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There are all sorts of free WiFi hot spots in town. How do they do it? Does anyone know the "proper" way to set up a public wireless hot spot? Will a standard consumer-level access point work (allow a sufficient number of simultaneous connections)? Is 802.11n the way to go?


802.11n will be fine as long as you setup the router/AP in mixed mode so people with 802.11b and 802.11g can see your network as well. as far as consumer-level access equipment. how much area do you want your wireless network to cover. you can add multiple AP's on the same network to get the coverage you need. although keep security in mind when seting up the network. The "wireless hotspot" you are trying to create will need to be open and unsecured so make sure any computers you have connected to it are secured

Your bottleneck will be your ISP connect, so having a fast (802.11n) wireless network is silly, unless you want computers inside your network to talk fast to each other (i.e. gaming, transfer of files between people at the same location, etc.).

I don't want to do the RTFM thing, but you should probably do some research yourself. I'm pretty sure everyone is doing it a little differently, just using the same network technology.

I personally think Duluth should spend (yes, I said spend) the money to set up a Meraki mini network throughout the city or at least provide tax breaks to those who participate. Those smart MIT geeks, darn you.

I run open access points anywhere that will let me. The big thing is is if you have a business/private network and a free wireless network, the two should never meet...buy an extra IP from your ISP and plug in a hub and make two separate networks.

Also, 802.11n isn't necessary...most people have 802.11b/g cards in their laptops anyway. The speeds provided by 802.11n are only worthwhile if you're transferring large amounts of data. It's pointless for just some people checking their web mail.

What about the city funding for those internet terminals we don't see around town anymore?

Wait, there were internet terminals? Where was I?

All I can say is that if you employ people, make sure they know how to get online. I can't tell you how many times I've been somewhere that advertises free wi-fi, was confronted with the need for a password, and asked a person behind the counter, only to hear, "Uh, I don't know nuthin' 'bout computers."

If a place serves coffee & free wifi, they are not obligated to also provide free tech support...

If they advertise free wi-fi and I go there with that in mind, and I need a password to connect to their network, they should be able to provide said password. It's not tech support. It's reading a series of letters/numbers off of a piece of paper.

In lieu of "tech support" I suppose I'm just supposed to guess the password.

Well, for Charter as the ISP, it's [email protected] :)

I hope everyone knows I was just kidding. Personally, I'd pick C|-|aRt3r5ucks.

Or, in kitteh, the password...

b^[email protected],

kay thx bai.

We have T-1 and free wi-fi with no password. (Along with the bad potatoes and psuedo hip 'tude.)
I just use a cheapo Linksys from Best Buy for the customers.
We have all of our accounting computers hard wired into a network that customers can't access but every once in a while someone comes up to the counter and says they can see our music computer that we use to play Rhapsody (I know I know) in the dining room. That computer is on the public network because it has to be connected to the internet. I have a hardware device that separates us from them. But if you set up wi fi with no PW be aware that people will try to get in there and look around.
You guys as a group are kinda negative...

Hi Carla,

T-1 can run a guaranteed 1.5 Mb/s, but can be expensive and overkill. Do you share it? I'm curious because a multi-million dollar company that I worked for (in the warehouse), was skeptical in moving from 384k-frame to T-1. That was several years ago, though.

Perhaps, the T-1 was hooked up already for the PBX?

I switched to T-1 after years of problems with DSL - our internet went down all the time and that stopped our credit card swipers cold. We could get a guarantee of service with t-1. If by share it you mean can customers use it yes. It also includes our five phone lines. The cost of 2 DSl's plus 5 phone lines vs T1 was comparable . We had to have 2 DSL's because of Rhapsody and security.

Okay, thanks, makes sense. Good information!

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