Guest WiFi Access Point: The Ultimate Guide

Marketing 12 minute read 21st February 2024

This article will discuss an important and beneficial technology for your business: the guest WiFi access point. This is a powerful tool that can enhance your customers’ experience while providing you with valuable business insights.

Let’s discover what exactly a guest Wi-Fi access point is and what benefits it can yield to you. Moreover, we’ll see how to set it up. Let’s dive in.

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What Is a WiFi Access Point?

A device that creates a wireless local area network is the simplest definition of what is a WiFI access point. Consequently, devices like computers, smartphones, and others can connect to the internet without a wired connection. Such WLAN is typical in homes, offices, and public spaces.

The access point communicates with the wired router and broadcasts the WiFi signal. This also lets the connected devices share data and documents within the internal network.

A Wi-Fi access point with a guest network is quite different. The latter is a specialized form of AP. A guest wireless access point provides Internet access to guests, visitors, or customers in a secure and controlled manner. This is common in businesses that deal with customers, like cafes, hotels, and retail stores.

The primary goal of this type of network is to offer WiFi access while keeping isolated from cyber threats the primary network.

This segregation ensures that guests can access the Internet without having access to the company’s data or network resources. Moreover, it’s a public WiFi security best practice because it mitigates risks that guests might unknowingly pose to the network.

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Benefits of a Guest WiFi Access Point

Implementing a guest WiFi access point can significantly enhance the customer experience and provide valuable marketing opportunities. Additionally, it improves network security and performance. Here are the main advantages:

  • Improved customer experience: Offering free WiFi can significantly enhance customer satisfaction. It’s a service that many customers expect, especially in places like cafes, hotels, and airports. Moreover, businesses that offer free guest WiFi can increase footfall. People often choose locations with free WiFi access when deciding where to eat, drink, or shop.
  • Marketing ally: A guest WiFi connection can become a marketing tool. By adding a captive portal to access the network, businesses can collect data and promote offers, events, or services. Data are particularly useful when running marketing campaigns to improve effectiveness.
  • Analytics and insights: Guest WiFi solutions can provide valuable data about customer behavior, such as foot traffic analytics, dwell time, and repeat visits. This information can support marketing initiatives, improve customer service, and make informed business decisions.
  • Network security: Separating guest users from the main business network drastically reduces the risks of hacks or cyber issues. Most of the time, a virus or malware on a guest device can propagate to all devices connected to the network. By dividing the two networks, such risk is virtually absent.
  • Network management: A WiFi access point for guest networks allows businesses to control the bandwidth, duration of access, and websites accessible. This ensures that the connection performs at its best for all customers using the network. Additionally, it spares legal issues deriving from inappropriate use of the web connection.
  • Legal compliance: Implementing a guest WiFi solution allows businesses to authorize access only after agreeing with the ToS. This helps companies to comply with legal requirements and reduce liability.

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How To Create a Guest WiFi Access Point

The procedure to create a guest WiFi access point may vary depending on the router’s model. The one outlined is applicable in most scenarios. In case of issues, refer to your router’s manual or other resources provided by the manufacturer.

  1. Choose the hardware: Select a WiFi router or access point that supports guest networking capabilities. Many modern routers come with built-in guest network features.
  2. Configure the router: Access the router’s administrative interface, usually through a web browser. This typically involves entering the router’s IP address into the browser and logging in with admin credentials.
  3. Set up the Guest Network: Look for a section in the router settings labeled Guest Network, Guest Access, or something similar. Enable the guest network feature.
  4. Customize the network: Set a unique name to distinguish it from your primary network. Create a secure password for guest users. Ensure the network is encrypted, preferably with a reliable type of WiFi security.
  5. Manage the network: Configure settings to manage the network resources and ensure your main network remains unaffected. For example, set an individual session up to 1 hour.
  6. Implement a captive portal (optional): A captive portal can simplify user interaction. It’s a simple page that helps manage guest access, display terms of use, and collect users’ data.

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Tips for Making a Public Internet Connection Safe

Whether you use a separate guest Wi-Fi network or give access to the main network, one thing is certain. The internet connection itself has to be safe. The following security measures can significantly reduce the risk of unauthorized access and cyber threats:

  • Set a strong password: Always use a robust password for your WiFi networks. Avoid common words or the name of your business. Include a mix of letters, numbers, and special characters. Ensure your users get a WiFi password that is complex to guess.
  • Regularly change passwords: Update your Wi-Fi passwords regularly, at least every few months, to reduce the risk of unauthorized access.
  • Encrypt the network: Ensure your WiFi is encrypted using the latest security protocols like WPA2 or WPA3. This protects the data transmitted over your network from eavesdropping and hacking attempts.
  • Implement a guest WiFi network: As discussed, creating a separate network for guests keeps your main network secure.
  • Use a VPN: While technical, implementing a virtual private network (VPN) on your router can enhance security. A VPN encrypts all data leaving your network, providing an additional layer of security.
  • Install a firewall: A firewall monitors and controls incoming and outgoing network traffic based on predetermined security rules. Most routers have built-in firewalls, but the configuration itself is important to ensure security. If you can’t figure it out yourself, seek professional help.
  • Keep firmware updated: Regularly update your smart devices and router’s firmware to patch vulnerabilities and enhance performance.

Make Things Simple With a WiFi Marketing Solution

A guest WiFi access point allows you to provide internet to your customers while shielding your main network. On top of it, you can build a data collection system and marketing automation.

However, these features are complex and difficult to enable if you don’t have IT skills.

Therefore, if you offer free WiFi to your customers, consider a WiFi marketing solution to simplify all these operations.

Beambox is a WiFi marketing platform that helps you secure and manage your network with just a few clicks. Moreover, you can use it to implement a captive portal and collect data for your marketing campaigns.

Beambox has no hidden fees and integrates with most internet systems. Start your free trial now!

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