Imagine a business where employees need secure, full, access to the internet. At the same time, imagine that this business needs to provide customers and vendors with access. But, it must keep its proprietary information out of the hands of these visitors. And it needs to limit their access to websites with questionable content.
A similar need might arise in a home environment with children. Perhaps parents need full internet access while children only need access to websites that the parent approves of.
This post is the first of a series of posts that describe a method of accomplishing this.
The network system diagram shown below implements this system on a small-scale, as needed in a small office or home:
Internet connectivity is provided by an ISP such as AT&T DSL, Time Warner Cable, or through a wireless internet provider such as Clear. Connection to the internet is through a modem.
An Ethernet cable connects the modem to a wireless router. The router shown above is a Linksys WRT54GL Router. The WRT54GL is certainly not the most sophisticated wireless router on the market. But, it is one of the most widely used wireless routers, has been on the market for more than 6 years, and has a track record of solid, reliable, performance. This router is configured to provide unfiltered access to the internet. Any computer or other WiFi device connected to it has full internet access. Communications between this WRT54GL and the devices connected to it are encrypted so that interception is very difficult.
The second Linksys WRT54GL, the one on the right, is connected to the first wireless router through an Ethernet Cable. It is configured so that it can be accessed without an encryption key or password. This means that data transferred through it is not secure and can be easily intercepted. However, data security is usually not desired for public internet hotspots. (If desired, encryption could be added to limit access).
This second wireless router filters the internet so that undesired websites are not accessible.
This basic system can be easily expanded by adding more wireless routers. An expanded system can provide:
- Enterprise level wireless coverage for medium size businesses
- Hotspot coverage over a larger area, such as an apartment complex, shopping mall, or outdoor area
- Simultaneous filtered and non-filtered internet access
- Multiple levels of filtering for different types of users
I am happy to help your organization with a custom or turn-key wireless system design. However, subsequent posts will explain in detail how to set up these key components of a multi-privilege level WiFi system.