How can I set up a public WiFi hotspot?

A hotspot is any location in your office or store where people can access your internet. To create a public hotspot for your customers, you should:

  • Set up a guest network — We’ve mentioned the benefits of having a separate guest network in the previous point. Make sure that the password is secure, enable WPA/WPA2 encryption (for an extra layer of security), and turn off your private network’s SSID (so customers won’t see it).
  • Set up a captive portal — A captive portal will prompt customers to enter their email addresses/phone numbers, pay a fee, accept the terms and conditions, and/or provide your password so they can have WiFi access. This will let you limit your liability in case customers conduct any illicit activities, limit the amount of bandwidth people can use, and provide more data security. You can create this in your access point’s setup menu.
  • Provide passwords — Some establishments allow for free WiFi access, while others don’t. This is ultimately a business decision. You can let anyone access your guest network or limit it to paying customers.

Adding a hotspot gateway can be done via hardware or a router with special firmware. You can either purchase the hardware yourself or sign up with an ISP with the additional hardware and support that you’ll need.

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