Guest WiFi vs. Main WiFi: Which One Should You Choose?

Marketing 11 minute read 15th February 2024

While you could simply share a password to let your customers enjoy your free WiFi, this decision exposes you to risks of many natures. Moreover, guest WiFi opens the door for marketing implementation and streamlining operations. Therefore, choosing between guest WiFi vs. main WiFi is a matter of practicality and efficiency.

However, to make sense of that, you must first understand the differences between these networks. And that’s exactly what this article is all about.

guest wifi vs main wifi 1

How a Main WiFi Network Works

Let’s start this discussion by understanding each of these networks individually. That’s the best way to grasp the differences quickly and shape your strategy.

So, the main WiFi network basically connects all the devices and network resources within your organization through a WiFi connection. Here, the goal is to provide Internet connectivity to your devices when they’re within its range.

Internet service providers are usually the ones that lay the groundwork here. When it comes to configuring and managing it, you can contact specialized business network providers or IT consultants.

On the flip side, a dedicated team can install the network and maintain it. They’ll also be able to help you quickly should a problem occur in the future.

To start using it, you can set a dedicated name (SSID) and protect it with a password. Anyone who wants to connect to this network must know the SSID and password for it.

Moreover, all the devices on this network can communicate with each other, share files, and access shared peripherals like printers.

guest wifi vs main wifi 2

How a Guest WiFi Network Works

A guest WiFi network provides Internet connectivity to your guests’ devices. There’s no involvement of your organization’s devices, resources, and internal folders here.

Plus, you can set certain restrictions and limitations to control what and how much your customers can access. Creating these networks is a procedure that changes depending on your router. However, routers let you create as many additional networks as you need.

The problem is that you might need technical understanding to implement them. That’s why most businesses today use WiFi marketing solutions to leverage guest wireless networks.

Now, there are typically two ways to give your customers access to this network. You can either protect it with a robust password and share that with customers or implement a captive portal for it.

The second concept might sound technical at first glance. But you simply have to create a web page that customers see when they try to access the network.

Its goal is to authenticate customers by asking for credentials. You can also ask them for information like names, email addresses, social media profiles, preferences, etc. These reasons make this approach better than simply providing the password.

If you’re wondering about the process to set it up, here it is. Start by visiting your router settings by logging in through a browser.

Navigate to WiFi Settings or Wireless Settings, and you’ll get the option to set up the guest WiFi.

guest wifi vs main wifi 3

Guest WiFi vs. Main WiFi: Understanding How They Differ

Now that we’ve touched upon both the wireless networks let’s see the differences between guest WiFi vs. main WiFi.

  1. Resource involvement: All connected devices in a main network can communicate with each other and share resources. On the other hand, a guest network works in isolation. Devices using it cannot gain access to these resources.
  2. Access controls: Only people who know the password can access the main WiFi network. But a guest network is usually open. Even if you can set a password for it, you’ll make it widely available.
  3. Usage restrictions: With a guest network, you have more control over how customers interact with it. You can put time and bandwidth restrictions, block certain websites, and control usage. Your main network also has these features. But you can’t use them as extensively since these restrictions might disrupt your daily business operations.
  4. Network security: Guest networks have more vulnerabilities. That’s because their main goal is to provide convenient Internet access to the public. Owing to this, hackers might be able to find loopholes. However, following public WiFi security best practices prevent the most common attacks.

guest wifi vs main wifi 4

Which Network Should You Choose?

Whether you choose the main or guest network depends on the situation you’re using it for. Here are some scenarios where the main network emerges as the clear winner.

Running a business according to modern times requires you to perform a lot of tasks through the Internet.

Plus, you probably have various tools to deal with different aspects of your business. These internal systems and devices should be able to communicate with each other to maintain consistency and efficient operation.

Then, you have your employees’ needs to think about. Keeping them happy will encourage them to keep your customers happy. Therefore, you’ll need to provide them with a fast and secure connection without a lot of restrictions.

On the other hand, providing convenient, free WiFi to your customers calls for a separate guest network. If you use the main network for this, your customers’ devices might gain access to network resources. This includes your business’s internal files, etc.

Moreover, you don’t know what a customer brings into the network. The isolation aspect of guest WiFi keeps you safe. Additionally, the customer information you can collect through implementing guest networks gives you another reason to look into it. While you can do it even on your main networks, this helps you keep operations smooth.

Plus, everyone who enters your premises won’t be a paying customer. If you only want to give Internet access to people who buy something, guest WiFi is the way to go.

Lastly, setting up a guest network facilitates the appropriate distribution of traffic so it doesn’t overload your primary network.

All in all, if you run a business that deals with customers, guest WiFi is the go-to choice. However, to get the most out of it, reading a guide to guest WiFi is the smartest approach.

How To Simplify Your Life if You Offer Free WiFi to Customers

There’s no absolute winner when it comes to guest WiFI vs. main WiFi. The decision depends mostly on what business you run and what your business strategy is.

Your main network is enough to provide free WiFi. However, it opens the door to issues. A guest network provides internet access to customers and lets you monetize that channel. With proper implementation, you can reinforce your brand, collect data, and improve the customer experience.

If you want to take advantage of your WiFi, try Beambox. It’s a WiFi marketing platform that helps you automate marketing campaigns and set guest networks easily.

You’ll be able to gather insights about your customers and manage the bandwidth effectively in a few clicks. Do you want to give it a try? Start your trial now!

Get Started With Free WiFi Marketing

Beambox helps businesses like yours grow with data capture, marketing automation and reputation management.

Sign up for 30 days free

Grow your business and customer loyalty with guest WiFi!

Related posts