Free WiFi for Your Small Business: Risks and Solutions


With the increasingly fast-paced and technology-driven world we currently reside in, people can’t help but use the internet on the go. One of the first things that come to their minds when they walk into an establishment is the WiFi. Whether it’s a restaurant or a retail store, offering free WiFi gives a massive boost to business. It also helps improve customer satisfaction and loyalty.

While offering a free connection to the internet enhances your customers’ experience, it may also cause some problems. Knowing the issues associated with free WiFi can help you avoid problems that may harm your customers and your establishment’s reputation. With this, here are some of the most common risks your small business may face when it comes to offering free WiFi:

1 – Network Security Issues

Your WiFi network is free for everyone to use, which means that you’ll have to keep it secure. This is because your employees and customers may have to input sensitive data like credit card payments, log-in details, and financial information, among many others. Having a shared connection will open up your network to hackers, phishers, and other malicious entities. They’ll gain unauthorized access to the sensitive data in your network, which can spell trouble for your establishment and your patrons.

It’s best to ensure that you’ve configured your router’s security protocol to WPA or WiFi Protected Access. You may also opt for WPA2, which offers better security. If your router does not support either of those settings, an upgrade may be best. You can also install features that provide additional protection against hackers and malware.

To prevent your customers from gaining access to your business’s data, make sure that your employees and visitors have separate access points. Make use of Service Set Identifier (SSID) technology to do so. For an added layer of security, you may also opt to use an entirely different network from the one you have available for customer use.

2 – Poor Connectivity

Instead of making your customers’ experience better with your free WiFi, you can make it worse if it’s too slow or malfunctioning. While you may not think it’s your problem that the connectivity is poor, your patrons will view it as poor customer service. This can immensely harm your establishment’s reputation.

It’s best to overestimate the number of users you expect to connect to your network if you’re trying to figure out how much bandwidth you need. You may need at least 120 kilobits per second for each user. Also, you need to make sure that your hardware is up to date and the router is installed at an ideal location.

3 – Non-Paying WiFi Users

Free WiFi will certainly attract customers to your small business, but it will also attract people who want to take advantage of your network. If you want to prevent non-paying users from connecting to your WiFi, consider setting some rules. These include limiting people’s access time, restricting access during peak hours, and setting up a passcode that only paying customers can access.

Network Solutions for Your Small Business

Offering free WiFi is a great way to boost customer satisfaction and attract people to your small business. However, you’ll have to be mindful of the risks that come with this service. Always make sure to secure your network, keep it in working order, and learn how to deal with people who want to take advantage of your WiFi.

If you’re looking for wireless networking services in Calgary, TP Communications has you covered. We offer a range of networking and cabling solutions that your small business needs. Contact us and get a quote today!