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Internet software for a small coffee shop?

Posted on 2006-07-09
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Last Modified: 2008-02-01


Anyone know of reasonably priced software that could be used to charge users for internet access?
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Question by:worded
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8 Comments
 
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by:maUru
ID: 17069856
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by:kaerez
ID: 17071047
Advanced Internet Kiosk
http://www.softstack.com/advink.html
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by:HyeProfile
ID: 17072705
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cj_1969 earned 2000 total points
ID: 17072824
If you want free try Open Source software ... here's some ...
http://sourceforge.net/projects/cybera/
http://sourceforge.net/projects/anatimer

Try looking through Source Forge ... there appear to be lots of them out there ... you are looking for Internet Cafe Management or Administration programs/applications.

http://sourceforge.net/search/?type_of_search=soft&words=cafe 

if you really want cheap, look for something that will run on Linux, then your operating systems are free also and all you need is hardware.
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by:lozherbert
ID: 17073191
It depends on what you want to offer...

If you're going to install three or four of fixed computers then something like NetTime CS Lite starting at $59 could be an option.
The full NetTime CS Suite allows you to create accounts, vouchers and more.

If you want to provide adhoc wireless access then something like http://www.publicip.net/ which is free would do the job.

You also need to take into account if you're providing your own systems what kind of security you want.  Do you want to manage and charge for printing?  O&K PrintWatch is good for that: http://www.prnwatch.com/

You could implement something like IPCop (which is free) as your internet gateway which is a hardened firewall and connection sharing facility.  It also allows you to implement content filtering if you want to.  Proxy facilities are provided by Squid which are optional.  It's worth a look.  Otherwise you could install a decent ADSL / cable router which includes a firewall.

Again, depending on what you want to provide, you could just but a wireless hotspot hardware device.  Some come complete with voucher printers.  Do a google for 'wireless hotspot hardware' to find more.
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by:lozherbert
ID: 17073303
I've just found a couple of the links for the above...

The link for NetTime CS is http://www.nettimesoftware.com

Here's a typical hardware based hotspot router with a printer:
ZyXel G4100
http://www.zyxel.com/web/product_family_detail.php?PC1indexflag=20040520161256&CategoryGroupNo=A15ABF8F-56B8-45DC-9320-B125E916CBB9 

Depending on your level of technical experience, you could also get hold of certain wireless routers and update the firmware providing a hotspot solution:  http://www.wi-fiplanet.com/tutorials/article.php/3562391

If you're providing your own PCs, it's worth considering using something like Acronis True Image to take complete images of the hard drives.  That way, if they need reinstalling, you can do it quickly and easily.  You could consider tools like RecoveryMagic which restore the PC to their former self after every reboot.

Don't forget anti-spyware software and anti-virus software for the computers if you're installing your own...  AVG is good but you'll need the commercial version.  PC Tools Spyware Doctor is a really good anti-spyware program.

Lost of options!
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by:HyeProfile
ID: 17082774
worded,

Can you please elaborate on your needs... There are several methods of charging users for internet access:

You can either run local accounts where clients purchase credits directly from you (either time-based or data-based, per minute, per month, or per MB, let's say), in which case the system does not need to take care of charging the client, it just interfaces with your current system (i.e. it could be as simple as you collecting from the client  & entering the amount into the system, and it does the rest) ..

You can also use widespread systems which users can use in different locations that run the same system (basically, these are systems who use internet-based authentication & credit-management). This has the advantage of offering more clients to your establishment. There are many out there, so look around on Google for more info on those.

You can also run a simple system which locks out computers, and clients have to pay a predetermined fee initially in order for you to unlock the system for that amount of time... You take care of payment, and the system simply unlocks the workstations...

Also, what type of hardware/Os are you running? If you already have the hardware & your needs are very basic, then like cj_1969 said, you could save some money and run free sourceforge apps on Linux stations...
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