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Accounts in Vacation Mode

Mitchell Paul-Soumis Updated by Mitchell Paul-Soumis

Read Time: 5 mins

Part of using Sonar to manage accounts, services, and statuses is the ability to modify accounts on the fly or on a scheduled basis. Account Statuses are especially useful as something that can be used for account management since changing the account status can be configured to change the services, the network speed, and how the account label shows up in a list. One example of how you can apply this flexibility is through the use of a "Vacation" status.

What is Vacation Status?

Vacation Status is a custom status you can create in your instance that provides your customers the option of opting for a less expensive, less demanding service while they are away from home. The advantage for the customer is that while they aren't at home able to use their service, they pay a small monthly fee to avoid disconnecting everything and having to reinstall later.

For your business, the vacation status is useful because it's entirely remote. As no technician dispatch is required for either the uninstall or the reinstall, you're saving time and money. Additionally, by using IP Address Management or RADIUS Groups to lower the customer's speed and change their service, you avoid any potential congestion issues as a result of unused connections on your network.

A vacation status can also be used as an inactive status to maintain an account listing in your instance while not providing service to the customer location. Done in this way, vacation status can be considered a temporary disconnection with a scheduled reactivation time.

Creating a Vacation Status

In order to create a functioning vacation status in your instance, the Account Status needs to be created, a service to associate with vacation mode needs to be created. Optionally, an address list - or RADIUS group depending on your network configuration - to filter this account and service into a distinct group on which you can manage their speeds.

Creating the Account Status

The first step in creating the Vacation status is to create the Account Status. You can follow the steps below to create this new status:

  1. Click on Settings
  2. Expand the Accounts segment
  3. Click on Account Statuses
  4. Click the "Create Account Status" button, located in the upper-right corner

For the purposes of a vacation status, you could use something like the following values:

  1. Activates Account must be checked if you plan to provide a small data service to the customer premises, and unchecked if it will be a placeholder status only
  2. The Name should be indicative of the use case, such as "Short-term Vacation"
  3. The icon and color can be variable, aligning them with whatever internal process you've established.

Once you've filled in the information for your account status, you can proceed to the next step, which is creating a Vacation Service.

Creating a Vacation Service

Creating the vacation service is where the important decisions are made regarding what service you'll be delivering to the customer premise, and at what speeds. Additionally, service creation establishes the price you'll be charging the customer to maintain their service.

The reason Sonar recommends continuing to deliver data service to these customers is to ensure that any IoT devices continue to function - from home heating to IP security cameras.

For instructions on creating a service in general, review the Building a Data Service article. The speed of the data service can be variable, however, we recommend a symmetrical 1 megabit connection. Finally, establishing a Usage-Based Billing service will ensure that the customer in question doesn't have any passive high-bandwidth devices by limiting the amount of data the home can consume during this vacation period.

Automating the Status Change

Optionally, the change from an active account status and normal service level can be automated through the use of Scheduled Events and Address Lists.

Using a Scheduled Event

If you are scheduling a data service change, you must first remove the existing data service on the account - this can be done manually, or by scheduling the data service removal first.

If you do not remove the existing data service prior to adding a new data service, the scheduled event will fail.

In Sonar, Scheduled Events can be applied to accounts to set a date on which some action will occur. In the case of a customer going on vacation the process flow for automating the status change - and consequently the service change - should be as follows:

  1. Customer notifies you or your support staff of upcoming vacation/time away from home.
  2. A scheduled event is set to change the Account Status and the Account Service. This scheduled event is set for the day desired by the customer.
  3. Set another scheduled event for when they come back if they know the start and end dates of the vacation.

For more information on Scheduled Events, take a look at our scheduled event article here.

In the scenario where a parent account is requesting to be placed in vacation mode, but still wishes to receive monthly invoices for the child account, the best approach is to use scheduled events to add and remove the data service on the parent account rather than moving that account to a vacation status.

Using Address Lists or RADIUS Groups

Address Lists or RADIUS Groups are complementary to the scheduled events for automating status changes that affect service and speed, allowing an account service to be assigned to a list. This list will communicate back to your inline device and automatically reduce the speeds being delivered to the customer account. Configuring an Address List for your vacation service automates the process of changing the speeds, while the scheduled events automate the process of switching the services.

For more information on using Address Lists, take a look at the Building Address Lists article, while further details regarding setting up scheduled events can be found in the Scheduled Events: Overview and Use Cases article

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