Re: help with creating a hotspot
First you'll need a wireless router or switch. An access point would work too. I recommend Linksys, because their products are fairly cheap and reliable. Then you'll probably need some sort of range expander. Various companies make these, do a google search and you'll find plenty. If you're looking to have some sort of Adminstrator control over the network, you'd need to put something like Novell or Windows 2003 between your modem and router.
That would cover the server side, but there's also the client side. Everyone who wants to connect to the hotspot is going to need a wireless hardware. There are really no restrictions on what type of brand they get, as long as they're on the same frequency. For instance, you wouldn't want a 2.4Ghz (B-G) card for a 5Ghz (A) network.
You also need to think about what type of wireless network you want. There are three general types, A, B, and G. A runs one a higher frequency, so it's incredibly reliable. It also runs at 54Mbit/s, so it's faster too. The catch is, it's more expensive. B is a cheaper alternative. It runs at 11Mbit/s, but it's backwards compatible with G. G runs at 54Mbit/s, but, it's more expensive. It's backwards compatible with B.
For this type of hotspot, I would recommend G. It's more expensive, but you'll have more bandwidth, so it won't get bogged down easily.
In general, the entire thing, will probably cost you about $200-300, not including things like Windows 2003, or Novell.