We use them daily, but have you ever wondered how they work? Or maybe you are deciding to have one installed in your business, but first want to know a little bit more about them.
This week, we take a closer look at how they work and what makes them so beneficial to your business.
What is a wifi hotspot?
Similar to wifi networks in places like airports, cafes, etc., a wifi hotspot is a term used when you are able to connect to the internet with a wireless enabled device such as a laptop or PDA, within a certain area. Many restaurants and hotels offer this service to their guests / clients for the duration of their stay, as a value added service. The most popular type of hotspot solutions is an Internet Cafe, where you may browse the web whilst having a quick bite or a hot cup of jo.
There are 2 types of wifi hotspots:
Free wifi hotspots
These can operate in one of two ways:
By using an open public network
This is the easiest way to create a free wifi hotspot, because all that is needed, is a wifi router. Anyone with a wireless internet connection may simply turn off the authentication requirements, which would then open their connection and allow them to share it with anyone in range.
By using a closed network
This type of free hotspot solution uses a Hotspot Management System. With this software, the owner of the hotspot can allow only specific users access to the Internet. Owners of this type of free hotspot are also able to limit the amount of bandwidth each user has.
This type of hotspot may feature:
A payment option using either a credit card, PayPal, iPass, or other payment services.
A login screen which users are redirected to for authentication and payment.
A walled garden feature which allows users free access to certain sites.
These services are also offered as a monthly subscription, where users may pay a monthly fee to gain access to the hotspot when ever they are within range. This method is most popular amongst users who often frequent the certain location such as a coffee shop, guest house, etc.
Picture this; you take a seat at your favorite cafe, its a beautiful afternoon, the birds are chirping, the sun is shining and the smell of freshly brewed coffee envelops your nose. You want to check your emails but don’t want to deal with a slow cellphone internet speed. Not to worry, the cafe offers wifi, you connect to their internet and are redirected to a login page. But you have no codes? Then you notice a “buy vouchers here” tab on the web page, so you click on it, follow the steps and before long receive your login details and start surfing.
This is a perfect example of a commercial hotspot solution. As long as you have access to your credit card information the process is harmless and can be completed in mere minutes.
The benefits of hosting a wifi hotspot for your business:
The main benefit of hosting a wifi hotspot, is being able to offer high-speed internet access to your clients.
Some other benefits include:
Attract people to your location – Hosting your own wifi hotspot, in any type of business (be it a hotel, coffee shop, restaurant or even a bookstore), will entice new and existing customers to return and possibly even stay longer. For businesses in the hospitality industry, having Wi-Fi Internet access available for guests could even be essential to preventing loss of potential customers.
Generate additional revenue – If you choose to charge for your hotspot solutions be it either via vouchers or a monthly fee this will bring in more revenue for your business. You will find the ROI to be quite impressive if you choose to take this route, as most travellers and locals need to be connected these days.
Create a private network for your own use – After setting up a wifi hotspot for your customers, you can easily create a private wired or wireless network of your own. The private and public networks can share the same Internet connection. Of course, this will not be any concern of yours, if you already have a private network set up at the hotspot location. If setup correctly, the private and public networks will be independent of each other.
Being able to access the internet from almost anywhere is fast becoming a must have. With technology advancing as quickly as it has, it is a lot easier to make this possible. Some people have even gone as far as to blanket entire areas with hotspot access. Hosting your own wifi hotspot, allows you a piece of this fast growing technology, it is a simple and reliable way to ensure more revenue for your business.
If you would like to get in the game of hotspot solutions, or if you just want to find out a bit more about them – give us a call on 021 880 2228
Snowball – Connecting Everything