Wi-Fi can be a tremendous asset, when you maximize your wireless internet investment. Beyond creating a workspace with mobility, there are many different ways Wi-Fi can be used to improve your business.


Offer a Guest Network

When customers log onto the Wi-Fi, be sure they first are directed to a page that’s promoting the services or products available through your company.

Most customers expect to stay connected to work, family and news everywhere they go, making free Wi-Fi access a valuable way to improve customer satisfaction. But be sure to create a separate access for guests versus staff. “A good rule of thumb is: If you don’t pay for or control the anti-virus software on a device, you shouldn’t allow it to join your primary network,” says Joe Patterson, solutions engineer at Concept Technology Inc., a leading managed IT service provider based in Nashville. “Guest networks can provide security for more than visitors’ devicesthey can also beused for smart TVs, thermostats, security cameras and other equipment cybercriminals can use to hack into a network.” This also ensures that customer use of the Wi-Fi does not overwhelm the available bandwidth and slow the connection used by staff for business needs.


Market to Customers On-Site

Once you have a guest network in place and customers are taking advantage of the connectivity, you have a captive audience for a few precious moments. When customers log onto the Wi-Fi, be sure they first are directed to a page that’s promoting the services or products available through your company. This can include your company’s e-commerce store, information about your services, and customer testimonials or reviews, and can even allow customers to make purchases through their mobile devices, rather than waiting in line.


Wi-Fi can be used by employees to expedite purchasing, too. For example, a restaurant can allow servers to send orders from the table directly to the kitchen without walking back and forth, cutting down on customer wait time.


Save Energy

Another way Wi-Fi can help you save money and provide better service is in energy use. The burgeoning area of the Internet of Things is allowing business owners to use wireless-enabled devices to respond to outside conditions or activations to ensure the most efficient use of energy and resources. For example, during cold weather months, heat can be turned on remotely before your business opens and a timer can ensure the heat goes off after closing.


Before You Launch Any Wi-Fi Strategies…

As more information is gathered and business transacted over Wi-Fi, it’s more important than ever for business owners to ensure they are being smart about their security. How involved your security efforts are will depend on how sensitive the information is that is going across the wireless. Any system can have a number of levels of security, down to the individual MAC [media access control] address. Consult your wireless provider to make sure the necessary protections are in place. Depending on the business’ needs, that might mean a quarterly check-in to be sure the security system is operating properly, or a constant, real-time scan for viruses, hacks or other compromises.


With the widespread use of Wi-Fi, it might be tempting for a business owner who uses it in his or her home to purchase the same equipment for the office. That might not be so wise. You should look for equipment specifically designed for commercial use and equipped to handle the larger load of user demand a business will have, according to Patterson. “This level of equipment also allows businesses to place multiple access points throughout the office,” he says. While one wireless router might work for a home, “to ensure consistent speed and signal strength, each area of the office needs at least one access point

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