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I do some wifi hotspot installations, and a new client recently asked me if it would be possible to force users to his website when they first open their browsers. After some Googling I figured out that this is "captive portal". It's a free wifi hotspot, so my client doesn't need authentication, just wants users to hit his site first.

So, after much more Googling the cheapest solution I can find is DD-WRT and Wifidog. All you need (as far as I can tell) is a Linksys WRT54G. I'm comfortable flashing the firmware and setting it up. If I can make it work for this client I'm thinking about offering it as an option to future clients.

SO- has anyone ever set up captive portal this way? Is it reliable and easy to support, remotely and securely? If I set my customers up this way will I eventually end up with Linksys Bricks all over the place?

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4 Answers 4

up vote 5 down vote accepted

I've had my eye on CoovaChilli for a while, it's an OpenWRT only fork of ChilliSpot which also runs on regular computers. Coova offers commercial support if you need it.

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Thanks!!! I love the interface and it looks like it has exactly what I need! –  Dave Jun 20 '09 at 3:36

i provide open-wrt routers with WIFIDOG open for captive portal. Some of our client have already made their own captive portal router.

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You should really consider pfsense which is a embedded distribution that does FW/Router and captive portal. It is extremely simple to use and works great.

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Thanks Antoine- all the hardware I could find preinstalled with pfSense cost over US$500. What I could really use is a vendor that sells Linksys or some other cheaper units preconfigured with software that supports captive portal. –  Dave Jun 22 '09 at 2:42
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Well DD-WRT is definently not preconfigured as far as i know... You have to install it. Installating pfsense is really as easy as putting a CD into a CD drive and htting next :-) –  Antoine Benkemoun Jun 22 '09 at 6:21

See http://www.nufw.org/ for another versatile open-source solution that might help here.

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