OK, so here’s the situation. You want to share the Internet but not your personal stuff. There are actually several different ways of doing this.
Get A Router That Supports Guest Browsing
What’s that? They actually make routers with this ability already built in? Yes they do and some of them are really easy to use. You may think that it would have to be one of those extremely expensive routers but you’d be wrong. For instance there is Cisco’s Valet which costs about $100 and is supposed to be quite easy to set up and use.
Finding a router with the ability for guest browsing is the easiest way how to make a wireless router into an access point and keep your own network secure. However, money is involved and we all know how we feel about that around here.
Use One Non-Wireless Router & Two Wireless Routers
You may be asking why I would suggest such an answer when the previous tip fits the bill with only one router. What if you have some extra hardware sitting around and you don’t want to go out and buy one of those new-fangled routers that support guest browsing?
OK, so the idea here is to run the Internet connection through the non-wireless router and then connect the two wireless routers from their WAN ports to LAN ports on the non-wireless router.
As long as you don’t add any static routes to the non-wireless router, you will actually be running two wireless networks that can’t “see” one another. Use one as your own secure wireless network and the other can be the public access point.
Install Firmware On Your Wireless Router That Supports Guest Browsing
Firmware is basically the program that runs on your router that allows it to do what it does. There is an open source firmware that is compatible with many routers called dd-wrt.
In Jorge’s article about how to turn an old router into a wireless bridge, he is kind enough to explain the process of installing the firmware on your router. I will caution you the same way he did and say that you really need to follow the instructions for your router type very carefully because it is possible to render the router useless.
There are tutorials out there to show you how to configure the public access point feature (this one is quite easy to follow). Once finished, you should have a public access point similar to those coffee shop connections with a splash screen and all.
Get Fonera 2.0 & Make Some Money With Your Public Access Point
Visit Fon.com and get an idea of what they are trying to do with their router offerings. Built in is the ability to make a a few bucks by sharing your wifi signal. The idea is that when a non-Fon user logs on, they have to pay and this is when you get paid.
Fon spots (what they call their public access points) are free to other Fonera owners so just purchasing one gives you access to any of the one million other Fon spots in the world.
Check out the video introduction.
Now you have no excuse to leave your wifi open and insecure for the world to use. I gave you four methods how to securely make a wireless router into an access point and I even included one way to possibly make some money doing so. So tell me, how will you securely share your wifi?