Inns, restaurants and cafes, hair salons, stores: more and more small businesses now offer access to a public Wi-Fi network. It’s a strong loyalty strategy, which in many cases can give your business an edge. Customers are always connected, and their expectations regarding accessing the Internet from everywhere are very high.
Here are the main points to consider.
Is your Internet access fast enough? The number of simultaneously connected users will, of course, impact the speed of each of their access. A business that will offer Wi-Fi access to about 100 customers at the same time should consider an Ultimate Speed-type Internet access. This will provide your customers with an optimal experience, whether they watch the latest Hollywood blockbuster from Illico.tv on their tablet, or simpy want to update their Facebook status!
A wireless router is also essential to relay the signal throughout your establishment. Videotron Business Solutions offers a free Wi-Fi router (rented) will all of its Internet accesses. This high-performing hardware can support up to 200 simultaneous connections.
Offering a secure network to your customers is very important. Some businesses offer an entirely public (free-access) Wi-Fi. This raises several security issues, regarding the integrity of data transiting through the network. On a non-secure network, a malevolent user could for instance intercept emails, navigation data, or even unencrypted passwords.
Through their configuration software, most wireless routers make it possible to set up a security protocol that will cipher the data, among other things. Both the WAP and the WAP2 (Wi-Fi Protected Access) protocols offer an adequate level of security, by encrypting all data transiting on the network. Through a very simple configuration, you can also select a password the users will have to enter in order to connect to the network.
The only downside? You will have to display or distribute this password to your clientele. This may seems counterintuitive, but from a security standpoint, it is better to give the password to your customers than to leave the network completely free-access. Why? The data will be protected through encryption, and a unique session will be established for each connection.
It is possible to restrict access to certains sites or certain types of content on our network. Wireless routers configuration softwares include filters that block undesirable content.
In Canada, business owner offering a public Wi-Fi cannot be held liable if illegal activites happen on their network. However, without a doubt, a minimum of security will please everyone!