Wireless Network Administration: Setting Up a Hotspot - dummies

Wireless Network Administration: Setting Up a Hotspot

So you own a little café and you think it would be cool to set up a hotspot for your customers to use, eh? If you want to set up a free hotspot, here’s all you need:

  • A reliable broadband Internet connection. DSL, cable, or T-1 will work nicely.

  • A wireless access point. For a small hotspot, a simple consumer-grade access point (like a Linksys wireless router) will do fine.

  • A sign to tell your customers about the hotspot and how to connect to it.

Of course, there’s a lot more to it than this. Here are a few additional issues to consider:

  • You need a firewall to prevent your customers from poking around inside your private network. The wireless access point should be outside of the firewall.

  • No matter how good your sign is, your customers will have questions about how to connect. So in addition to how to make a mocha latte, you need to teach your employees how to help customers connect to your hotspot.

  • Your broadband provider may not appreciate it if you let the general public access the Internet through your wireless access point. In fact, your service contract may prohibit it. As a result, you probably need to pay a bit more to share your broadband connection with the general public.

If you want to charge for hotspot access, you’ve got a lot more work to do. In particular, you need to devise a way to charge your customers. The easiest way to do this is to purchase a single-box solution that includes the necessary wireless devices as well as software that handles the authentication and billing.