Do We Need Guest Wi-Fi and How Should We Implement It?
This is the first post in a series exploring business WiFi solutions for your workplace, retail store, hospitality chain, or hotel.
The decision about whether to offer guest wi-fi and if so how to implement it is one that all businesses need to ask themselves.
Guest wi-fi has become a technology that’s offered by more public spaces, businesses, and services. The convenience of being able to log onto a network any time, even if you’ve run out of data on your phone, is something that a lot of people really appreciate, and have even come to expect in many cases.
For business, it’s a question of whether it’s necessary and how to implement it securely.
Should We Offer Wi-Fi for our Guests?
Do you really need a guest wi-fi service?
If you are a large company or a business where clients expect guest wi-fi, such as a coffee shop or salon, then the answer is yes. You need to at least keep up with the competition, if not exceed your clients’ service expectations.
Who else needs guest wi-fi?
Who comes through your business? If your clients are international, flying in for just a few days or weeks, then having a guest wi-fi implementation is critical. While these clients will usually have a data-enabled SIM; if you are working on business together, they may need a faster connection than their traveller SIM offers. This also stands if you and your clients aren’t collaborating online together.
While plenty of your international clients may not need or use it, having the option available is now standard and expected. If your clients will all be Australian, you can expect that they will have already had a device on them with a data-enabled SIM.
Don’t fall into one of these categories? Guest wi-fi should still be considered as a “nice to have”. Take note of how many clients ask for the service within a month to get a gauge on whether to investigate further.
Public Wi-Fi for Guest Wi-Fi Services: A Good Idea?
Public wi-fi these days isn’t as open as it used to be. Years ago, you’d connect to public connection points without a password and away you’d go. This is hardly ever the case anymore.
If you have used public wi-fi browser login services for wi-fi access, then you will be aware of the (usual) extra step necessary to connect to a public wi-fi network – by entering details via the browser. Whereas some of these services, like a coffee house chain, may only require the code printed on your receipt, other places require your name, email, and even other contact details.
While it may seem like a clever idea to add more leads to your database, harvesting contact data is a cause of irritation for your clients. If you think back to when you have used airport browser logins, how many times have you entered false details into the system just to get a connection? Not only are you causing frustration for your clients, you’re introducing a source of incorrect data into your systems, which will require manual reparation.
A connection code may be less irritating, however adding that extra step to connect to your network may be a pain point for clients.
In summary: public wi-fi networks for your business? Only for very specific large businesses that people need to use. For every other business, despite any other allure, proceed with caution and careful consideration if you decide to set up your own public wi-fi network.
Should You Just Use Your Regular Wi-Fi Network As Is?
Great, so you’ve already got a reliable wi-fi connection and speed you’d like to offer to your clients as is, too? Slow down there, that idea is a definite no-go zone. Your business’s primary wi-fi connection should never be available to clients to access.
Your business’s primary wi-fi connection should always remain internal only. No matter how strong your firewall is, or how many security measures you have in place, with the right attack via your connection your business data and systems can be exposed.
Guest Wi-Fi Implementations
The way that you implement your guest wi-fi solution depends on a few different factors: your security concerns, your building layout, and your budget.
The most secure solution
The most secure solution is a dedicated leased line for your customers. You may be able to bundle it with your current services. This can be a costly exercise, though, and will require extra equipment in your building to implement.
The next common option is configuring your internal routers to offer a guest network. This is only available via business-class routers and may not be possible with your current implementation. Check your router/s to view. This allows clients to access the internet via a password, but without access to any of your internal devices.
Mesh wi-fi for full building coverage
If your business is large in physical area and has dead spots with wi-fi access, you can implement a mesh network over the top of your dedicated guest leased line or via your router-implemented guest network.
We can help
If you’d like to implement guest wi-fi in your business and wondering which implementation is best for you – and how to do it – then come to us. A1 Technologies is experienced in setting up not only optimized and secure internal business wi-fi solutions, but guest wi-fi as well. We can help configure the best solution for your business, with easy configuration from your end. Call or email to have a chat about guest wi-fi.
In coming articles, we will dive into some of the products that enable secure and scalable WifFi for your workplace, hospitality site, or retail store. If you would like to stay up-to-date be sure to subscribe.
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