Since we’re outlined the 6 Reasons to Implement a Guest WiFi in our previous post, now is a good time to share how to implement a guest Wi-Fi.
If done correctly, offering free Wi-Fi to your customers and guests can be good for your business. It can be that extra little something that customers appreciate and in essence buy loyalty.
Whether you’re running a shop, restaurant, hotel, hair salon, bed and breakfast, or even just a small office; offering a guest Wi-Fi is a great service that doesn’t cost much to implement yet could yield great returns in customer acquisition and customer loyalty.
1. Choose the right internet connection.
Before you can offer a guest Wi-Fi in Inverness for your customers, you’ll need an internet connection that can handle it.
At the very least, you need to ensure that you have a broadband plan with unlimited monthly usage. With numerous customers and guests connecting and using your guest Wi-Fi, you could work through a limited bandwidth fairly quickly.
The one thing worse than no internet is slow internet
You also want a fast internet connection – if the Wi-Fi is too slow, your customers and guests will move along to somewhere that offers faster internet. So what is fast internet then? This depends on the type of business you have. A coffee shop, salon or bed and breakfast could easily get away with a basic fibre optic line. Speeds anywhere from 30Mbps and up should do the trick. Big businesses such as hotels, shopping centres and other high traffic areas have a much higher bandwidth requirement so in this case a leased line would be a better option.
If you’re unsure of what type of internet connection you have or if your internet connection is capable of providing a guest Wi-Fi then contact us for a free consultation.
2. Set up your guest Wi-fi.
Once you have your internet connection in place you will need to ensure that your business network is secure. This is done by creating separate local area networks in your router and then applying firewall rules that prevent guests and customers from being able to view your business network. Business grade products by brands such as Ubiquiti make the process of setting up a guest network relatively easy yet extremely secure.
With your business network and your guest network on the same internet connection, you needn’t worry about not having enough internet for your business because you can assign as much bandwidth as you need to each network. If you find that you don’t have enough (or you have too much) bandwidth you can reassign the quotas in a matter if minutes. This ensures that you can do business as usual and still provide a good value add to your customers.
Don’t let the internet bandwidth that you don’t use be wasted, let your customers use it without compromising your network security.
Once you’ve set up your guest network, you could just hand out a password to whoever asks for it, but there’s a far better way of providing a guest Wi-Fi that is less hassle, safer and has marketing benefits. A guest portal.
3. Creating your guest portal.
The guest portal is the heart of the guest Wi-Fi. It is how your guests safely and securely connect to your Wi-Fi while offering marketing elements such as a branded log-in page and redirecting the user to your website after logging on.
So how does it work?
With the guest portal, your customer selects your Wi-Fi network on their device (this can be any name such as “Acme Guest Wi-Fi”. They are then automatically taken to your branded “guest portal” page where they can accept your terms and conditions and then login. From there, the page could re-direct to your home page, a marketing page or you could just let the guest start using the internet straight away. Some “guest portal” services also allow you to charge for internet or capture e-mails in order to get internet access.
A guest portal can come in the form of hardware or Software as a Service (SAAS). Some are free or you could pay about £40 a month for a more advanced service with complex marketing tools.
4. Make sure it is secure
Letting guests and the general public connect to your Wi-Fi can leave you open to all kinds of security issues – this can however be significantly reduced with the correct security measures in place.
You don’t necessarily need to implement the hardest password known to man to lock down your Wi-Fi. In fact, if you want to, you can have no password at all. One of the best ways to ensure that your Wi-Fi network is safe is to create a VLAN for your network to isolate the visitors from your private network while providing them a Wi-Fi service. To prevent unwanted visitors into your business network, you also need to ensure that your firewall rules are solid.
Once your networks are sufficiently secure, your Guest Wi-Fi will be ready to go start making customers happy.