I am not a computer tech graduate, nor have I ever attended a computer class. I am just a normal person that use to have a job in a seasonal RV resort that allowed me to spend most of my time on the computer. A good six months a year during off season I had the chance to explore, tweak and fix to my heart’s desire. All of that gave me a basic knowledge of computers and networking. So when my manager asked if I could put in a hotspot, I eagerly stepped up to the task.
How I Set Up Our WiFi Hotspot – And Protected Our Network
For our project in the resort, we decided to make our WiFi service free to all guest. We wanted it to be accessible in the office, tv room, laundry room and poolside. My first step was to find a way to protect our networked computers and information on them in the office, but utilize our buisness class broadband internet service that we already pay for. Too bad my company does not get ACP Benefit, if they have those installed then i would not bother doing this at all
My search brought me to ZoneCD , a free open source software that allowed me to install it on an old computer that was not being used anymore. First thing I did was download the software to one of the computers on my network. I then burned the iso image to CD.
What Hardware Do You Need? – All you need is a few simple items.
This software requires a separate computer (acting as a gateway) to run between the access point and the wired network.
- A computer with an Intel-compatible CPU, Minimum 128 MB Ram, Bootable CD-Rom drive, Floppy drive or USB thumb drive, and two Network Interface Cards.
- Any WiFi compliant wireless router.
- A standard router for internet connection and firewall.
- A high-speed internet connection
- This software does not require you to keep a monitor, keyboard or mouse attached.
How I Set Up The Hardware
I used an old tower and placed it next to one of my networks client computers. I placed it there so that I could utilize the monitor, which is used during the first boot up, but not needed afterwards. The only thing I had to add to the tower was another Network Interface card which was very easy to do. I used the old keyboard and mouse, but they do not need to stay hooked up after booting. I plugged the tower into an existing battery back-up box to protect it from power surges.
Configuring And Connecting The Routers
You will need to configure your wireless router by logging into your routers site (see instructions that came with your product). Turn off the DHCP and assign a static ip like 10.10.10.2. Also you will want to secure the router by giving it a new password.
Next connect the tower to the existing cable router on your network. Then connect your tower to the wireless router using one of the four Lan ports, not the Wan port. I bought 50 feet of networking cable so that I could position the wireless router in a more advantageous place.
Now Your Ready To Boot Up
You will need to set up your Master Account and User account on the ZoneCD website. Now make sure that your tower is configured to boot from CD. Put the CD in the tray and close. Have handy your floppy disk or usb thumb drive. Follow the Boot instructions on the screen.
You should now be able to access your hotspot and start sharing it with others!