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I am about to install 20 airport extreme to provide wireless around the campus. The method of choice to control access is using MAC address filtering. It would be difficult however to update all the airports all the time i have a new machine to add to access the wireless network.]

Is there an easier way to do this? Which open source software can I Use to manage these wireless points? (software that can run on mac)

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What is your aim here, to control who can access the internet, or to control who can access your WiFi? –  Bart B Sep 23 '11 at 14:37

2 Answers 2

The easier way is to not use a consumer AP in an environment where you're going to be managing that many APs. You really want to be using an enterprise solution that can be managed centrally, support vlan's, automatic radio channel selection, etc.

For access control MAC filtering is not very effective if you're trying to secure the wireless. It may be effective at keeping casual users off the network but that's about it. A MAC address is easily spoofed and trying to manage MAC addresses in a day were each user is likely to have 2 or 3 devices will be a real pain. And you can magnify that pain by 30 if you're using 30 non-centrally managed APs. You would be much better off using Enterprise WPA2 linked to a Radius Server or using EAP-TLS with a PKI.

There are some decent affordable solutions out there. Check out the UniFi APs from Ubiquiti. I've used them at a few businesses now and they are great and a 3 pack is only $200.

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Just to re-enforce that MAC locking is NOT security, it's nothing more than the digital equivalent of a 'keep out' sign. Packet headers CANNOT be encrypted, and because it just files through the air ANYONE can see the traffic, so you just read off a MAC address, change the MAC on your card to the address you read, and you have access. There are tools to do this automatically, so any idiot can do this in a few seconds. YOU MUST ENCRYPT YOUR WIFI! –  Bart B Sep 23 '11 at 14:33

Airport Expresses are EXCEPTIONALLY basic, I wouldn't even use them at home, they are just not up to running and sort of corporate, or education network. You've wasted your money, and you should probably cut your losses now before you throw good money after bad.

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