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Setting up a Linux-based Open-Mesh Wireless Network, Part 1 - page 2

Hardware and Software

  • May 26, 2009
  • By Eric Geier

Once you have the initial design complete and the hardware in hand, you can sign-up for a Dashboard account on Open-Mesh's website and logon.

This control panel is hosted for free and will let you configure all the network and node settings. You can even do this remotely. The nodes check for (and apply if needed) setting updates from the Open-Mesh servers about every 5 minutes.

First you probably want to configure most of the settings before plugging in the nodes. On the General tab of the Dashboard (see Figure 1), you'll likely want to change at least the time zone settings, display name, and the email address for notifications.

figure 1
figure 1

 

On the SSID #1 tab (see Figure 2), you'll want to at least change the network name. This is the name users will see on their computer when searching for the public network. We'll go back to the other settings later, after we have the basic components and features working.

figure 2
figure 2

 

On the SSID #2 tab (see Figure 3), configure the private network settings, if desired; otherwise disable it.

figure 3
figure 3

 

On the Advanced tab (see Figure 4), make sure you change the root password for SSH. As they mention about the Access Point Isolation feature, it prevents user-to-user communication. I recommend this always be enabled if the public SSID #1 is open for visitors. If you want to share a printer, look into sharing printers over the Internet using the Internet Printing Protocol (IPP), on either a Linux or Windows machine. This way you could set up any public workstations with the shared printer over the Internet (port 80) rather than the typical sharing ports that will be blocked. You could also inform visitors of this printer access, and possibly add a link to the splash page for easier configuring. If you are actually using the public SSID for only private use, however, its fine to disable Access Point Isolation because you probably want to share files between computers.

Adding Nodes to Your Network (Dashboard)

Now you can add the nodes to your Dashboard account. Select the General tab and click the Add/Edit Nodes button. A Google map will pop-up, centered on the location you entered when signing up for the Dashboard account. You want to move to the actual area where you're located, using the Satellite mode to get an image of the buildings and area. Now click on the map where you are planning to install a node. A dialog box will appear, where you can give it a name and input the node's MAC address.

figure 4
figure 4

 

After the nodes are added, you can view their status and details by clicking on their markers. Additionally, you can click the Network Status link in the upper right corner for more details, such as Figure 5 shows.

figure 5
figure 5

 

Stay tuned--in the next part, we'll fiddle with the internal splash page, a third-party captive portal, and a web filtering solution. Plus we'll finally install the nodes and test coverage

Eric Geier is an author of many computing and networking books, including Home Networking All-in-One Desk Reference For Dummies (Wiley 2008) and 100 Things You Need to Know about Microsoft Windows Vista (Que 2007).

 

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