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Wireless access point

hostapd Addon to add a WiFi hotspot to IPFire

This addon gives IPfire the ability to manage wireless 802.11 connections and is required if the Blue network is assigned to a wireless card.

Make sure you have installed a compatible wireless card before attempting to use this addon. See the network HCL page in the wiki and/or ask for help in the forum.

When the country code is set to "00", the 5GHz band is disabled. Set the appropriate country code to enable more channels.


Setting up the Blue Network


Initial Setup

If the blue network has not been created and linked to an actual wireless card you will have to do that first. This can be done during installation but can also be done in the console later on.

To setup the blue network from the console, login as "root" using your password. Then type

setup

and navigate to "Network configuration".

Here you will need to modify "Network configuration type", "Drivers and card assignments" and "Address settings". \
- The Network configuration type must be one of the two types with a blue network. \

It is important to give the blue network a different subnet than the other zones.

  • Having defined a new blue network a compatible wireless card must be assigned to it in "Drivers and card assignments". \
  • "Address settings" will be covered in the next section.

Addressing and DHCP


Addressing

IPfire treats the Blue network as a completely separate network. By default clients cannot connect with the Green network from it. If a client on the Blue network needs to communicate with a device on the Green network you must add a rule to the firewall allowing access. Alternatively you can bridge the two networks but this adds some security risk.

The blue interface needs a static IP address out of the blue network assigned to it. Make sure the green and bluewp>Subnetworks are distinct.
For example if you have the green network setup using the 192.168.0.0/24 subnet, use the 192.168.1.0/24 subnet for the blue network.

Once a suitable IP address has been determined it should be assigned in the console under "Address settings".
It is common use, to choose the first or last client address in the subnet ( i.e. .1 or .254 in a /24 net ).


DHCP

wp>Dynamic Host Configuration Protocol is needed to pass out IP address to connecting clients. Chose a range of IP addresses that is from the same subnet as the blue network's default gateway address. The range cannot include the default gateways address. This range can then be set in the console or in the WUI under "network>DHCP server".


Pakfire


Installing the Add-on

At this stage a blue network should have been created and configured. All that is left to do is to install the add-on using IPfire's package manager.

The package manager is called "pakfire" and can be invoked from the console as well as from the WUI.

To use the WUI navigate to "ipfire>pakfire". There is a section labeled "Available Addons:" where you can find "hostapd" amongst the various add-ons. Select it and then click on the "+" sign below the add-on box. Confirm the installation.


Wireless Settings

When pakfire installs hostapd, it adds a new page to the WUI. Navigate to this page via "ipfire>WLanAP". On this page the wireless network can be turned on and off and you can find all the settings for the initial configuration.

  • SSID: Enter a name for your wireless network.
  • SSID Broadcast: This turns off broadcasting of the WLAN name (on is recommended)
  • HW Mode: Select a hardware mode supported by your wireless card.
  • Encryption: WPA2 is the most secure.
  • Channel: Choose the channel with the least amount of other WiFi networks (1, 6 or 11 are recommended as they do not overlap each other])
  • Country Code: Selecting your country can enable more frequencies.
  • Tx Power: This controls the transmit power of the wireless radio. (more is not always better)
  • Passphrase: If encryption is set, enter a passphrase. It is recommended to chose a secure passphrase with more than 8 digits, special characters and avoiding words from a dictionary.
  • HT Caps: Enter the "High Throughput capabilities", or MCS (Modulation and Coding Schemes) values supported by your wireless card. Each value must be enclosed in square brackets "[" "]" with no spaces between them. Examples: [HT20][HT40+][HT40-][SHORT-GI-20][SHORT-GI-40][TX-STBC][RX-STBC123][DSSS_CCK-40][LDPC] or [BPSK][QPSK][16-QAM][64-QAM][DBPSK][DQPSK][CCK].
    • If your WiFi adapter was manufactured in the last few years it is likely to have some "High Throughput Capabilities". For these features to be enabled you must configure this field.
    • You can find the capabilities of your wireless card by checking the detailed specifications on its product data sheet. Note any "High Throughput Capabilities, "MCS" values or "Modulation Techniques" which are supported. HT Capabilities for some WiFi adapters tested with IPFire are available in the networking.
  • Loglevel (hostapd): Choose how much detail to capture in the logs.

Remember to save the settings by clicking the save icon below them.

Once the settings are configured and saved turn on the network by clicking on the green up arrow. If all went well it should look like this:


Connecting Clients


When clients first connect to IPFire they will be assigned an IP address from the blue interface's DHCP server. However they cannot access the internet until their MAC address is specifically allowed in the MAC address filter.

The MAC address filter is located under the firewall tab and is called "blue access". There is also a link at the bottom of the WLanAP page.

To activate a client, first have that client attempt to connect to the internet. This should fail but it will add that clients MAC address to the blue access page. To the right of the clients MAC address there is an icon for adding the device. Once added, ipfire should allow access to the Internet.


Don't use the special character 'ยง' in the encryption key as it will not work.

  • http://wireless.kernel.org/en/users/Documentation/hostapd
  • http://hostap.epitest.fi/gitweb/gitweb.cgi?p=hostap.git;a=blob_plain;f=hostapd/hostapd.conf for info on mapping HT Caps
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Older Revisions • August 3, 2015 at 10:30 am • dnl