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How to set up a pay per use WiFi network?

Last response: in Wireless Networking
December 5, 2002 4:30:08 PM

Hello, I am interested in setting up a wireless network in a coffeeshop owned by a friend of mine. I have a few questions here:

1. what hardware would be necessary? obviously the router, but where do access points come into the equation for extending the range?

2. how would I go about distributing time to paying users? I am obviously going to need to set up a firewall of some sort, but I have no experience in this.

3. Any good sites to learn more about how to set up the neccesarry security measures?

4. Does anyone know of any programs for assigning users time restricted access?

Basically I am being asked to help (which in this case basically means do it for him, but I am interested to learn how) set up an internet cafe without computers provided. I am thinking he will run in an ADSL line of some sort and charge users by the hour.

Also, lastly, the idea has come up to rent out something like those USB wireless cards to laptop owners without WiFi? Anyone have any experiance/advice about these?

Thanks in advance for any help that anyone can provide.

More about : set pay wifi network

December 5, 2002 10:45:04 PM

couple ways of doing it, one would be to use the mac address filtering features built into most wireless gateways. that would require a lot of administrative overhead. or you could set up a domain with a proxy server, just set up several domain users and activate the accounts when people pay.

how do you shoot the devil in the back? what happens if you miss? -verbal
December 6, 2002 7:32:15 PM

well, the mac address idea would work, but I am only interested in helping him establish this thing, not run it thereafter. I would like to be able to set him up with a way to assign timed availability to people using either the computer he already uses as a cash register (some windows based app) or maybe us an old PII machine with a KVM switch or something if you think stability might be an issue here.

I kind of want to make it work like a normal internet cafe does, except without the computers provided? DOes anyone know how the whole starbucks thing worked?

Anyways, any ideas are greatly appreciated as this is an area I know very little about and would like to even find a good sight to read up on the technology involved if anyone knows of any?

thanks again
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December 9, 2002 12:51:52 PM

I suppose the absolute minimum would be an access point, PC and broadband interface (cable modem, say). You wouldn't necessarily use a router as such

Depending on the size of the place, you *might* need more than one access point. It'd need a site survey to say either way.

You can do a real manual setup, and just arbitrate by MAC address as people ask, and count the minutes.

Normally, you'd setup radius authentication and accounting to handle this; fairly straightforward, but you'd need a good radius server for the PC. You could cope without any particular firewalling, as theres only the one PC at risk from hacking, if you wished. Or make it more automated by setting up a landing-page system with login (where you hand out passwords), or use SIM authentication (which would need operator agreements, so probably a good few steps beyond sane)
December 13, 2002 7:17:26 PM

The landing page system sounds most like what Im looking for. How would I find out more about how to set that up?

Also, one access point should be fine as it a fairly small place with no big walls or obstrubtions beyond the glass seperating the inside from the small patio.

I really would like to find an application of some sort that makes the whole thing a pretty intelligence-free-operation so that minimum wage employees can rent out time to customers without any real formal training or computer knowledge. Any ideas in this respect?

thanks again for everybodys help