I must confess I'm looking for some thoughts and suggestions here, hope you can help?
I work as a self employed PC repair bod in Norwich UK. Norwich is fairly well known in the UK for offering a number of free wireless access points that can be used within the city limits, providing you abide by the relevant T&C's. A few of my customers are charity organisations which make use of these wireless hotspots for email and the like, but find the bandwidth available is generally low and the connections are subject to timeouts and disconnects if not 'kept live' or if connected for over an hour continuously.
A few of these hotspots overlap and in at least one of my clients cases I can see over half a dozen 'free' wireless connections.
What I would like to do is create a load balancing firewall with failover capabilities that has multiple wireless network cards in order to connect to several of the available wireless hotspots at once. The hope is that my clients could make use of a higher, combined bandwidth and suffer fewer disconnects whilst keeping costs down (no ISP fees).
My experience with Clarkconnect community edition suggests that wireless support with that distro is virtually non-existant at this point but I do like many of it's features and find it to be a very reliable firewall.
My experience with Linux Mint is virtually flawless (from a desktop and wireless nic point of view) but I have no idea how to configure it as a firewall.
I'm imagining a Linux with the wireless support of Linux Mint, the firewall reliability of ClarkConnect and the additional load balancing and failover features I mentioned earlier. VPN isn't really a requirement since these guys are largely volunteer staff and never work from home. DMZ would be nice though since one of the networked PC's is available for use by the public.
Any help or suggestions warmly appreciated! Just please realise that my clients are charities so budget is virtually non-existent and my experience with Linux is largely restricted to web based interfaces and Gnome/KDE GUI's (terminals scare me - I'm a 'stuck in my ways' windows geek and am finding learning Linux slow going!).
Hardware shouldn't be too much of an issue since I'm a licensed 'waste carrier' which basically means I'm allowed (by law) to visit landfills and recycling centres and remove I.T. equipment from my area. As a result I usually have a few PC's knocking about which could be anything up to 2.6Ghz.
Looking forwards to your comments and ideas!