO, once you post the change in your usage policy, you may see a decline in use. A way to collect email is to ask for a valid email to access the wifi.

Using a proxy you could provide advertisements within their session.

Author Comment

ID: 39167942
Yes, for the email we could do something like when you go to a hotel and need to fill in some basic information on a redirected page when you first access the public Wi-Fi, so I agree with that idea. As for the "declined use" due to an updated usage policy, there would be no usage policy because the internet access would be provided to the public for free in our cafes. If this were an internal Wi-Fi setup then yes, I'd certainly expect the employees to start being more mindful of their browsing. As for providing advertisements that might be something later on, but for now we're just looking to do a bunch of gathering.

To my understanding the marketing team wants to see something like this:
1. Customer connects to free Wi-Fi, maybe puts in their email address on a default "welcome page" in order to proceed (thank you Arnold), and then is connected.

2. Now connected, the customer opens their GMail account and checks their email. They then go to to check current events, our company website to check product, and then Google Maps to look up a nearby retail location's address.

3. Marketing would then want to see a log (or whatever type of output) containing the user's email that they entered in (whether at the GMail page or at the main Wi-Fi page), a hit to, a hit to our company website, and a hit to Google Maps.

4. They would then cross reference the email address to see if that matched an email that we have in our retail store's database (if there's a match we would see that the customer bought something at the store and then stopped next door to the cafe to access the internet). Next they'd see that the customer was interested in current events/news by going to, and that they were then interested in finding nearby retail stores for their next shopping stop by going to Google Maps. This information might then be useful for determining ads (as stated by Arnold), such as a news ticker or Google Maps integration somewhere.
LVL 78

Accepted Solution

arnold earned 250 total points
ID: 39168133
Everything past the first page, means that you have to scan through the data being exchanged.  Many, including free mailers are combating just such an intrusion by forcing the user connection through a secure channel SSL.

The only way to a achieve what your marketing team wants (presumably they have yet to consult with legal on such an implementation) is to provide the users the computers that they will use and post a notice that all key strokes are logged.
LVL 70

Assisted Solution

Merete earned 250 total points
ID: 39173618
Maybe Spiceworks provides most of what you need but not the user intrusion part

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