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Counting Wireless connections

Posted on 2015-01-07
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Last Modified: 2015-01-19
Looking for suggestions on the ability to count wireless connections/day for a business that allows free wireless.
Do I need to install a proxy server like Squid or a syslog server in order to do this?  We are using a Cisco wireless router which has no way of tracking connections other than showing current connections through a DHCP table.  Does have a syslog configuration, but does not look like that would give me what we need.

Thanks.
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Question by:Webcc
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Expert Comment

by:Kimputer
ID: 40536065
Both would be a good solution. Transparently rerouting wifi to squid, and then running a script at the end of the day on unique MAC addresses (still needs a lot of work). And depending on what the Cisco is sending to the syslog server (hopefully also something with MAC addresses). And again, at the end of the day you need a way to parse all these information.
And the last thing I can think of is some app that logs in the wifi web interface and periodically retrieves the DHCP table, logging all MAC addresses (requires you to write the code).
Solution 3 might be disastrous when you suddenly change from Cisco to another device (who knows, maybe one day it will break down, and you can't get a replacement unit), and to some degree, also solution 2. Solution 1 is probably the only one that will work with any wifi router.
All in all, a lot of time and effort is needed for this to work. How much time and money were you planning on investing? If the service is free anyway, and you're not earning anything, how much are you willing to spend for this function?
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Expert Comment

by:Craig Beck
ID: 40536323
What AP do you have?  If it has SNMP options or Syslog you can use that.  Syslog could show you each time a client associates to the AP - that would help you learn how many unique users connect per day.
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by:Webcc
ID: 40536357
Cisco RV180W.
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Craig Beck earned 2000 total points
ID: 40536750
So yes, you can definitely use Syslog to help.

If you send all wireless connection info to Syslog you can use that info to determine how many unique MAC addresses have connected.  It's not right in your face but the info is definitely there to be parsed manually.

You wouldn't get a true reflection if you just checked the DHCP table unless your lease time is 24 hours or more - but that's a bad idea for wireless connections especially if you're providing guest/free access.  It's more likely to be 1 hour lease per client so you'd only really see clients connected within that period.
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Expert Comment

by:gheist
ID: 40541408
You need to count both associations and dhcp entries. Once can run bridge (like vmware player) and single association can yield multiple DHCP IPs.
MRTG is a nice tool to overlay both
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