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Controlling access to a wireless network via web page login

Posted on 2007-11-30
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I've just been asked to draw up plans for a wireless network for a church-based collegiate student center. The students want an increased ability to access the Internet componets of thier classes while 'hanging out'; the individual in charge wants to block 'objectionable' sites, and no one wants a completely open network, which means using authentication of one kind or another.

1. I'm looking at places like the University of Houston where a student connects to the wireless network, opens a web browser, gets directed to a given web page, and 'logs in' to the network. How is something like this accomplished? (See this link - http://www.uh.edu/infotech/php/template.php?network_id=36 - for a more complete description of what I'm talking about).

2. Blocking this site or that on one computer is easy enough. How would we block large numbers of sites for any user on the network?

Please be as detailed as you like in your response. It may be over my head, but (1) I want to learn this, right down to the details, and (2) I've got people who can explain it to me.

My thanks in advance for your help with this.

Gary
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Question by:willisgt
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mdefalco earned 100 total points
ID: 20386435
Are you trying not to spend money? Because, buying a sonicwall wireless firewall, like a tz190w would work perfectlly. I work for a consulting company on Cape Cod and do this for schools, and for some of our cities in MA. It is very easy, and not too expensive.

** removed by b0lsc0tt **

Jim
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by:wizengamot
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ID: 20386479
I agree that sonicwall would do the trick, however there are free solutions available, one that comes to mind is ipCop with the urlFilter add-on.  This firewall/urlfilter solution is relatively easy to install and the hardware requirements are not great so just about any old computer lying round would run it properly.  I have setup my own ipCop and it runs perfectly on an old P200 with 32 mb of memory.  You'll want something more for a larger network like your describing so I would give it a current computer and you should have no problems (what I mean by current is anything bought within the last two to three years)

The sites you need are:
http://ipcop.org/
http://www.urlfilter.net/
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by:mdefalco
ID: 20386498
Hey, that's cool, I didn't know that was out there, I am going to check it out,

Thanks wizengamot!
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by:mhs85
mhs85 earned 100 total points
ID: 20390290
Hey willisgt,

One way to accomplish this if you don't have a spare linux server available, would be the use of some hotspot software.  In the past I have setup a wireless network for a friend where he wanted his employees to be able to login to the wireless network via a webpage, as you had suggested.  The software I used was called Antamedia Hotspot.  It is meant for use in a Cyber Cafe, but I believe that it will accomplish a great deal of what you want done.  You can find more information here: http://www.antamedia.com/
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by:wally2k7
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ID: 20395420
I agree with mhs85, There are lot's of linux based apps out there specifically designed for this purpose, the one I know of and have seen in use is Zone CD a bootable linux OS specifically designed for sharing a hotspot in the way described.

for more information on this look at www.publicip.net

I highly reccomend this sort of solution, very very cheap, extremely user friendly and above all extremely effective and so easy to set up. Everything you want and need.

Hope this helps,

Regards, Rich
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by:pulkit1982
pulkit1982 earned 100 total points
ID: 20433626
Theres a very good solution available in Cisco - Wi Mesh technology, Which uses a Cisco Wireless LAN controller and Light weight access points.
Please go through the documuent provided in the cisco website. You will come to know the technology..
Thanks
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by:Computer101
ID: 20953266
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