We understand that some schools and institutions like to give their users a certain amount of data per week, or per month, and when they run out, start charging money for extra data. With Sonar, you can effectively manage and control the cost and the user's data usage through the GUI, as well as print invoices for users who have been charged for extra data.

 

BILLING CONTROL


In the Sonar GUI, under System -> Billing Control, you can set up how much you want to charge users per MB. Click Add New, and fill out the appropriate details. For downloads, you want to look at the Rate In ($/MB)field. This is how much money you want to charge per MB. For example, if a user pays $5 for 1GB worth of data usage, the Rate per MB would be 0.005 cents per megabyte used.

The next field you want to look at is the Cost Limit. This is how much dollars a user would have to start off with before they start getting charged extra dollars for more data. This limit is completely up to you. You can give them however much to start off with as you desire ($10, 20$, etc). 


APPLYING BILLING TO GROUPS


Once you have set up the Billing rates in Billing Control, you can now apply the setting to a group. In the Sonar GUI, go to Groups and double-click the group you want to apply the billing quota to, then click Settings -> Billing. Here, you can set the rate, the cycle and the charging policy. 

  1. Click the Ellipsis button to assign a Billing Rate to the group, it should be the one you just created in Billing Control. 
  2. The Billing Cycle will determine how often you want the rate to reset (weekly, monthly, etc).
  3. Data Threshold determines if you want the billing rates to charge downloads, or both downloads and uploads. 
  4. Effective Limit is how much you set the Cost Limit in the billing rate to.
  5. Data Accounting Source is whether you want traffic going through the proxy to be charged, or certain ports. This is typically always set to Proxy Accounting. 
  6. Proxy Charging Policy determines whether you want to charge users for data downloaded from the Cache as well as all other data, or just data from the internet (not from the cache). 




TESTING THE BILLING RATES


Log in to a user under the Group you applied the Billing Rate to. Start download some files from the internet (several large test files composing of 1-2GB should suffice). You can monitor a users usage in the GUI by going to Users and finding the username of the user. Click the Usage tab at the top to see how much they have been using. Cost Used ($) will indicate how much data they've used in dollars. This will increase as they download or browse the internet more. Cost Credit ($) will show how much the user has paid AFTER they have reached their maximum Cost Limit.   


USER PAYMENT


If you find that a user has used up all their data and requires more, they, of course, will pay you an amount (however much you charge them) and that amount will need to be added to their username. You can do this in the Sonar GUI, under System -> User Payment.

  1. Find the username of the user (you can do a search using the Search Bar).
  2. Click "Pay". This will bring up a new window. In the Pay Amount ($) field you can enter in the amount of money the user has paid. 
  3. Click Apply. This will add the extra amount to the user. You can also click Print Invoice for hard copy records. 



If you go back into Users in the Sonar GUI, find the user and click on the Usage tab, you'll see the amount you just added appear in the Cost Credit ($) field.