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Router Recommendations For Public Hotspot

Discussion in 'Networking' started by edmacke, Jan 21, 2011.

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  1. edmacke

    edmacke Thread Starter

    Joined:
    Jan 13, 2009
    Messages:
    24
    The barn where my daughter boards her horse would like me to set up a wireless network for them, and I would like to know what would be a good router choice.

    I recently used 2 Linksys E1000's at home to do almost exactly what I want to do at the barn using the instructions here, so I'll probably be doing the same 2-router thing at the barn.

    I would use the E1000's again since it seems to do almost everything I want, with one important exception: its WiFi Protected Setup (WPS) can't be turned off. That's a deal-breaker.

    It is very important that the hotspot side of the network have no security, no nothing - just completely open. I want the experience for the user to go like this: turn on laptop, it sees the SSID, person says "connect to network", and they're surfing. No PINs, no passwords, no config, no hassle, no nothin'.

    On the E1000, when I disabled wireless security and tried to connect my Vista laptop (yeah, I know), I got this experience: turn on laptop, it sees network, it (apparently) detects that I'm connecting to a WPS-enabled router so it wants me to push the router's WPS button (despite the fact that the router requires NO SECURITY). I don't want to do that, so I try Vista's "Enter Password or PIN manually" link, and instead of presenting a screen to enter any info it just immediately goes into the "getting info from router" mode, where it sits for a few minutes before failing. I tried several times with different laptops and got consistent (bad) results. Pushing the WPS button worked. I simply could not connect my Vista laptop to the E1000 without pushing the WPS button when security was disabled. Ugh.

    Obviously in a public hotspot, I cannot have people going to the router and pushing some stupid button to connect, if for no other reason than the router will be inaccessible. And I don't want to have people remember a password or PIN to connect either.

    So here's my wish list for the router(s) I'm looking for (or maybe I'm looking for an "access point"???)
    • g/b/n mixed mode support
    • Works with Apple or Windows clients
    • DHCP
    • Reliable (I don't want to be constantly called to the barn to fix problems with it)
    • Ability to *disable* wireless security
    • Ability to *disable* Wifi Protected Setup or similar config utils
    • DMZ and/or port forwarding (so I can forward router 1 to router 2 for private network... see link above)
    • DDNS support would be nice
    • Largest range possible - this is definitely a tight budget here, but it's a large area to cover - might want to install wireless cameras in the pastures at some point.
    • Doesn't prohibit me from adding more devices in the future to extend range (not sure how that works...)

    Suggestions?
     
  2. edmacke

    edmacke Thread Starter

    Joined:
    Jan 13, 2009
    Messages:
    24
    OK, an update.

    I just got off a chat session with Linksys tech support, and it seems that you *can* disable WPS.

    Or, rather, Wifi Protected Setup is disabled automatically if you change your wireless security to disabled. To test his theory, I set the security to disabled and tried to connect with Vista.

    At first, it did the same crap it did before - demanding that the router's configuration button be pressed. When I didn't press it and clicked "Next", Vista tried to "retrieve settings from the router" and failed.

    But I think what was going on is that Vista was somehow saving information from previous attempts to connect to that router. I noticed on a odd dialog (that I could only find by "Customizing" an existing connection, then clicking on "Merge or delete network locations") that there were several variations of the router config. For example, my router was called "router1", and there was a "router1", "router1 2", "router1 3", etc.

    I deleted all of these.

    Then I tried to connect again. This time, it immediately came up with a message warning me against connecting to an unsecured network. Hey, that's more like it!

    I told Vista not to worry its pretty little head, and it connected to the router just fine. But it couldn't get to the internet.

    But! Then I remembered that I had set my laptop to use static IP. When I changed the adapter settings to DHCP, bam!, it connected just fine.

    So, moral of the story... the tech was right. If you set the E1000 to Wireless Security Mode = disabled, you can connect a Vista laptop to the unsecured wireless network just fine - just click past the warning about the unsecured network.

    So maybe I'll use the E1000's after all. They are cheap and will work.
     
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