I work for a small school where they want to open up the wifi network to students. The wifi network itself is already there, it's just not open to students. However they want to limit the usage for students by having a daily password expiry. The password of the day will be put on the school website and is only visible to teachers and the teachers will decide when students get the daily password. At the same time the teachers should also still have unlimited access with a password that doesn't expire.

I don't have access to the source code of the school website. It's a sort of CMS web application that's used by multiple schools. However it does support automatically loading an external file and automatically making an article out of it. So the system that generates that daily password should be able to automatically create a document that contains that daily password that it generated.

How would you set this up? I have googled a bit and what I need is I think a "captive portal" but I have no experience with that. What type of captive portal would meet those requirements? Would there be any free ones suitable for that or are they not so reliable and would it be better to go for a paid portal?

  • 2
    This is not something you should be doing with your main web site. Most managed wireless systems have some form of captive portal builtin. Start by looking at properly configuring your existing wireless gear. – Zoredache Mar 14 '17 at 18:21
  • There are various different access points installed. Not all same type. One of them is a Cisco WAP551 and it does have some Captive Portal options, but no daily password expiry or something like that. I would prefer not to change the password manually on a daily basis. – user968698 Mar 15 '17 at 18:00

I understand what you're trying to accomplish. Your proposed method is not the way it should be done, unfortunately.

Here's a rough list of what you should implement:

  • Two wireless SSIDs, one for students, one for staff
  • WPA2 Enterprise authentication, using your AD or other radius directory. This way each user (whether staff or student) authenticates to the network using their own credentials, not shared credentials

The above can be easily accomplished via any centrally-managed wifi setup (Ruckus, Aruba, Meraki, even Ubiquiti if budget is tight).

  • But students don't even have their own credentials. Creating and maintaining a separate account for 500 students (with students each year coming and going) is not within scope. Also would that WPA setup have daily password expiry? – user968698 Mar 15 '17 at 17:50
  • From this, and your comment above, it's clear that before you can take on this project, you need to fix your wireless system. It's going to be near impossible to do what you want with mismatched, and non-centrally-managed access points. Ubiquiti has $60 APs that support 802.11ac and can be centrally managed - it doesn't have to be overly expensive. – EEAA Mar 15 '17 at 19:27
  • But before I buy new hardware, I need to be sure it can actually support the requirements. Will a centrally managed ubiquity setup or similar be able to support those requirements? Or will that never work? – user968698 Mar 17 '17 at 18:32

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