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Any Internet Security Gurus?

Thu Sep 06, 2012 3:43 pm

A question for IT security Gurus:

I am opening a small restaurant and am looking at getting my internet security set up. I will have open, free WIFI for customers, but also need a secure network for processing credit card transactions thru my Point of Sale systems. My IT skills are a little out of date as I left the IT industry several years ago.

My question is what is the best solution. Someone I know told me that a Cisco "3000 or 5000" would allow you to set up an manage two separate networks under one Internet connection. However, I looked these up and they are just network switches with no kind of firewall or protection.

Does anyone know what my friend was talking about or have another solution (other than having to internet connections)?

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RE: Any Internet Security Gurus?

Thu Sep 06, 2012 3:56 pm

No idea about the current hardware firewalls available, but here's an alternate solution- buy a PC with three network cards in it (one for internet, one for EPOS, one for WiFi), stick OpenBSD on it, then learn how to use pf. Flexible and cheap; you could probably get the required components for $50.

Of course you'd have to invest an afternoon learning about pf, but if you've been in the IT industry that shoudn't be too taxing.
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RE: Any Internet Security Gurus?

Thu Sep 06, 2012 4:53 pm

Shoot me a PM. I handle website security and vulnerability management for a fortune 100. I should have some time tonight to answer back if you PM me.
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RE: Any Internet Security Gurus?

Thu Sep 06, 2012 4:55 pm

I bet the person really meant Linksys which is owned by Cisco and supports "guest access".

Here's a good article about it:

The feature has been on the Linksys products over the last several years, the article lists the model ranges that have it (and doesn't list the newest hardware since they weren't available when the article was written).

As the article notes, you'll have to install their software to set up that feature, as opposed to merely pointing your web browser at the address of the router and using its built-in management screens, but using that software isn't a bad idea in any case, especially for initial setup.

As for what to get, I own a slightly older version of this model:

and have recommended it to others, and feel it's well worth the $77 that Amazon asks for it. The setup software that it does want you to install is very easy to use. I recommended it to a friend who is not computer literate, and expected him to be calling me with questions, but he got it online with no issues at all!

You can probably find refurbed or used models of this or similar ones all around the Internet if you want to save money i.e. E3200 is quite similar to EA3500 in features but is discounted because it's the previous generation hardware.


The highest model EA4500 only differs from EA3500 by being 450+450 vis 300+450 (meaning both have dual-band radios but the higher end one has one radio that can do 450 megabits instead of 300) which should only matter if your guests are downloading tons of HD video. It also has a built-in media server, but that really shouldn't be a factor for you, because if you really need a media server there are better ways to go. The EA4500 costs twice as much at Amazon's prices but doesn't deliver 2x value, IMHO:

Of course there are other brands out there and it's a very competitive space so most of the major brands offer very good price performance and features. That said, I'm quite happy with the price/performance of the Cisco/Linksys E3500 and they are so widely used there is no problem getting online help from geeks like me.
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RE: Any Internet Security Gurus?

Sat Sep 08, 2012 9:56 am

At home I have a Check Point Edge adsl firewall router. It can handle WiFi and separate networks (e.g.. dmz) as well as vpns. I bought it from my last employer, an internet security distributor.

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