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Building a Wide-area Linux-based Wireless Network, part 3 - page 2

Setting up the CoovaOM Captive Portal

  • June 18, 2009
  • By Eric Geier

Open-Mesh doesn't include a Web filter, however, you can use third-party solutions. For example, OpenDNS is free and very easy to set up on the router, and it applies to all the hotspot users. If users are paying for access in their apartment you might not want to filter the Internet, however, if offering free access or in a public area, you should consider filtering.

To use OpenDNS, go to their site, sign-up for an account, and configure the filtering settings. Then login to the Open-Mesh Dashboard, click the Advanced tab, and type in the OpenDNS IP (208.67.222.222) for the Alternate Nameserver IP. Then save the changes.

If the Internet connection for the mesh network is using a dynamic or changing IP address (which is the case for most residential and small business connections), you need to download the OpenDNS Updater. Install this utility on a computer that will be powered on most of the time, so when the Internet IP changes, OpenDNS will be notified and the filtering will continue to work.

Many routers include a dynamic DNS feature which does the updating, so you don't have to worry about leaving a computer on in order to keep the IP service updated. Even though the Open-Mesh routers don't support this, you might be able to use another router. For example, if you have a different router (maybe for private access) on the same Internet connection, you can probably use it instead

of having to download and install the updater utility. Log onto the web-based configuration utility and see if it has the feature, usually called Dynamic DNS and in the misc or advanced settings.

Install the Nodes, Test, and Enjoy

Now that you have everything configured the way you want it, you can install the mesh nodes. Keep the tips from Part 1 in mind and refer to the Open-Mesh guide for help on designing and installing your mesh network. Once everything is in place, be sure to test the network. Walk around with a laptop and check the connection from areas where users will be surfing. Plus you should check the Network Status details in your Dashboard for any problems. Finally, get the word out about your open source Wi-Fi mesh network, and enjoy.

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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