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Rpi as wireless access point for a church

Posted: Tue Apr 08, 2014 2:54 pm
by gentlec
Hi. I'd like some opinions on this. I'm thinking about using a Pi as a wireless access point at our church. I currently have a low-end Dlink running DD-WRT which I think is just getting overloaded. It just stops responding sometimes and needs a reboot. I was wondering what kind of success I might have if I replace it with a Pi. I seem to have between 25 and 50 simultaneous users during services, mostly people running their Bible apps. It could grow some as we are building a new facility so I'd like some room to expand. Do you think a pi would be a good option or should I look elsewhere for dedicated hardware?

Re: Rpi as wireless access point for a church

Posted: Tue Apr 08, 2014 6:55 pm
by default_user8
This should get you started:
http://m.instructables.com/id/How-to-ma ... Raspberry/
Having some experience with dd-wrt you probably are running a mini version on your router which isn't that stable of a build hence the need to reboot often. If you were to get a router that uses the full version you would have greater success. Using a raspi as a wap should also solve that problem.

Re: Rpi as wireless access point for a church

Posted: Tue Apr 08, 2014 7:35 pm
by gentlec
Yes, I think it IS a mini version of ddwrt. I've been less than impressed with it after spending a lot of time in OpenWRT.

Can you recommend a wifi adapter that will work in access point mode? I found a tutorial from Adafruit that says that the wifi adapters they sell will do it but I'm not sure how up to date that information is.

Re: Rpi as wireless access point for a church

Posted: Tue Apr 08, 2014 8:58 pm
by default_user8
You should find what you need here:
http://elinux.org/RPi_VerifiedPeripherals

After much research I choose a D-Link DIR-825verB router to run the full version of DD-WRT on and have been very happy with it for over a year now. I bought mine used off eBay for less than half the price of a new router. There is an ARM version of DD-WRT that could possibly be ran on the PI if only someone more tech savvy than myself would take on the project.

Re: Rpi as wireless access point for a church

Posted: Tue Apr 08, 2014 9:05 pm
by Joe Schmoe
Do you really think you should be encouraging people to be playing with their phones/tablets during church services? Shouldn't they be paying attention to the preacher?

Re: Rpi as wireless access point for a church

Posted: Tue Apr 08, 2014 9:11 pm
by default_user8
Joe, the youversion bible app that I use on my tablet requires an active internet connection. I personally am not able to use it for my church service although i would if i could, i know many people who use these types of apps in their worship services.

gentlec I also found this that might be of interest to you:
http://wiki.openwrt.org/toh/raspberry_p ... d.versions

Re: Rpi as wireless access point for a church

Posted: Tue Apr 08, 2014 9:21 pm
by chrisryall
Surely a standard wireless router would be simpler, even cheaper? You need a router to plug the pi into anyway, and wifi often comes free. I'd change the password occasionally and post it above the hymn list to keep open to congregation, but force any local hackers to at least attend church?

I think a pi interface just introduces things to go wrong … unless you have discovered God's URL ;)

Re: Rpi as wireless access point for a church

Posted: Tue Apr 08, 2014 11:18 pm
by default_user8
It's just a guess, but I'd bet he flashed DD-WRT to the dlink router so he could turn it into a wap plugged into his churches existing network. I did the same for my daughter iin her dorm room at school. So the raspi is a good replacement.

Re: Rpi as wireless access point for a church

Posted: Wed Apr 09, 2014 1:16 am
by gentlec
Thanks for all the replies. It is the youversion app that really drives the need for the wifi. We post the password for everyone to use. I did exactly what default_user8 said. I flashed a dlink DIR-601 with dd-wrt mini and plugged it into an existing network. It's performance is not very good and it's flash wasn't big enough for a full-blown dd-wrt. I'm a Linux guy and would be much more at home with raspbian and iptables in a real Linux CLI environment. I may try this with one of Adafruit's wifi adapters and see what kind of results I get. I understand those will work in wap mode.

Re: Rpi as wireless access point for a church

Posted: Wed Apr 09, 2014 1:56 am
by Dutch_Master
If the userbase continues to grow, consider adding a 2nd wifi adapter, configured for a different channel, to spread the load. You may want to relocate the first adapter then to give better coverage in the hall. A headless RPi model B with wireless adapter could be mounted inconspicuously on a wall and if you add the RPi camera module you'd be able to give members of the congregation who cannot physically attend the service a chance to see/hear the sermon and participate in song and prayer. Make sure you have proper permissions from appropriate authorities ;) :mrgreen:

Re: Rpi as wireless access point for a church

Posted: Wed Apr 09, 2014 2:40 am
by default_user8
Keep us posted on this project, i'm very interested in it's progress.
PS you should try a 30/30/30 reset on the link router and reflash the firmware. That sometimes resolves issues like frequent reboots.

Re: Rpi as wireless access point for a church

Posted: Wed Apr 09, 2014 10:49 am
by teeth_03
You don't specifically need an access point to have another wireless radio broadcasting either.

You could take any old router, change the IP to something not the current router (I normally leave a router as .1, and start making other network devices .2).

Second, turn DHCP off, this is really the main thing that turns a router into just an AP.

Third, if your main router is also wireless, I have had a fair amount of success giving multiple wireless devices the same wireless SSID/Channel/Security Settings and having it setup as 1 larger network instead of multiple.

Just something to think about.

Re: Rpi as wireless access point for a church

Posted: Wed Apr 09, 2014 11:05 am
by gentlec
I actually have 2 of the D-Link DD-WRT access points at two different places in the building. At first I had tried setting both to the same SSID. However, I found that devices, particularly my Android, would not roam to the strongest signal as I expected. It would lock on to the strongest signal at the point where I entered the building but then as I moved through the building, it would remain connected to the original AP even though the signal got really weak. I'm not sure of the best way to handle that. I ended up assigning unique SSIDs to each AP for now. Any ideas on the proper way to do that?

Re: Rpi as wireless access point for a church

Posted: Wed Apr 09, 2014 4:14 pm
by default_user8
Since you have dd-wrt set up on both routers you should have one as a wap and the set the other to act like an extender(not the right syntax for dd-wrt but you get the point). The extender will piggy back off the wap and use the same ssid and password. Devices will switch seamlessly like you want and you won't even notice. I use this setup at home so i can stream music on my network while doing yard work. My main router inside covers the front yard and i plug the extender in on my back porch to cover the back yard.

Re: Rpi as wireless access point for a church

Posted: Fri Apr 11, 2014 2:15 pm
by simonmcc
I use a pi in AP mode in our church hall, but only for a single user (or maybe two) and I wouldn't recommend it.

I find the range to be much worse than a standard wireless AP or router. IMO one or more reflashed routers is the best option.

Re: Rpi as wireless access point for a church

Posted: Sat May 31, 2014 10:49 pm
by DannyGlas
I'm interested in using the Pi as an Internet Billing system. Is that possible?

Thanks

Re: Rpi as wireless access point for a church

Posted: Sat May 31, 2014 10:59 pm
by FLYFISH TECHNOLOGIES
Hi,
DannyGlas wrote:I'm interested in using the Pi as an Internet Billing system. Is that possible?
Yes (if it is about charging internet traffic).


Best wishes, Ivan Zilic.

Re: Rpi as wireless access point for a church

Posted: Sat May 31, 2014 11:05 pm
by DannyGlas
Thanks, how do I do that? Is there an application?

Re: Rpi as wireless access point for a church

Posted: Sat May 31, 2014 11:20 pm
by FLYFISH TECHNOLOGIES
Hi,
DannyGlas wrote:Thanks, how do I do that?
I did it about a year ago and it took several hours of effort to install and configure everything... and everything went smoothly.
Next to basic OS installation & configuration, including Ethernet and WiFi, the procedure included installation & configuration of ipchains, ipset, dhcp, dns and web servers. There are to many steps to be described in a short "cooking recipe".
DannyGlas wrote:Is there an application?
I'm not aware of any.


Best wishes, Ivan Zilic.