Case Study – Customised On Board Mobile Data Management Solution: For Baz Bus

Baz Bus is a leading force in the Tourism Industry and carry over 10 000 independent travellers each year! Baz Bus now collects travellers from over 200 backpacker hostels, guest houses, lodges and hotels along our route catering for every budget & travel style.

Providing on board wifi on their buses is now part of the services offered to Back Packers who use Baz Bus to travel throughout South Africa. It is essential to have fast and reliable wifi available for travellers as a means of attracting tourists to use this bus service.

The Challenge

Initially when wifi was introduced onto the buses, several data specialising companies were tried and used to implement a solution. However one by one, these Vendor services were terminated because of unreliability, excessive expenses and difficulty in managing the solution for the bus operators.

By 2018 Baz Bus was still offering wifi on their buses but had resorted to buying Vodacom Huawei routers with buying prepaid data monthly.

In terms of providing wifi to travellers, this solution worked well but a major problem was it led to abuse of the data. So the usage of data escalated as travellers used it excessively and it proved very expensive to keep buying and providing data on a regular basis.

At the end of 2019, the Management of Baz Bus approached Precision Technology and requested a customised solution that would allow work with the Vodacom routers, but would somehow limit the maximum amount of data that each traveller could use per day.

Solution Overview

After consideration of the request, a solution was proposed using a basic Mikrotik MikroTik RB951 router placed in circuit with the Vodacom Huawei router. The wifi would be distributed from this router and disabled on the Vodacom router which would now be used only for internet access.

The Mikrotik router was programmed to control each travellers allocated data access on a per IP address basis using scripting to manage the bandwidth per user as well as the total amount of data each traveller could have per day. This was set at 150 Mbytes per traveller per day per device. At midnight this would be reset so that they would get another allocation the next day.

Other restrictions were put in place to ensure for example that static IPs could not be used (by the more sophisticated traveller) as well as protecting against someone trying to bypass the setup by resetting the router.

Solution Implementation

Scripts were written and uploaded into the Mikrotik routers and tested at the Precision Technology offices before deployment. Once the Baz Bus Management was happy with the implementation and the solution had been successfully tested, it was deployed on all the buses used by Baz Bus.

Post Implementation

By all accounts, this customised “Mobile data Management” solution has been a big success and the cost of data has been significantly reduced on the buses.