Deploying free wifi in cafe..

fieryfredo used Ask the Experts™
want to provide a wifi hotspot in do i prevent inappropriate content access..are there isps,hardware or software solutions out there,can i change the WPa key regularly to prevent neighbours/non customers sponging of it?Uk based..might consider including free access with any sit in customer otherwise pay for the WPA/WEP key?
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Craig BowmanIT Services Manager

This can easily be done when logging into the interface of your wireless  router.   You could change the wpa/wep keys on a routine like once a week or something to prevent someone from using the same wpa/wep key at a later time.  

To keep this idea secure, this would be a great idea for your business.  I would however still keep the whole wireless network secure with wpa or wep and have the "sit in customer" still have to come to you to ask you for the keys.  Leaving some type of free account could still be easily abused and this would cover all the bases for you.

ok, you are requesting a lot but it is possible. The cheapest solution is a DD-WRT capable router. That will allow you to setup the wifi hotspot but it may not be able to setup the content filtering you require. A better solution is something like a watchguard firewall with a webblocker subscription. It will provide a full firewall, subscribed content management but not the pay wifi solution. If you combine both you will have alll the features you need. One advantage of going this route is you will not require a PC running full time.  

have a look at

you can get small versions. And will make managing clients easy. It will also filter so they don't download and waste away your bandwidth.

Another solution might be to use something from tomizone
You can actually get a ROI from tomizone.
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Cisco provide a  device that allows you decide on the range of your wireless network. you could set it up so it just reaches the farstest points of your business. this would hopefully reduce leaching.

If you have an old PC you could also install Smoothwall ( and install a mod calls Dans Gaurdian. This allows you to filter web requests and blocks inappropriate content based on preset rules and any custom rules you wish to add.

You will have to check with the T&C on smoothwall as I believe it may only be free for personal use, and I'm not sure if what you would be using it for would be covered under this.

The cisco device/s would also cost a bit some it depends how much you wish to invest on this.

An easy solution to stop people leaching all the time is to siply turn the router off when you are not on there!
Some carriers do offer content filtering on thier firewall solutions. Check your area for carrier based "Managed Service Providers". Some can even provide the wireless Access point as part of the deal. This would make deployment and maintenance extremely easy and the costs are usually better than 3rd party firewall solutions brought in on top of the carrier services. These "Managed Services" are growing quickly so if your area does not have this now it may not be too long before it shows up.

These Managed Solutins are always up to date, usually enterprise class firewall, and the monthy cost is usually similar to the cost of the content filtering license of other 3rd party solutions. And often the support teams of the carrier solutions have no less than 10 times the man power of other 3rd party IT Support companies.

simply use  a linksys wireless router, hide the ssid and set the wep2 personal key and ur done!


Most if not all suggested solutions would have worked but this one is all round better proposal of how to address it.

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