I manage a computer store and i have recently had the idea of hosting a free public wifi to anyone in the area so that i can start harvesting emails and build an email list of locals for the company. My problem is i have no idea where to start. I have seen some people turn old computers into hotspots but none of the tutorials are what i need. Basically what i want is to set up a login system/landing page where customers enter their name and email to get into the free wifi and after that the emails would be stored in a text file or excel file that would be referenced in the future. Can i make this set up happen with a regular router running dd-wrt or would i have to convert a pc into a router? Any advice or pointers would be much appreciated.
I haven't got any experience using it myself but I am an avid user of DD-WRT and it seems like what you're looking for can be done with NoCatSplash. What you're looking to setup is called a Captive Portal, where the user mus meet a certain criteria before they're allowed through the Portal, in your case, entering their name and email address.
In thinking of how I would do it myself, I would probably setup my dd-wrt router to a Samba network share, with authentication of course, which would store the customer info. CSV format is super easy to work with and of course works with excel well so it wouldn't be too hard for a script to check whether or not the email address already exists, then if not write it to the end of the file with a timestamp maybe.
It would also probably be easiest to have the splash page run on the router itself, for which I personally would want php, which can be achieved using this guide to setup httpd through opt-ware.
SWEET! That helps alot! I'll look into the guide and then do some more research on setting up my router with dd-wrt and making the captive portal. Thanks you!