Wireless router setup with proxy like wifi spots at coffee shops

Posted on 2007-11-26
Last Modified: 2008-06-13
Does anyone know of any wireless routers that will setup an unsecure wifi but when the user connects they must log in(e-mail and password) to access the internet just like many coffee shops have setup.

Is this achievable in a router a lone? or do you have to setup a computer as a proxy server to link to the router?

Any articles, products, or useful advice is appreciated.
Question by:inimicaljords
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Expert Comment

ID: 20354567
Hi inimicaljords,
You will need a 'authentication proxy server' or firewall with radius client.

I am unaware of any Wifi access point vendors who have this feature.

Expert Comment

ID: 20355923
In Cisco We have  WLAN controllers which can divert the connection to Login page.
But thats too expensive,

Accepted Solution

wally2k7 earned 500 total points
ID: 20357334
There are a number of topics along this vain some currently in discussion, others which have been previously answered.

My personal reccomendation for this requirement would be a piece of linux software, freely availabe at

it is a version of linux bootable from the cd, you will require a spare computer dedicated to the task, and with 2 NIC's. The rest is simple setup.

The PC will authenticate users, allow you to manage and moniter all users. it's very easy to use, the website contains lots of detail, best of all??, It's free, and very easy to use.

the discussion in which I was participating and has been answered can be found here:

The discussion which is still cureently in progress and may be of interest can be found here.

Hope this is of help to you, and look forward to hearing back.

Best Regards Rich.
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Author Comment

ID: 20359482

looks like a pretty good option.  I am going to download it and test it out but had a few questions that I didn't find answers for and they have closed their forums due to spam.  

How does it save the user logins and passwords?  since its a bootable cd what is it saving to ram? or can we save it to a hard drive.  IF so, is there a way to export the e-mail accounts out of the database?

Ya we are looking for a cheaper option and the zone cd might work perfectly.  We are starting with brand new equipment.  If you know of any business class wireless routers to recommend  that would work well with zone cd, please let us know.  

Thanks everyone for the help.  We are open to all advice and suggestions.
LVL 23

Expert Comment

ID: 20362143
Yes, by all means support a linux box, my suggestion stems along the line of 'many wireless devices support VPN Clients', then why not give local lan access, until they need internet and create a VPN connection to support that. No extra hardware needed...


Expert Comment

ID: 20362279
I would get hold of a wifi router that is on the supported hardware list (check that revision number!) and load the DD-WRT firmware on it. (See ).
From there you can basically go to the Administration -> hotspot tab and setup your re-directs.
For your back-end, there are many options to choose from, but here's a couple to get you started:
Hotspot Server -
Chillispot - Now CoovaChilli at     
There's also a page on the DD-WRT page about setting this up:

Let me know if you need more details or help


Expert Comment

ID: 20390297
Hey inimicaljords,

I've set this sort of thing up once before.  This method will work if you don't have a spare linux server available, or don't want to use an exensive router/proxy server/firewall.  It requires a single computer (windows is fine)  to install software.  When I had set this up I used a program called Antamedia Hotspot.  I think that this will be a relatively inexpensive solution for you, and I personally, found it very easy to get setup!  You can find more information here:

Author Comment

ID: 20451027
wally thanks for the advice on the publicip.  We have been testing the software since you suggested it.  It works very well and is very easy to setup/install.  We now the premium service from them which gives you more customizations.  Thanks a lot to everyone who replied!

Expert Comment

ID: 20451114
Pleased to have been of assistance with you.

I have actually just today downloaded a copy of the zone cd and will be configuring it this evening as a trial for a requirement I have coming up this will be one of the first times I get to give the software a really good trial.

It is interested to hear that you are so pleased with the solution, I am looking forward to my own results.

Good Luck with everything. Hope we will cross paths again soon.

Thanks Rich

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