Offering a wireless internet connection will open new doors for your business. It can help you gain more customers and generate more sales, but that’s only if you know how to use it to your advantage. Here are some tips to help you get the best out of the deal.
- Use your existing network for simple public access
If you’re opting for simple public access without the complexities of hotspot-specific hardware, you may use your existing private network and offer public Wi-Fi by enabling the guest access feature. This won’t compromise your private connection because you’re basically setting up a new wireless network that is separate from your main Local Area Network (LAN). That way, your customers will be able to access your internet connection alone, and not your sensitive business data. Make sure that your guest network is properly segregated from your private network. Encrypt your guest network with Wi-Fi Protected Access II (WPA2), and turn off the Service Set Identifier (SSID) in your private network for maximum security.
- Position your equipment in the best possible location
To provide the best coverage, position your Wi-Fi in a location where it can best transmit signals. You want to reach as many customers as possible, so carefully planning the spot where your router would sit is a must. Wi-Fi signals can only reach up to a range of 100 feet indoors and 300 feet outdoors so place your router strategically to maximize the Wi-Fis coverage. Usually, routers are positioned in the wall or the ceiling of a shop, wherever customers can get the clearest line of sight. Wi-Fi signals can travel through solid objects like ceilings, walls, and floors, but it’s still best if they travel directly to your customers.
- Give the password only to customers who make a purchase
Choosing whom you give your password to isn’t only for practical reasons but for security purposes as well. By giving your Wi-Fi password only to customers who make a purchase, you’re minimizing the risk of people doing illicit things on their gadgets while inside your store. One way to make your Wi-Fi password exclusive is by customizing your receipts to print the password at the bottom. You can easily do this if you have a cloud-based point of sale. Another good thing to remember is to change your password regularly. This will keep away the people who tend to squat in your store for long periods of time, slowing down the connection of your other paying customers.
- Impose time and bandwidth limits
This contradicts our first tip (use your existing network for simple public access) because it requires hotspot-specific hardware. Depending on the router you use, you may impose time and bandwidth limits to prevent heavy users from flooding up your Wi-Fi. You can also add other user management features like filtering content to prevent users from surfing through inappropriate websites. But these features will require additional hardware, and you may incur large costs, so consider carefully if your business can take this investment. Others would say that charging your customers for the internet service would be ideal, but you have to keep in mind that people won’t pay for something they can otherwise get for free. (PA)