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Calls for Public Internet Services to Block Adult Content.

April 2013

UK Prime Minister wants protection against children accessing inappropriate content through publc WiFi
UK Prime Minister, David Cameron, is set to announce a Government-backed code of conduct intended to ensure pornography is blocked in public spaces such as cafes and railway stations where children are likely to be present.

Mr Cameron said that he wanted “good, clean WiFi” in public spaces which would give parents confidence that their children cannot access illicit websites on smart phones or mobile computers.

UseMyNet recommend the services of Dyn.com and it's Internet Guide. Since last year UseMyNet has enabled operators to force the use of it's preferred DNS servers - essential to obtruct "tech savy" teenagers from using simple methods to evade the content filters offered by services such as those of Dyn.com.

Dyn.com offer customisable content filering for business use for around US$25 per year.

 

OpenDNS no longer Free. Web Content Filtering - Restricting access to inappropriate content.

© 4th July 2012 by UseMyNet

OpenDNS Pricing Policy Changes
UseMyNet have long relied upon the excellent services of OpenDNS.com to give WiFi Hotspot owners the facility to optionally restrict users from accessing certain categories of content such as adult material. By directing DNS lookup requests for the address of websites visited to the OpenDNS servers, rather than the ISP own default servers, websites with requested blocked categories of content could be excluded from returning the address and thereby restrict access. To enable the content filtering functions requires an OpenDNS account to be set up (previously free) where the required filters are applied.

Unfortunately OpenDNS have changed policies and content filtering for business users now requires a paid account. Unfortunately their website is not very transparent about how much the costs are. However we have been advised for a small public Hotspot with a single WiFi Access Point Hotspot pricing "starts at US$150/site per year". What is meant by "starts at" isn't clear and many small hospitality businesses mayl question whether $150 per year is worthwhile to filter user content.

The good news is it appears other companies are now responding - we are evaluating Norton ConnectSafe which we understand (currently being confirmed) is freely licensed for public WiFi use, doesn't offer customised filters but does offer three levels of protection including one blocking pornography. Also Comodo Secure have a customisable content filtering product currently in Beta.

The basic DNS resolution service of OpenDNS that is used in the default UseMyNet setup is still free. It is only those businesses that wish to limit the types of website accessed that may be affected by the changes at OpenDNS.

 

 

Set up a WiFi network for guests or visitors to your business.

© 26 May 2010 by UseMyNet

Introduction
Many businesses have a requirement to provide Internet access for visitors to their Offices. It can be very helpful to provide your visitors with a WiFi connection in the reception area or meeting rooms of your Offices. Many business people or customers visiting your business premises would welcome having an Internet connection to pick-up their email.  We have a lot of business from auto dealers and garages who want to provide Internet access to their customers while they are waiting.

Requirements
The most common requirements we hear are:

Easy for a genuine visitor to use - No WEP or WPA key.
Secure - Visitors do not have access to Internal LAN.
Secure - Can't be used by neighbours or unauthorised persons.
Easy to set-up and administer.

Security
Most business would not want visitors to have access to their Internal network. This can be archived with firewall rules or VLANs (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vlan) to prevent the traffic from the guest access points accessing the Internal networks. A more drastic measure is to have a separate Internet connection for the guest network so that the guest and Internal networks are physically segregated. 

Another consideration is the balance between making the system easy to use for guests while still having some control to prevent unauthorised use. One option would be to set-up WEP or WPA encryption on the guest  access point however this is not a popular option as you would have to tell the guests the WEP key or WPA password which could prove inconvenient.

The better solution is to have a "open" access point with some form of access control to prevent neighbours to your business or other unauthorised people from using your network.  

Guest WiFi with UseMyNet
The UseMyNet system provides an easy way to provide guest or visitor WiFi. UseMyNet is available as firmware for the Linksys WRT54GL router or as a PC application. Both versions let you set-up a stand-alone "open" WiFi network for visitors. Your guests and visitors are redirected to a landing page which can advertise your business. Visitors can optionally be asked to enter a security code before gaining Internet access.  The UseMyNet unit plugs into your internal network but has a built in firewall to prevent guests from accessing your internal network, only traffic out onto the Internet is allowed.

Find out more at usemynet.com

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Glossary of WiFi Hotspot Terms.

© 20 March 2010 by UseMyNet
Access Point - A networking device that provides WiFi. Ranges from cheap domestic units to expensive industrial devices for outdoor use. Term now used interchangeably with WiFi router.

Hotspot - The area in which WiFi service is available. Term also used for the networking device that provides the service. See also: Access Point and WiFi Router.

Captive Portal - A system which intercepts request from WiFi users and redirects them from their desired website to a landing page or splash page.

Landing Page  - A web page to which WiFi users are first redirected. May give the user several options, for example:  To enter a user name and password, To enter a voucher code; To sign up for service with a Credit Card. See also Splash Page

Splash Page - A web page to which WiFi users are first redirected. Like a landing page but normally simpler. Normally only prompts user to agree to terms of service.

Walled Garden - A term for websites that are allowed to unauthenticated users. For example a hotel may choose to let customers browse the hotel website for free but then charge for Internet access.

WiFi Router - A networking device that provides WiFi and network routing. All WiFi routers are also Access Points. May also contain an ADSL modem.    
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How to Install WiFi in a Hotel or Bed and Breakfast.

© 19 March 2010 by UseMyNet

Coverage

Decide if you want WiFi to cover all of your guest rooms or just the reception area. The size and construction of the hotel will determine how many WiFi access points are required.

Site Survey

You can conduct your own site survey with the following equipment


First run inSSIDer on the laptop and see which WiFi channels are in use in your neighbourhood. You will get the best signal strength on an unused channel. Next setup the WiFi access point on that channel and set the network name (SSID) It's not necessary to connect the access point to the Internet at this stage. Place the access point in a suitable location and move from room to room with the laptop noting the signal strength shown by inSSIDer. It's best to leave the laptop in one place for 2 minutes before reading the signal so that the signal can stabilise. Move the access point to another suitable location and repeat the exercise, in this way you can determine the best location to place access points and how many you will require to cover the hotel.

Linking the access points.

If you need more than one access point they will need to be linked together and to the Internet. There are various ways of doing this:

Wired backbone.

Running Ethernet cables (also known as CAT5) between the access points provides a very reliable connection. However running cables can require a lot work and care in placing the units. It can be hard to find routes for the cables in an established hotel and can make a mess.

Homeplug

For smaller hotels the access points can be linked with Homeplug units, these transmit data over the electrical wiring. Each access point will require a Homeplug unit. Homeplug units can be bought for around £30 from (http://www.homeplugs.co.uk)

Wireless Distribution System (WDS)

Many access points support WDS which can be setup to allow access points to communicate with each other. When you setup access points with WDS it provides an extended WiFi network with the same network name (SSID). The throughput of WDS will be slightly lower than the other methods as the access point has to use some of its bandwidth to repeat the signal to the next unit.

Controlling Access

Decide if you want to offer guest free WiFi access or if you wish to charge them. Also consider whether you want to restrict neighbours to your hotel from making use of the free service ! Various methods of controlling access are available; you could give each guest a unique code to enter; or you could provide a few hours each day free and only charge heavy users. These decisions will depend on the type of hotel and the local availability of Internet access.

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How to setup an Internet Cafe

© 19 March 2010 by UseMyNet

 

This howto will discuss the hardware and software necessary to setup a Cyber Cafe and the options for billing customers or providing a timer to limit their on-line time. We will look at the requirements for both wired and wireless (WiFi) access.

Computers

Most Cafe will have several PCs for customers to use, they may also provide WiFi access for customers with laptops. We won't look at the specification of the PCs in this howto. The only real requirement is that the PC has a Network Interface Card (NIC).

Network and Internet Connection

There are many ways to provide an Internet Connection to you Cafe and it will depend on where you are located. Typical methods include ADSL, Cable or Fibre Optic connection. In the United Kingdom the majority of Internet connections are ADSL. You will require a network router and a network switch, although sometimes these are combined into a single unit. The network switch has several ports to plug in a Ethernet cable which runs to each PC, you will need a network switch with as many ports as you have PCs in your Cafe. Typical network switches have 4,8,12,24 or 48 ports. The type of network router you need depends on your Internet connection and may even be provided free of charge by your Internet Service provider. The main requirement for the router is that it is powerful enough to handle the traffic that you intend to put through it.

Internet Cafe Software

There are many companies that offer Internet Cafe software. Typically this software is client-server software. The server software will be installed on the administrator's computer. The other computers have the cafe software client software installed; Then the server software controls various functions of the client PC such as the amount of time allowed on-line and other advanced features such as controlling printing.

Examples of Internet Cafe software include:

Cafe software is a very competitive business and there are many good products. Products are easy to install and offer many features. There are some points to consider when making your choice of system; Some Cafe software is advertising supported, this means the client software will display advertisements on each of your computers for the benefit of the software company. Some software provides just a simple timer, others provide more advanced billing such as PayPal integration. Most software is licensed based on the number of PCs used, so if you increase the number of PCs in your Cafe you may need to increase the number of licenses also.

WiFi

Many Internet Cafe businesses want to offer WiFi access for customers with laptops. Here the client-server software is not suitable as it is impractical to install the client software on each customers laptop. In these circumstances the solution is to use "captive portal" software. This software runs on a PC or WiFi router and can intercept the traffic from the laptop and redirect it to a "landing page" where the customer is asked for payment or authentication.
Typically the software works as follows:
  1. Customer connects to the WiFi network of the Internet Cafe.
  2. Customer launches web browser and enters desired site (for example www.indiatimes.com).
  3. Customer is redirected to the "landing page" instead of the desired site.
  4. Customer is prompted for and enters access code
  5. Customer's laptop is authenticated for the session time
  6. Customer's web browser is redirect to desired site (for example www.indiatimes.com).

Examples of Captive Portal software include:

UseMyNet Cafe Software.

The UseMyNet software was originally developed as WiFi Hotspot Software to run on the Linksys WRT54GL WiFi router. This router is very popular all over the word because it is very easily customised to do many different tasks. The UseMyNet software is a Captive Portal implemented in Linux iptables. It does not require any additional servers and is very small so it can run directly on the router. The UseMyNet software provides a simple timer controlled by access codes which can be generated one at a time or in bulk. As the Linksys WRT54GL router has 4 LAN ports it is possible for a small Cyber Cafe to be setup with 4 PCs and WiFi access just from a single WRT54GL router running UseMyNet software. We offer our original UseMyNet software as a firmware image for the WRT54GL router, this is the ideal solution for International customers as they can instantly download this software and install it on a WRT54GL which they have purchased locally. Typically a Linksys WRT54GL can be purchased for GBP £45 and the cost of our software is GBP £39.99. We offer pre-installed routers for our customers in the United Kingdom for £149.99. We also offer our customers pre-printed code books and code generator software. The pre-printed code books can be left in a cash register or behind the bar and the code tickets can be given out or sold as necessary. The code generator spreadsheet allows our customers to print their own codes in bulk and then upload the valid codes to the unit.

UseMyNetVM

Our new development is to take the UseMyNet software and redesign it to work on PCs. We had many customers ask us for a PC based solution to compete with other Cafe Timer Software products. We decided to keep the Linux operating system and run it as a virtual machine on a PC. Our customers install a product called VMWare Workstation or VMWare Server on a PC with 2 networks cards. One network card is connected to the customers Internet connection and the other to the client PCs or to a WiFi access point running in bridge mode. They then run the UseMyNetVM (Virtual Machine) and it controls Internet access with the use of access codes, bandwidth limiting and download limits. This system is also ideal for a simple Internet Café as it does not require client software to be installed or updated on each PC. Unlike other software UseMyNetVM does not place restrictions on how many computers can be attached, 1 or 100 it is the same price. The UseMyNet VM is also available as an instant download and is priced at £199.00.

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