WiFi Security Project

After attending a meeting at a vacation hotel in the off season, we identified a serious problem non-profits have: to keep conference and meeting costs low, they use hotels that are technologically “behind the times”. In this situation, we needed an Internet infrastructure capable of meeting the demands of modern business meetings. We only had about 50 people (each with 1-2 devices), but the hotel system could only handle 20-30 devices at a time. This was a hotel whose primary customer was on vacation and only needed to check email once a day; we were a business meeting whose documents needed to be pulled down from the cloud, presentations were given via Skype, and everyone was trying to communicate with other colleagues.

To handle these situations in the future, we’ve put together a wireless system that can handle up to 500 devices. All we need from a hotel is to get a wired connection to their system. This also adds a level of security, as only the people in our conference/meeting will be on the system (public Wifi hotspots are notorious for “sidejacking” and other hacking practices). Additionally, we sometimes bring a portable webserver that we can attach to the system, giving us a secure Intranet. On this Intranet, we can host conference agendas, videos and audio files, distribute speaker hand-outs, etc., creating a near paperless environment. This allows us to avoid yet another security concern, as confidential papers get left in public spaces for other hotel workers/guests can pick them up. We are glad to be able to serve so many missionaries in this way.

All of this fits in a single suitcase (but it does take us a little longer to get through airport security lines).

Status:  We’ve got the WiFi system fully operational, but are still experimenting with how best to run the Intranet web server. We’re getting requests regularly for the system, which requires we send a person to the meeting for setup and configuration.