Protecting a Public WiFi Network

This is a bit of a catch 22 situation. Our client has a coffee house in Rye and wants to provide free WiFi to its clients by giving them the password to the wireless network. However, they have recently been hit with a £70 broadband bill when their bandwidth was exceeded by 40Gb!

Even though they regularly change their password, it’s quite obvious that someone nearby is leeching the broadband connection as most of this heavy download activity occurred in the evening when the coffee house was closed. So … how do they protect their WiFi without making it inaccessible to their clients without purchasing an extremely expensive router to solve the problem?

Turning the router off out of hours isn’t really an option as the ADSL exchange will think there is something wrong with your telephone line and will reduce your connection speed accordingly.

We sorted this out by adding another WiFi access point to the network. They now have two wireless networks; a private one for staff use and a public one which can be turned off then the business is closed to the public.