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Build your own wireless@hotspot - for business & home

Why would hotspot be toll? Why not give it for free to your patron? Just not a long time ago, people came up with many different ways to charge for WiFi access, to a large extent inherited from the pay phone service. Flat charge, time based usage charge or coupon are typical charging methods that require a triple A server (AAA - Accounting, Authentication and Administration), a hotspot access gateway and access points as basic network components to build the hotspot.

These items are obviously not cheap even though small scale deployment could use an integrated hotspot device that squeezes the AAA server, hotspot gateway and access point into it plus a ticket printer for making the coupons on demand. Despite the costly investment, many people are able to sustain the profitability until one day the shop owner next door gives WiFi access for free.

So is this really a free lunch? It looks as a complimentary service but really this smart shop owner is able to attract more traffic to his business and the patron may not realize that the hotspot service is part of the bill. The free access has no doubt offered the convenience and simplicity of WiFi access without going through the registration process at the service provider, credit card payment or queuing at the cashier to purchase the coupon.

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Unit Price

    Package Contents of the Hotspot Starter Kit:

Buffalo WHR-G54S 802.11b/g High Power Access Point
1 unit
+27dBm (500mW) 009XT 802.11b RF amplifier
1 unit
+15dBi Omni antenna with U rings for pole mounting
1 unit
6ft LMR-195 RF cable (RP-SMA to SMA) from ap to amp
1 unit
10ft LMR-195 RF cable (N-male to RP-SMA) from omni antenna to amp
1 unit
   Hotspot and Antenna Installation:

The Kit comes with two RF cables, one attaches the Buffalo access point to the amplifier and the other runs from the amplifier to the Omni antenna. You may determine the coverage area and locate a sweet spot to mount the Omni antenna on the wall. Typically, the kit will shall cover a floor space of 3000 sq ft in direct line-of-sight. In case your have a large area you'll need to segment the floor space into a number of cells and set up a hotspot kit in each of them.

The Buffalo access point comes with a CD-ROM drivers and installation manual will walk you through the set up of the access point, SSID (i.e. the name of your hotspot) and connecting to the broadband modem provided by your ISP. If your hotspot involves multiple access points, you might need a bigger broadband pipe for termination to cope with the anticipated traffic.

   Hotspot Security Measures:

Since the hotspot is offered in a public domain, there are several basic security features that needs to be put in place. The Buffalo access point offers a Privacy Separator feature that enables or disables communication between wireless clients. As the hotspot client users could be totally strangers to one another, you could turn on Privacy Separator so that every wireless client associated with the hotspot will not be able to talk to one another.

The Buffalo access point has also got a Packet Filter that blocks certain types of IP protocols, source & destinations IP addresses and Port numbers to prevent access to certain web sites, bit torrent peer-to-peer downloads, etc. In general, it is expected that most hotspot client users might want to perform some basic and simple online tasks such as web browsing, web email, MSN, ICQ, Skype, stock monitoring, etc. plus perhaps connecting to their corporate emails and LANs via VPN (Virtual Private Network). Other large file download or bandwidth demanding streaming activities shall be restricted.

It is important to offer the hotspot service as a separate network from the office LAN for obvious reasons. Never terminate the hotspot traffic to your office servers network for the sack of saving the operating cost even though the office bandwidth consumption is low. Always apply for a separate broadband modem from your ISP for the hotspot service.

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