Some of our remote branches are looking to provide wireless internet to their members. They currently have 15-20 staff computers on 10/2 cable internet with a VPN tunnel back to the corporate office.

We don't have the resources in our IT department, so they will have to work with outside contractors for setup and support and be separate from the work network.

My main concerns are security, but especially bandwidth. The current internet connections are used for email (hosted at corporate), some file serving, and video conferencing.

Would it be best for these sites to get a separate Internet connection for this public wireless?

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When you say "public" wireless, is this solely for your employees, or for anyone who visits the office?  The security concerns are extremely different for these two scenarios.  From your first statement, it is just for company employees, but your final statement conflicts with this idea.

If you want to provide wireless access to visitors, you will want a security barrier between that and your internal network.

If you want to provide wireless access to your employees, you or a third party can set up a WAP in the office.  There are many ways to limit bandwidth used, whether at the switch, using traffic priority (Class of Service), or by making a physically separate connection from an ISP.

Answered 05/21/2012 by: philologist
Red Belt

  • The wireless will be for anyone who visits. This is a fitness facility and they want to provide internet to the members.
  • I would either use a separate internet connection entirely, or you will need to provide a security barrier that sends your customers directly to the Internet and keeps them away from the corporate LAN. If you use a shared connection, you will want to implement class of service to guaruntee priority to your corporate network. If you provide a public connection, you have no idea what someone may try to download or do over your network, whether it is hacking, or just streaming movies.
  • Be sure to provide appropriate disclaimers for use.
  • This is a bit old, but you could look for something similar: http://www.ciscopress.com/bookstore/product.asp?isbn=1587052660

    There are also a lot of services out there to do this for you. The first I found (I did no research, so you will want to compare providers and solutions) was http://hotspotsystem.com/
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