• Hi all,
    I'm new to the forum and want to see if anyone could point me to a good source to learn about creating a wireless access point. I have a home wireless system (Linksys) but I don't have any knowledge of how to set up a secure system for a new coffee shop I'm opening.

    Could someone point me in the right direction where I can get educated on the hardware and software that I will need?


  • When you say "secure" system, what do you mean? Do you want your clients to have to pay for the access or get it for free? Do you want you and your employees to be troubleshooting issues or do you want it maintenance free (ok, no such thing).

    Backing up a bit, here is another question. Is the wireless network for the business or for the patrons of the business? That has a lot to do with it.

    If it is for the patrons of the business, the wireless networks that I have seen in coffee shops are relatively wide open from a security perspective. If you were to use general wireless encryption (WEP) you can deter general passers by from accessing free Internet, but then you would have to give your WEP key to every customer which is a pain and negates any perceived security.

    If you do have your wireless wide open (no security) then make sure that it is independent of any computer that you use for business.

    If you want some help on it, I will do what I can. I know a decent amount about wireless for your application, but there are others in this forum that makes me look like I'm in 2nd grade.

    Feel free to message me privately and I'll see what I can do. Also, update your location on your profile so we know where you are! :)


  • Thanks for the reply, if we are telling what our experience in Wireless is, then I'm still in diapers. I opened my Linksys, plugged it in and enabled WEP and MAC filtering for my laptop only... That's about as far as my experience goes.

    I updated my profile :)

    I think I would like a system that is like some of the hotels I have stayed in. They have a web page that comes up and has the user put in some type of passoword, then it authenticates them for 24hrs to use the system (lease an IP) or something like that. I'm thinking that way I can change the password every couple days and encourge people to buy something to get the new password.

    The system will be strictly for patrons and I will not have a "business" pc plugged into it. I would not make the patrons pay.

    But I would also settle for "free" internet to all that want it if the cost is much less than a systme described above.

    Either way I assume that I will need some hardware and I'm not sure if a standard Linksys wireless router would be sufficient??? I have one in my house and it says it supports many wireless users. Or do I need a Wireless Access Point? What is the difference?

    I'm a pretty quick learner as far as this stuff goes but I really am starting at square one on Wireless, especially when it comes to a business.

  • You are going to have to setup a RADIUS server for Authentication, Authorization, & Accounting.

    You will need to purchase an Access Point (AP) that supports RADIUS. You also want to make sure the RADIUS server you purchase supports your AP.

    Here are a couple of vendors for Radius wifi hotspots. Just do a search for Radius wifi hotspots on google.

    Your question about the difference between an AP and your linksys wireless router.

    Your linksys has a router and AP in one device. If you did not have this, you would need to purchase a AP and router.

  • is a great Radius server that is VERY easy. But the client needs to be loaded onto your customers laptop. It's cheap and easy. But gives you the enterprze level of radius. YOu will be protecting your Customers and your self.

    Traversing RF LLC

  • PhilM:

    Certainly the suggestions before will get you to where you want to go. However, there is another approach you can take if you personally (I'm guessing you don't have an IT staff) don't want to deal with the expense and maintenance of servers and extra equipment, then there are serveral turnkey hotspot providers out there where they send you (usually) an all-in-one WiFi device with the additional capabilities to create a 'wall of gardens', which is that web page you've seen at hotels and airports. Also, that's valuable real estate for you to merchandise/advertise as well.

    Here are some of the providers I've worked with:
    AuthDirect (part of ICOA)
    ask for Dennis
    ask for Steven Gin

    It wont hurt to get a quote from them.

    As for the equipment, you could try to pick up an all-in-one unit that does this like a Colubris (probably the easiest to setup and use). Also, all/most of these are solid state devices, getting used ones from eBay, et al. isn't a bad idea. Don't waste the extra money for G; just stick with B (as in 802.11b).

    Hope that helps.

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