Captive portals and walled gardens are both terms for the same thing. It is the name of the technique that Wi-Fi Hotspots use when you first connect to the wireless network. As your computer/device connects to the network and you then launch any web browser the first web page you see is the captive portal page. It’s called a captive portal because if you try to type in another address (like google.co.uk) then you get redirected to the same captive portal page. Your browser is ‘captive’ until you either agree to the terms and conditions or pay for the use of the service.
In my project I’m going to be creating a captive portal page that asks the user if they want their computer updated. This question will be part of my terms of service for the wireless network. Answering no will mean the users will be kept captive, whereas answering yes will start the drive-by healing and the user will be let out of the captive portal to the internet.
Walled gardens are slightly different as you can specify that certain sites are accessible without agreeing to the terms. Some Wi-Fi Hotspots allow you to search on Google and when you try to advance on to a search result you are then met with the captive portal.
- Glossary (andyrussellcronin.wordpress.com)