I have a complicated situation due to my goals and network structure. I have in mind a potential solution, a bridge, but I do not know whether it is feasible or what hardware it will require.
- My apartment community provides residents with free Internet access through an ancient T1 line.
- We do not have the option of other Internet providers, so having a router and modem in the home are not an option.
- The T1 line is split among some 24 switches, one for each building, and each switch has one port per floor.
- At each floor, there is a D-link WAP, and each has a separate SSID and WEP key.
- Additionally, they control access at the switch level using Access Control.
- I'm used to being in control of my networked environment.
- I like to have friends over often, and most of them have a laptop, a smart phone, or both, which makes Access Control a pain. I don't want to have to think ahead and get their MAC addresses to the IT consultant while he's here during business hours.
- My wife and I have 6 devices, two of which require an Ethernet connection.
- I use a few applications for streaming that utilize UDP (I'm not sure if the WAPs are smart enough to even handle this) and I don't like having my traffic muddled with my neighbors.
I should note that I tried extending the network with my Airport Extreme router, which apparently only works with other Apple devices. I've also looked into WDS, but that seems to require an unlikely amount of cooperation from the IT consultant on site.
The potential solution: a Linux server that acts as a router. Ideally, it could act as a webserver for a small static site as well, but let's focus on the routing. I'd like to bridge two NICs and use masquerading (Internet Connection Sharing). The public interface would connect to the WAP using WEP. The private interface would allow up to 8 devices to connect to the server.
It seems easy enough to configure the public interface, and even to bridge the connections. What I've never done before is purchase a wireless card that can accept multiple clients. Maybe they can all do this?
Is this solution feasible? Can you offer a better solution?