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  1. #1

    Question ISP Server using WiFi ??

    I am trying to put together a small wifi based ISP service. I have intermediate knowledge of Linux, but the solution to this one escapes me. Also, let me first state that I have Googled this and most of the results point to questions relating to a LAMP server, which I already know how to setup. I am most comfortable with CentOS, Debian and Ubunu but am open to other flavors if they will do the job.

    What I am putting together is similar to a campus setup or WiMax, but I will be doing it with 802.11G. The base setup will be an authentication/billing server connected via fiber to a switch that will connect to several access points which in turn will relay via repeaters. I would like to use consumer grade wireless clients or dd-wrt routers on the customer side (as compared to a cable or dsl modem). To this point I am good.

    Personally I use ClearOS as my gateway. It would be a good solution for an intranet, but I would like the service to work like a typical ISP without the user needing to actually login every time they want on the internet. I have looked at webmin and ISPconfig, but both of them seem focused on hosting rather than providing the actual internet service. I have also looked at a few internet cafe setups, but the ones I have seen require the user to install additional software which also give me more control over the computer than I want. Hence using a wireless client or router that I can use the MAC to authenticate which the user can connect their computer(s) to without having to authorize every one.

    I am even semi good to this point. However, my knowledge is limited as how to have the server do the MAC authentication. In this scenario, with my knowledge I would have to determine the exact access point they are connecting to and allow the MAC on it. I would prefer to have the MAC authentication on the server where I could activate, deactivate, throttle and adjust other settings without having to make changed to the AP's. I have played with radius a little, but am not sure if that is the solution.

    Any help is appreciated. Also this is not a commercial venture where profit will be made, so I prefer to stick with Open/Free software with minimal costs.


  2. #2
    Administrator jayd512's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2008
    Hello and Welcome!

    So you're trying to establish an actual ISP business? Branching off of an already existing net pipe? Possibly as a Tier 3? If so, have you made sure that you have all of the paperwork laid out to do so?

    I'm only asking this because I had a former co-worker try to setup a "local ISP" in his apartment complex using a router and an ad-hoc network...... he should be getting out of debt in the next 15 or 20 years.

    New users, read this first.
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    I do not respond to private messages asking for Linux help. Please keep it on the public boards.

  3. #3
    Actually what I am doing is putting together a system to provide internet service or family members that all live on a 90 acre plot of land on an indian reservation in Canada. Currently the only service available to them is limited bandwidth over WiMax. The service is shotty and if the wind blows the wrong way it goes out completely. They are starting to finally get hard lines there, but the family as a whole would pay a fortune for everyone to get it. I am hoping to get a decent pipe and spread the cost out among the family. This would provide a more reliable service at a lower cost.

    I have most of the system already designed in my head, but will expand on it here. Our house will be in an ideal location on the land to get the hardline, but not centrally located to provide a good wifi signal to everyone. I will be putting up a 40-50ft tower in the center of the plot which will run on solar power. I will have a yagi at my house directed to an access point on the tower which in turn will feed 3-4 repeaters or access points. The repeaters or access points will have the stock antenna's removed and replaced with yagi's which would be directed to each house. The houses will also have yagi's pointed at the tower. That is the backbone of the system. While I will use encryption on the wifi, I do not want that to be the only security measure as encryption gets hacked and should the key get out anyone could get on. So, I want to have a wireless router at each house that I can MAC authenticate that has a non-routeable static IP. This will allow me to log the traffic and should I receive a letter, I can pin point the source. Due to the fact I will have 3-4 access points, I would prefer the encryption to be used as the first line of defense, but should that be breached, I want the server to handle MAC authentication as well as "account management". Since this is a relatively small setup I can handle the financial end with a spreadsheet, but would like to be able to configure the bandwidth allocation and limitations from a central point. This way if I decide to expand into a commercial venture, the fundamental system is in place without having to redesign the whole thing. Also, even though it is family, I would like the ability to easily suspend service if someone does not pay their portion.

    I hope that clears it up.


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