setup access point on semi-private net

Netgear Wpn802
July 27, 2010 at 09:18:21
Specs: Windows 7, n/a
This doesn't really have anything to do with a specific product.

I recently stayed in a hotel (big chain) that offered only paid wired broadband in the room that I also figured out was tied to specific MACs since they initially wanted to charge us twice (for each computer). I had no problem with the paid part, but my son and I both had laptops and our iPhones. Needless to say, it was a pain having to share the single connection for more than a week and only getting wifi for the phones in public hotspots.

After the fact, I thought about how I could have worked around the problem. Now, I know only enough networking to get by in most situations, but I'm pretty sure I could have simply used a small 5-port switch with a couple of cables for the laptops and the hotel network wouldn't have known the difference (please correct me if I'm wrong about that). That wouldn't have helped with the phones however.

So, I considered an access point. My experience with APs, however, is that they can be difficult to setup unless you have admin access to the host network since the ones I've used are never, ever pre-configured to use DHCP to acquire WAN information. They usually involve temporary configuration on different sub-nets and static IPs, etc., etc. Then again, I may not understand APs at all, better explaining my confusion. So, the question is, does anyone know of a product that makes this particularly easy, or even a quick configuration trick that one could employ to make this work. Is a wireless router more suitable for such a situation and how would that work, having a router behind a router? Please keep in mind I'm not advocating or trying to steal broadband, just trying to conveniently utilize what I've paid for. :)

Wacky question, I know, but any enlightenment would be appreciated!


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#1
July 27, 2010 at 12:25:58
The simple solution is a wireless capable SOHO Router. Get one with 4 LAN ports to handle wired connections and setup an encrypted wireless network that you could use from a laptop or phone.

Most hotels I've been in offer their internet via DHCP. Which is to say, your computer has to be set to get it's TCP/IP settings automatically (DHCP) and you plug in, or connect to their wireless.

In your case, with the SOHO Router, you leave the WAN Side to DHCP, it picks up it's TCP/IP info from the hotel and you connect on the LAN side (wired or wireless).

It should be pretty much plug-and-play in the cases of the hotel using DHCP. Once you have it setup and working at home.

It matters not how straight the gate,
How charged with punishments the scroll,
I am the master of my fate;
I am the captain of my soul.

***William Henley***


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#2
July 27, 2010 at 12:54:51
Thanks for the reply CurtR.

OK, here's my lack of networking knowledge glaring through. What's the basic difference(s) between a (wireless?) SOHO router and other "home" wireless routers, if any, or are they basically the same thing?

Otherwise, here's the way I understand your explanation: I use a wireless router as opposed to an access point and, in essence, the hotels ethernet port functions (from my point of view, anyway) like my home's cable modem, in that it picks up the WAN information from the hotel network instead of from the ISP on the other end of the cable modem. Likewise, it does this automatically via DHCP so that I don't need to know subnet information or gateway and DNS server IPs. Therefore, my configuration chores are essentially the same as they would be for my home network, such as setting up wireless security, etc.

If I've interpreted correctly, that would be really cool and really simple! TIA for confirming OR correcting.


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#3
July 27, 2010 at 13:29:29
There are basically two types of SOHO Routers. Those that are wireless capable and those that aren't. And that is the difference. Other than the ability to create a Wireless network, the two are identical.

Otherwise, here's the way I understand your explanation: I use a wireless router as opposed to an access point and, in essence, the hotels ethernet port functions (from my point of view, anyway) like my home's cable modem, in that it picks up the WAN information from the hotel network instead of from the ISP on the other end of the cable modem.

You got it! :)

The reason I recommended a wireless SOHO Router over an AP is because they (AP's) can be finicky to setup and if you don't control the network, you might find yourself in a situation where your AP can't be setup to work.

This won't happen with a router. Also, routers are typically less expensive than an AP.

It matters not how straight the gate,
How charged with punishments the scroll,
I am the master of my fate;
I am the captain of my soul.

***William Henley***


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#4
July 27, 2010 at 20:54:55
Fabulous! Maybe I'll be able to understand this stuff after all. Thanks again for the informative explanation. It's a big help!

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