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Speakeasy came through! This morning, woke up, plugged in DSL modem, and it lit up. Hooray, DSL!

Of course, it wasn't quite that simple. First, Speakeasy apparently doesn't do DHCP for its static IP customers. I liked this about MV: They did everything for me. Still, the information was on the packing slip, so I was able to put it in without a problem... except then it didn't work. Called Speakeasy support, got told that it was the wrong info. (Strange, since my userid was printed right on there...)

once I updated it, everything worked fine for about an hour, until Jenn woke up and got on dialup...

Since we don't have filters right now, that completely ruined the DSL line: 95% packet loss. (I didn't realize how neccesary those filters were.) Got Jenn offline and set everything up: the modem and router are now in her room, wireless seems to reach all over the house, wires reaching to kristan and jenn's computers. still have to work out something for zeus and hermes, but that'll be okay later, and I'm set for now.

So, the commune has internet! I plan on leaving the wireless open for the neighborhood (barring abuse), thanks to Speakeasy's TOS which supports the idea of sharing the internet. I'll probably set up a website that will advertise itself or something too. Maybe set up and move the router: smart people will try that. I dunno, what would people suggest to try and set up a community site based around people who connect to a wireless router? Is there a way to send people to a captive page when they first show up? Is there some sveasoft firmware option for things like that?

I'd really like to be able to build a free wireless "neighborhood" around our hub, so people who stop by and grab access know who's providing it, and why, rather than just thinking I'm a moron who doesn't know how to set things up. I could provide things like local copies of software using zeus, or a local wiki... hrm.

Anyone have any experience setting up non-captive portals?

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I'm suprised that the dial-up worked without the filters on the DSL. Without the filters my TiVo can't make it's daily call (not that it's hooked up much to the phone line anyway).

You can clearly near the DSL "noise" too when you pick up the phone without a filter.

Jenn did mention she had some problems dialing the first time: I guess after that, the DSL was inactive enough that she could get online okay.

Really need to find those filters now: they weren't in the box when I got to it, which probably means the children hijacked them.

I ate them.

(Not really, but whatever stole them dropped one in my room. I promise I won't eat it.)

That was the one I brought in the first day! I looked in there while you were at work last night and couldn't find it: was it hidden somewhere?

Yes, in my belly.

Or underneath some clothes.

Either way.

Chris: If you disable the router's DHCP and are okay with using a spare computer as the DHCP server, there's software called "m0n0wall" that you could use. It's a BSD-based firewall/DHCP embedded OS package that runs off a CD and stores its data to a floppy. It'll let you set up a captive portal, with whatever page content you want, and let you code hard/soft-timeouts (i.e., (soft) re-display portal page after $x hours of a person's MAC address not being on your network, but do not display the page as long as they're active, or (hard) automatically re-display the portal every $x hours, regardless of inactivity.

http://www.m0n0.ch/wall/ is the website, check it out!

That would work fine if I had an extra computer (with two ethernet ports, I'd guess), but I don't. Zeus might be up to the task, but for the fact that he doesn't have space for any more PCI, and only has his one ethernet port.

I installed the EWRT firmware, which seems like it will do just fine. I have a feeling that the communists will be pretty pissed off if I put a captive portal on there anyway, it's really just philisophical technical meandering.

Still, it'd be nice to have something that can show the commune calendar to people before they hop anywhere, just to keep them honest. I'll see how much support for options the EWRT NoCatSplash page offers, and if I can sync the calendar info daily via scp or something similar.

FYI, if you do ever go with m0n0wall, you can make exceptions in the captive portal by MAC address, so commune computers never see the portal.

EWRT should work fine. Let me know how it works out, because I'll consider using that at home instead of m0n0 if it turns out to be better. :)

It'd have to be Commune users only. You really want random people on the street knowing when the house is empty? Bad for breakin prevention.

Not the full calendar, just a quick todo list: "Apply for Job", "Go to Doctor", "Boston LUG", updated at midnight. phpicalendar sticks one on the side of the calendar: today's would say "Jillian's", "Work at Harvest", and then you could open up the links (which would still be password protected) for full details.

Mostly it's just vague mumbling anyway. I do know what you mean by not having full data on there though.

Captive page is a good idea. NoCat is the usual one I've seen in use. You've got an SSID to play with too; be sure to stick something in there making it clear that it's free to use.

That said I think if I were to offer free wireless at home I'd keep it on a separate subnet from my home network, and secure the latter. WRT54Gs are cheap.

EWRT has NoCatSplash built in, just need to make sure I can somehow set it up to exclude certain computers, or only do it once, so that communists don't always see it, cause that would get awful annoying.

Previous to this, we were all running with public IPs anyway: we weren't using the router, just a DSL modem. So, the lack of "protection" doesn't really bother me: I'm no less secure letting the few people who might wander by see my computer than I am by putting it out on the web.

I'll admit that I'm not the most security concious person in the world, to a fault.

WRT54Gs are getting pretty cheap, but not cheap enough that I'm willing to buy another just for that purpose yet. Maybe when I get some more work up my sleeve. And some checks rolling in.

Well, there's a big difference between being accessible to strangers at the IP level and at the MAC level. If I'm not on your subnet, then I can't see traffic that you're not sending to me. But if I'm on the same subnet (and especially if it's not switched) then I can eavesdrop. They're not just capable of seeing your computer across the network, they're seeing all the data coming and going as well.

One possibility is to have a non-wireless box act as a VPN endpoint, and then establish VPNs between the household wireless computers and it; that way anyone stopping by in the neighbourhood is free to use the network but can't see the traffic others are broadcasting.

Good point, and one I hadn't thought of. I'll probably pick up an extra WRT54G once I have some extra cash. Right now, I'm completely broke - moving into a new house and getting all roomates to get new jobs takes time - and I doubt that our wireless router is any more likely to get traffic than the other 3 unlocked ones that are available walking down the street.

I really wish I had the free time to try to organize a wider city wireless network: I'd love to have municipal wireless, even if was just downtown or by Harvard or something. Then I wouldn't feel it quite so neccesary to offer the open wireless in the first place :)

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