Becoming a WiFi Hotspot
WiFi technology is one of the hottest and fastest spreading worldwide. More and more businesses and individuals are setting up WiFi hotspots. Here are a few useful tips for those who are considering a hotspot as a business tool.
What You Need
To set up a hotspot, all you need is 1. a hotspot kit (hardware, software and remote monitoring device) and 2. a high speed internet connection (DSL, T1 or DS3).
The type of hotspot kit depends on whether you need a Single Access Point or Multiple Access Point. If you are going for multiple access points, the area where you want to deploy the network has to be considered- whether it is a multi-storey building or a medium sized hotel.
To Bill or not to Bill
It is another important decision whether you should charge your clients for using the hotspot. This depends on the nature and size of your business. Many businesses want to set up hotspots as another value added service to attract more customers. A complimentary hotspot access can work as an incentive for a customer to choose your brand/ company against a competitor’s.
If you decide to charge your customers, make sure that you are choosing a WiFi provider who has a built in package that helps in billing. The hotspot kit you purchase should enable you to take credit cards to your gateway. In this model, you are likely to share the revenues with the service provider, and the service provider assists in the day-to-day operations and maintenance of the hotspot.
Setting up a Hotspot
If you already have a network held together by Ethernet and now want to upgrade to a wireless hotspot, you need to purchase a Wireless Access Point and join it with the Ethernet network.
If you are starting from the scratch, what you need is a Wireless Access Point Router. This kit contains
- a port to connect the modem
- a router
- an Ethernet hub
- a firewall
- a wireless access point
You can then connect the computers with Ethernet cables or with wireless cards. Whichever you choose, once you plug in the Wireless Access Point on, the WiFi hotspot will be functional.
You will need the 802.11a standard if you are setting the network for business purposes. For home use, you can either choose the 802.11b which is the least expensive but also the slowest, or 802.11g which costs a little more but is much faster.