View Full Version : Setting up a public wireless network

Nathan H
07-14-2008, 01:05 AM
Hi All,

I had a query from my local Pub

How much will it cost to set up a free wireless internet access in his place

The same as Mcdonalds have here in the UK.

My question is firstly ANYONE done this before?

What would i need to set this up?

and finally how would I set this up?

Any help will be much appreciated!!:D

07-14-2008, 02:51 AM
Well.... this seems a little too obvious, so maybe I'm missing something....

You need internet service provided to the building....
and...you need an open wireless access point. That's about it.

07-14-2008, 03:10 AM
May want to check with their ISP to see if they have to pay a higher commercial rate.

07-14-2008, 03:40 AM
Well I wouldnt say it's a obvious question. I mean of course you need a ISP and Wireless router, but what about a filter of some sort. Do they plan to restrict the bandwidth ? There are a definetly more things going on then just a ISP and wireless router.

07-14-2008, 03:52 AM
I mean of course you need a ISP and Wireless router, but what about a filter of some sort. Do they plan to restrict the bandwidth ? There are a definetly more things going on then just a ISP and wireless router.

Ok, sure...more detail.
If they're on a network already and run any of their business stuff on the same network, you should find a router that segments the network, or manually subnet the existing network so it's not available to those on the wireless. On the same line of thought, you should probably restrict people on the wireless from accessing other computers also on the wireless.

You can also find a good router that allows for bandwidth restriction, if needed.

As for filtering, you can set them up with OpenDNS on the router.

A router that'll run DD-WRT can do all of that. Honestly, it's not a complicated task. Maybe I over-simplified it in my first post, but not by much.

This guide is a complete walkthrough for using DD-WRT routers as a hotspot. Very easy to set up.

07-14-2008, 07:28 AM
I was going to recommend running DD-WRT and Chillispot, but looks like someone beat me to it. If you're offering a free wifi spot then you can get a free radius server service, but if you want to charge typically they take a percentage and handle all the billing and stuff.

By running that setup you'll be isolating the current network from the new hotspot and also be able to limit things like bandwidth and total time they're allowed to use it.

As far as what to charge I was planning on $250 plus additional charges if I have to run cable. Most place will be small enough you won't have to worry about running any cable. You can get a Linksys WRT54GL for $60~ shipped. It will probably be the cheapest option since you need the extra memory for chillispot. I figure it takes an hour or two for setup and there is always the risk that you'll brick the router so charge a little extra for that.

Depending on your market you might be able to charge much more than that. Most businesses would see $250 as pocket change for something that could potentially draw in customers and keep them there for a while. Plus most places already have broadband for their credit card processing so it's not really adding any overhead for them.

07-14-2008, 08:13 AM
Linksys WRT54GL with DD-Wrt is probablt the best way to go. I think Chillspot is know known as Coova. Doing it this way, you'll have to manage the billing your self or you could use a company like SkyRove ( http://www.skyrove.com/ ), they manage the billing, but they take a percentage of the profit, just google and you'll find other companies that do the same, maybe at a betetr rate. Oh, they also use WRT54GL's.

I haven't setup a paid hotspot/captive portal before, but I do have a WRT54GL that I use for traffic splitting & routing, because here in ZA we pay alot for International access while local usage is a bit cheap, so I run multiple adsl accounts (local & international) and my linksys establishes the connection and routes traffic based on its locations (loc or intl), this is done through a startup script.