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How to Set Up a Public Wifi Spot

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Creating a comfortable environment for your customers goes much further warmth and lighting today. Pretty much everyone is carrying around an internet connected mobile phone 24/7.

Many customers come to expect public WiFi to be available. Networks can host free public WiFi in some area, not all areas are covered.

It can offer much more than convenience to your customers. It can also become a powerful engagement tool. Microsoft found that business offering free public WiFi hotspots said that 62% of customers spent more time on their website. [1]

Setting this up isn’t as difficult as it might seem either. This guide covers everything you need to know about setting up a public WiFi spot for your business.

How Do I Set Up A Free WiFi Hotspot For My Customers?

Security is very important when creating this service for your customers. You will want to avoid letting your guests use your business WiFi.

Here’s how to set up a hotspot securely:

  1. Choose the correct broadband.

You may already have great business broadband. However, you’re opening up your bandwidth up to a bunch of new devices. If your business in a particularly busier area, you may want to upgrade. You can compare business broadband prices here.

A strong connection, and quick speeds are essential to keep your customers happy.

  1. Create a Guest Network.

You will need your IP address (often on the back of the router). Enter this IP address into your web browser address bar. You should then be prompted to log in. Use your usual Wi-Fi log in credentials (also on the back of your router).

This should get you into your browser settings. Here, you can set up a guest network. It is best to set maximum bandwidths for each network. That way, you can devote most of your internet’s power to your guests. This also allows you to keep enough for yourself to run your business. Around 3Mb is generally enough for your private network. Keep the rest available for your customers. You can come back and adjust later if you’re experiencing any issues.

You will also need to create a password for your guest network. Make it something relevant to your business.

  1. Set up a Gateway.

Once you have a Guest network, you are ready to allow customers to use your Wi-Fi. However, there are additional steps you can take to make the process safer for you and the customer. One of the best ways to do this is through a gateway. Instead of connecting directly to your internet connection, your guests instead connect to a gateway. This keeps a safer layer of protection between your Wi-Fi and your customers.

You can set this up a few ways. Several Internet Service Providers (ISPs) will give you access to a public Wi-Fi setup. If you use BT, and customers buy access to the internet through your portal, you receive some of the profits.

Most of the time, the easiest way to set up a gateway is to pay for it. Buying access to a gateway costs between £50 and £1000, depending on how many people you need to use the internet at once. While you have to pay with this option, the provider does the hard parts for you.

  1. Secure your businesses public WiFi

Allowing strangers to use your internet comes with risks. While you can take many precautions, you are always open to a range of cybercrimes. Extra security measures can often be enough to put off any potential criminals, however.

Add additional firewalls to your internet. This way, you can give yourself an additional layer of protection. If you have a gateway, this provides a level of safety. Depending on where you got your gateway, you may also have access to extra security features built in.

There are a range of basic, physical precautions you can take. Do not put your router out in the open. Keep it hidden, so no-one can plug directly into it without you noticing. Change the passwords frequently – so former customers can’t connect.


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