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Setting Up a Wi-Fi Hotspot Using m0n0wall

Article Description

Need to set up a Wi-Fi hotspot that requires your patrons to authenticate? Sounds too expensive? On the contrary. Kulvir Singh Bhogal shows you how to set up the hotspot on the dirt-cheap.

Using the webGUI Configuration

Assuming that m0n0wall correctly recognized the NICs of your machine, you are now ready to set up m0n0wall. To do so, you use a web user interface, much like one you would use to interact with most broadband routers:

  1. Connect a PC to the first router of your setup (refer to Figure 1) via an ethernet cable. The PC you connect should be enabled for DHCP.
  2. To get to the webGUI, open up your browser on the computer you just connected to, and go to the URL assigned to the LAN IP address. In my case, I assigned it to Note that the address you need to go to is shown to you when m0n0wall starts up (see Figure 2).
  3. You are asked to enter a user name and password. The default user name and password are admin and mono, respectively.
  4. After entering the user name and password, you are presented with the m0n0wall webGUI configuration, as shown in Figure 3. If not, the culprit might be that your cables were swapped (as explained earlier).
    Figure 3

    Figure 3 m0n0wall's webGUI configuration.

  5. Once you are able to reach the webGUI, one of the first steps you want to take is to make sure that no one else except for you can interact with this webGUI in the future. To do this, assign a new password to m0n0wall by doing so on the General Setup panel, as shown in Figure 4.
    Figure 4

    Figure 4 Changing the m0n0wall server password.

    Now try going to an external URL, such as http://www.informit.com. If you are able to reach this site, congratulations—you are now past the majority of the setup involved. I would disconnect the computer with which you've been using to configure the m0n0wall server at this point, and try to connect wirelessly using the same computer to the hotspot wireless router (Router #2 in Figure 1).

    Hint: look for the SSID you assigned earlier to the second router. If all is well, you should be able to connect to sites like http://www.informit.com without any problem.

    If you weren't able to connect, then you might need to configure the WAN interface of your m0n0wall box. Refer to m0n0wall's extensive Help documentation on how to do so. If you were able to connect, then you are now ready to move on to securing the hotspot via a password and turning on the captive portal.

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