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  1. #1
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    Default Wireless network for internet connections

    I was wondering if anyone had tried to set up a wireless network to be used amongst nearby neighbours with a server that was in one persons house and accessible only by password to stop unwanted persons accessing it. The idea is to get a really high speed connection and share the cost among the neighbours. I can't imagine that Telecom would like it but what is the difference between that arrangement and a home network with four or five computers accessing it?

    Interested to hear of your thoughts.

    Peter A

  2. #2
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    Default Re: Wireless network for internet connections

    I say its a bloody good idea if you or one of neighbours is able to get full 3.5Mbps download and 512kps upload from Telecom. Better if you can get even more. You would to consider how much you would like to spend. With the setup I have in mind, the costs are aboslutely minimal regarding hardware and s/w needed to get the setup going.

    I am thinking that you should setup up an old PIII or P4 as a linux RADIUS server. This will take care of your authentication problem as neighbours on wireless will need to enter username and pwd to access the service. (depending on how well RADIUS is setup, you can even setup an hourly billing system to hook into it - sorry I'm getting a bit carried away)
    You will need a good wireless router (ADSL wireless would be best - less wires) and a good external antenna. This antenna will be one you need to research on, as different config's give different range. I have heard of yaagi antenna's etc.

    The only downside with the above system is that if you are new to linux (i have just been tinckering with it) then setting up RADIUS might take a few painful nights with a lot of research. The most money will go to buying ADSL wireless router and external antenna. RADIUS security will need to be tight as well.

    What you are doing is not new at all, schools around the country have this exact setup to provide wireless LAN and internet access to students on school grounds. I have friends who did their computing project setting up what you have described. When you get it all together and it works, it works beautifully... the only downside is that you will be totally reliant on the ISP to provide full bandwidth and throughput for ADSL. (I have a 3.5MBps and am currently getting download rates of 50kilobytes/s - )

    Telecom shouldn't have a problem with your setup as you are paying them to provide you with the ADSL service, how you share it amongst friends is and should be your business.

  3. #3
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    Default Re: Wireless network for internet connections

    Quote Originally Posted by PeterA
    I can't imagine that Telecom would like it but what is the difference between that arrangement and a home network with four or five computers accessing it?

    Interested to hear of your thoughts.

    Peter A
    There is no difference I can see between your proposed setup and a normal home wireless LAN. Infact the cheapest and probably unsafest option for setup is exactly like a home wireless network.

    Your wireless router will have security setup on it. Something like WPA-PSK encryption where anybody that wants to join your wireless will be prompted to enter this key. This key will be the same for everyone. You do not need a RADIUS server in this case. Why i call this unsafe will be obvious if you do some research on how RADIUS works. With a RADIUS everyone can have a unique logon and unique password, and can be easily tracked. With normal encryption such as WPA-PSK, there is not username, just a single shared password. So if one of your neighbours decides to share this password then anyone who knows it will have access to wireless.
    This can also happen with RADIUS if someone were to reveal their username and pwd but option can be setup where simultanous logins by one username is blocked. A known method of combating this problem with WPA-PSK is to implement MAC Address filtering, to do this, everyone you want on wireless will need to supply you with a list of their wireless network cards MAC address. This is meant to be unique for evey network card in the world. However again if someone is determined enough, spoofing a MAC address is not hard.

    I live in a student hostel and I have thought of charging students here to access my wireless. I have thought of setting up a scenario as your's above however with the super useless performance on my so called broadband that is not possible. I would strongly recommend you do it though as i think it is an excellent idea for saving money. To your neighbours you will be their ISP.

  4. #4
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    Default Re: Wireless network for internet connections

    Thanks for your input, much appreciated, esp. all the technical stuff. I will look further into it.

    Peter A

  5. #5
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    Default Re: Wireless network for internet connections

    I am thinking that you should setup up an old PIII or P4 as a linux RADIUS server.
    Thats overkill, get a P2 with 128mb ram and install smoothwall linux.

    The only downside with the above system is that if you are new to linux (i have just been tinckering with it) then setting up RADIUS might take a few painful nights with a lot of research.
    Smootwall needs no previous linux experience, it takes 10min to install. The guide is VERY good. You can see how much other people download, set limits on downloading.

    Make sure you have some good linux supported hardware.

  6. #6
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    Default Re: Wireless network for internet connections

    here is one prebuilt. All you need is a wireless network card...

  7. #7
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    Default Re: Wireless network for internet connections

    Thanks for all the help guys, you are rapidly convincing me this is the way to go. An ideal system for people that live in apartments perhaps with the aerial up in the roof area.

    Great stuff.

    Regards
    Peter A

  8. #8
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    Default Re: Wireless network for internet connections

    Quote Originally Posted by Prescott
    Thats overkill, get a P2 with 128mb ram and install smoothwall linux.

    Smootwall needs no previous linux experience, it takes 10min to install. The guide is VERY good. You can see how much other people download, set limits on downloading.

    Make sure you have some good linux supported hardware.
    I wasn't aware of the package, man I should have used this forum when I was helping my friends with their project. Thanks for advice, I will have a go at Smoothwall as well.

    And Peter, if you are in apartments and neighbours intending to share are right next to you on either side then probably be best to get a wireless card or router first just to test range of the signal. If it does the job then you wouldn't need to dish out for a amplified antenna, if it doesn't well a compatible antenna should just "bolt on" to your setup.

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