How to lớn Offer Free or Paid Wi-Fi in Your Store or Office

Offering a wireless network to lớn patrons and/or employees makes good business sense for some entrepreneurs. However, security & cost are two factors that should be considered.

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The cable modem will soon follow its dial-up predecessor inkhổng lồ oblivion. To keep in step with patrons" & employees" needs to use laptops & smartphones, many brichồng and mortar institutions house wi-fi. However, as with any online connectivity program, issues surrounding cost & security come into lớn play almost immediately. How, then, should you go about offering không tính phí or paid wi-fi?

How khổng lồ Offer Free or Paid Wi-Fi in Your Store or Office: Consider Your Needs & ResourcesThe first thing you"ll need khổng lồ consider is who will be using your wi-fi. Are you providing access khổng lồ your entire company, and if so, how many employees vì chưng you have? Would you also want those visiting your office lớn have guest access? Are you providing access lớn patrons that frequent your store? Consider your turnover--what type of store do you have sầu & how long vày you want people lớn stay in their seats? How many people will be accessing your wi-fi service at the same time? Once you collect this information and put some thought inkhổng lồ it, you can determine whether khổng lồ offer your service for miễn phí or for a fee and what your equipment needs are. Though it may not be an obvious concern, Dan Guivì, a security consultant with iSec Partners in Thành Phố New York City, recommends that business owners kiểm tra to see if they have sầu an ample amount of electrical outlets in the customer area lớn allow them lớn recharge their devices. "The mật độ trùng lặp từ khóa of power outlets is the defining unique of whether people are going to lớn aggressively use your wi-fi or not because if there aren"t any around, then it becomes a very transient activity."

How to lớn Offer Free or Paid Wi-Fi in Your Store or Office: Getting the Proper EquipmentThe next step khổng lồ offering public wi-fi in any establishment should be lớn purchase an effective sầu router và Internet service plan. Service fees will vary by area. But it"s important lớn let your provider know that the service is for a business & to research the estimated amount of people that will be accessing your store"s wi-fi at a single time so that you receive a plan for the appropriate connection speeds. For a wireless business tài khoản, you may need to provide either your own router or an antenna that can attach to lớn a router supplied by the Internet company to ensure that everyone is able lớn receive sầu a signal. "The consumer routers that you can buy in Best Buy are really going khổng lồ be sufficient for this task, although I would suggest getting a more premium one simply because they can handle more users at once," says Guivày. He recommends the Apple AirPort Extreme (retail: $179) because it runs beefier software và can handle up to lớn 50 users at once. From there, Guibởi vì advises that you turn on a WPA system.Wi-Fi Protected Access technologies, also known as WPA và WPA2, force you khổng lồ enter a password from the router"s hot spot & then sets up an encrypted (encoded) channel between you and the IP.. He, however, stresses that there still remains an abundance of wiggle room when it comes lớn WPA security. There"re a lot of different ways around . For example, you can give everyone the same password in the coffee cửa hàng, then some evil person might be able khổng lồ haông chồng the traffic and gain access to lớn users information, says Guivì chưng. "Nevertheless, it makes it more difficult và it does break a lot of standard hacking tools," Guibởi vì adds.Be warned that eliminating passive sầu sniffing, that is, a program that can intercept & decode private data being passed over a wireless network, is virtually impossible to do cheaply & without outside help. "You can mitigate that risk, but you can"t eliminate it," Guivì chưng says, citing Firesheep as an example of sniffing software. Firesheep is a Firefox plugin that can allow hackers lớn intercept passwords and authenticate credentials for other users connected to the wireless network who visit insecure sites.

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How lớn Offer Free or Paid Wi-Fi in Your Store or Office: Free or Not to Free?Michael Phillips is the co-founder & president of anywwwhere, a New York-based company that provides business-to-client Internet services & end-user tư vấn. He says that most of his clients, which h3qvn.comlude coffee shops, independent lunch establishments, delis, fast food restaurants, & hotels, still use paid models for the most part. He estimates that business owners likely choose to have patrons pay for their wi-fi usage to lớn prevent loitering. "Paid model would be for businesses that have sầu smaller seating areas," says Phillips. "And they offer food & they need lớn have available seating for that percentage of customers that choose to lớn stay và eat or drink or whatever." He notes that Starbucks"s recent move from paid to free wi-fi is a boon for its management because the majority of the business is to-go, rather than a restaurant where people need available seating khổng lồ eat.The Bryant Park Hotel, a small luxury boutique hotel in Midtown Manhatchảy, charges $9.95 a day for wi-fi access. According to lớn Christopher Jevas, the director of sales, the wi-fi is fee-based for regular customers but is offered for không tính tiền with corporate accounts as an added amenity. "In urban areas, it"s generally the rule that hotels are charging for Internet access because they"ve sầu got business or very high end leisure travelers that are willing to lớn pay the fees for the same service," says Phillips. "In less urban và rural areas, there"s just more price sensitivity, and so you"ll see it being given away for free."

Dig Deeper: Staying Connected: Wi-Fi Hot Spots khổng lồ GoHow to lớn Offer Free or Paid Wi-Fi in Your Store or Office: Password ProtectionOffering the wi-fi password as a condition of purchase makes "great business sense and it"s great technical security sense," says Guibởi vì. By doing this, "you gain the limited protections that WPA offers you," he says. "There"s no reason I can see not khổng lồ vị it." But, there is a catch. In order to lớn reap the full benefits of WPA, the password needs khổng lồ be changed frequently. According to lớn Guivày, many people looking lớn intercept wireless traffic for devious purposes may not be willing khổng lồ show their face inside of the shop as long as the password key is changed on a regular basis. Furthermore, this will deter residents in nearby homes & apartment buildings from siphoning your wi-fi network as a freebie. If you"re taking the không tính tiền route, as an alternative sầu lớn handing out a stoông chồng password on slivers of paper or posting it openly, Guivì suggests printing the password on a receipt for customers after they"ve completed their purchase transactions. Phillips explains that the software used by anywwwhere creates a chất lượng code for each customer after a purchase - "authenticated access via receipt." After their initial login using the password, the customer will have sầu a set amount of time to use the wi-fi network before their access expires. The owner of the business is able to lớn phối the limit on the expiration time period. Phillps refers lớn this method as không tính tiền wi-fi with restrictions. helps entrepreneurs change the world. Get the advice you need to lớn start, grow, và lead your business today. Subscribe here for unlimited access.