The Risks And Benefits Of A Guest WiFi Connection

Ron Cochran is Help Desk supervisor for Tech Experts.

In today’s day and age, everyone wants or needs to be connected to the Internet. Whether a person is at your place of business for a teeth whitening session or eating their favorite club sandwich, the need to be connected is ever present. Here is where innovative thinking comes into play.

Giving your customers or clients a WiFi connection can increase satisfaction. It can be aggravating to wait around because the doctor is running late, the repair is taking longer than expected, or any other unexpected inconvenience that eats into your personal time.

However, if they can work, surf the Internet, poke around on Facebook, or catch up on their favorite TV shows, they’ll be less likely to track the passage of time or complain about the wait.

By offering your visitors WiFi, you can also gather data about them. If you require customers to sign in via a social media service to access your WiFi, you can get customer information that will allow you to interact with them and promote your business.

Setting up a WiFi connection doesn’t mean that the users have access to your company’s main network. You can keep all of your business data safe and secure.

First, you’ll want a separate router or WAP so that you can isolate their connections from your business network.

While setting up Internet for your customers might seem like a breeze, it’s important to be aware of the potential risks. Sometimes, customers may abuse public WiFi and use it to download inappropriate images or pirated software and media. This will slow down your Internet and network connection.

Fortunately, these issues and concerns can be addressed if you use the right kind of hardware-software combination and you have a knowledgeable IT company set it up for you.

The cost of setting up a guest WiFi connection doesn’t have to cost an arm and a leg either.  Another plus to offering free WiFi to your customers is that it costs almost nothing to supply it. You’ll want to have an additional router to keep customer WiFi separate from your business Internet to prevent any security issues, but a $50 router will easily allow you to provide customer connectivity.

Depending on customer usage, you may need to increase bandwidth or add a separate Internet account, but you can address that when the need arises.

Now that you’re getting ready to offer free WiFi to your customers, you need to consider how much bandwidth you’ll need. Bandwidth determines the speed of the Internet, so it is important to have enough of it for customers to be able to browse without frustration.

Offering free WiFi is great, but it means nothing if the connection is too slow to be useful.

You can also control the speed of their connection which will also keep your Internet connection from becoming slow. I would plan on giving each user 1.5 megabits of speed.

You can also limit usage to a certain radius, restrict the times of day it’s available, and limit their time on it to a certain number of minutes before they have to reconnect.

Overall, the thought of offering a WiFi connection at your place of business is an easy, cheap investment to stay up on the changing times. Just remember to keep the client/customer connections separate from your business network, lock down the security, and restrict bandwidth hogging applications — and you’ll be right on track.