What is the Future of Connectivity for Guests? It’s Still WiFi!
Despite recent excitement and launch of 5G networks and the future of wireless broadband, the last few dozen meters of connecting customers to the Internet still heavily relies on a very important step, and that is the tried-and-true 802.11 WiFi Wireless connection. 4G and 5G network limitations include difficulty for signals to pass through walls and windows, reducing bandwidth, cell network congestion, and finally, the expense to consumers from cellular data-caps, tethering plans, or additional costs or unavailability of adding cellular connectivity for tablets and laptops except for in high-end devices. This means that the customers and guests of restaurants, schools, cafes, outpatient, AirBnB and hotels will be looking for reliable WiFi5 and WiFi6 connections for the foreseeable future. Simply put, guests not only want WiFi, but in many cases need it, and they expect their hosting business to provide it.
Captive Portals – Guest WiFi should be Safe, Secure and Useful
A Captive Portal is one the best way to safely and efficiently connect guest devices to your business via WiFi for the last few dozen meters of connectivity in the modern world. You’ve seen guest portals before or tried to log in to a “Guest WiFi” that is open, but before being allowed to actually use the internet, some sort of login, password or usage agreement must be completed. These captive portals drastically improve many aspects of a shared Internet connection for both Consumers and the business supplying the connection. For guests, it allows easy self-registration, preventing the need to find or ask for WiFi access. Additionally, system time-limits and data-cap provisioning might seem like a negative to the consumer at first, but it can drastically improve the long term quality of service for users and satisfaction since data-hogs or nearby neighbors borrowing connection for long periods can be monitored and prevented. Captive portals can also filter inappropriate URL, or bandwidth-hogging URLs like specific video streaming that may reduce network quality and customer satisfaction, or reduce liability issues with customers.
Captive Portals – A Great Marketing Tool for Businesses
There’s so much more to be gained than simply supplying guests with WiFi and the Internet. Captive Portal tools such as Facebook Login allows users the option to login to guest WiFi with Facebook. By using Facebook Login, regular and potential customers agree to share certain open profile data with the providing business. The login data helps the Business understand their customers better, and provide more targeted products and services to them. A guest may also find that interacting with a guest portal in order to facilitate receiving engaging content from their favorite business such as discounts, surveys, and social feeds is an overall bonus to their visits and relationship to the WiFi provider. In some cases, businesses such as hotels or conferences may even choose to use a paid or sponsored model to allow additional bandwidth, or provisioning to users who pay, helping to offset the costs of supplying powerful Internet connections.
Providing a Captive Portal Does Not Have to be Hard or Expensive!
Traditionally, providing a captive portal was difficult and expensive for small and medium businesses. Often businesses would need to rely on a dedicated IT staff or provider. The future of the captive portal is self-service for customers, but also for the business providing the WiFi Captive Portal. Thanks to advancements in IT remote management, cloud-connected IT devices like Routers, WiFi Access Points and Switches, means that after installing hardware on-site, creating, deploying and WiFi and Captive portals is well within reach of almost any sized business, big or small, even with a small, part-time or IT staff or value IT managed service providers.
If you are considering providing a Captive Portal for guest WiFi consider the NETGEAR Instant Captive Portal (powered by RaGaPa). It gives the business owners the ability to set up a professional captive portal within minutes, with features and capabilities similar to that of a major franchise.
NETGEAR Insight Instant Captive Portal gives you:
- Easy portal customization
- Monetization with display ads
- Social login with analytics
- Comprehensive dashboard
- And more! Instant Captive Portal Features