Restaurant WiFi solutions come in many shapes and sizes, and – unless you are familiar with the technology – researching the options available to you can create more questions than answers. Many of your questions are likely due to the different terms used to describe how different restaurant WiFi solutions work. If you have already conquered the intricacies of WLANs, SSIDs and WPA2, well done. If not, here´s a quick guide:
- WLAN – Wireless Local Area Network. What many people use in their homes to connect their wireless devices (smartphones, tablets, etc.) to the Internet wirelessly via a router.
- SSID – Service Set Identifier. The “name” given to your router to identify it from other people´s routers i.e. “Joe´s Restaurant WiFi Service” (or a 32 character code).
- WPA2 – WiFi-Protected Access 2. The encryption standard that secures connections between your mobile devices and routers to prevent them being intercepted by hackers.
Modern domestic WiFi routers (labeled IEEE 802.11 and operating on the 2.4 GHz band) have a range of up to 150 feet, so are suitable as restaurant WiFi solutions for restaurant venues – subject to any physical obstructions between the router and the end user, interference from microwave ovens, and the strength of competing signals from neighbors´ WLANs (you can check out the strength of competing WLANs by doing a network search from your own mobile device).
However, if you are going to use the same router to conduct restaurant business and provide a WiFi service to your diners (for example, if you have a network cable connecting your PC to the router), you will need to divide your WiFi service into a WPA2 service (to keep your business transactions confidential) and an SSID service that diners can access. This is not a difficult process and many modern domestic WiFi routers come with this division of service already enabled.
The Competitive Advantages of Restaurant WiFi Solutions
There is no doubt that providing a free WiFi service can provide competitive advantages. Research has shown restaurant WiFi solutions can bring restaurants to the attention of individuals who may not notice them otherwise. Remember the network search to check out the strength of competing WLANs? That is free advertising on mobile devices when diners are looking for somewhere with to eat with a WiFi service. 53% of people say they are happy to sit alone in restaurants if WiFi is available.
Further surveys have shown a third of workers chose their lunchtime eating venues on the basis of whether a free WiFi service is available, four-in-ten consider access to a WiFi service when selecting their evening eating venues, and two-thirds “absolutely expect” a WiFi connection in fast-food restaurants. Significantly, one-in-ten respondents to one of the above surveys said they would leave a restaurant without ordering if they discovered there was no WiFi service provided.
However, simply providing a WiFi service is not always enough. Restaurant WiFi solutions attract customers, but they can also come with security risks. Restaurant WiFi solutions may be used by customers to access inappropriate online material they would not want to be seen accessing on their home computers, and they can also be used for illegal activity such as copyright-infringing P2P file sharing. For these reasons – and several more – it is advisable to enhance your WiFi service with a web content filter.
How Web Content Filters Secure Your Restaurant WiFi Service
Web content filters protect your network, your PC and your diners´ devices from web-borne threats. They put you in control of what online material your diners can access and what online activities they can engage in. Restaurant WiFi solutions with web content filters also have time-based and bandwidth controls to prevent individuals using your WiFi service free of charge without ordering food or drinks from your restaurant.
Web content filters have a three-tier filtering mechanism. The first tier – blacklists – is provided and updated by your service provider. Blacklists contain lists of websites known to harbor malware and other web-borne threats and, when any request is made to visit a website, the first thing the web content filter does is check the request against the blacklist. If the website is known to represent a threat, access to the website is denied to protect your network and your diners´ devices.
The second mechanism is a category filter. This mechanism allows you to block any category of website you do not want diners viewing on your premises. For example, you can prevent diners from accessing pornography or violence. You can also block any illegal activity such as P2P file sharing sites so that diners do not download copyrighted content illegally – an activity you could be considered liable for by providing the WiFi service.
Finally, keyword filters can be used to block access to websites based on specific words. This mechanism is usually used to fine-tune the category filters or prevent access to bandwidth-hogging sites such as Netflix and YouTube to ensure there is sufficient bandwidth available for everyone. In a restaurant environment, this mechanism could also be used to prevent diners visiting the websites of other restaurants, or review sites and submitting reviews while they are on the premises.
|Stop Diners Visiting these and Other categories of Content from Your WiFi Service|
|Violence||Criminal Skills||Online Gambling|
|Review Sites||Hate Speech||Weapons|
Cost-Effective Web Content Filters for Restaurants
There are a number of benefits to implementing restaurant WiFi solutions with web content filters that could help the service you provide pay for itself. According to the results of the surveys provided above, you will likely attract more diners simply by providing a WiFi service. However, given the choice, most diners would rather browse the Internet and read their emails in a secure online environment. Furthermore, it might take just one security issue to undo the competitive advantage you get from providing a service.
In addition to providing a secure and family-friendly environment, web content filters can be configured to produce anonymous reports about your diners´ online activities – information that could be used to tailor future restaurant promotions and guide your marketing strategies. In these circumstances, not only will you be attracting customers to your restaurant by providing a secure WiFi service, you will achieve a higher rate of returning customers due to the restaurant catering for their online tastes as well as their culinary ones, while ensuring they can access the internet safely and securely.
Try Our Web Content Filter for Free
If you are in the restaurant industry, and you offer – or are about to offer – an unfiltered WiFi service to your diners you are invited to try web content filtering solution – WebTitan Cloud for WiFi – free of charge. WebTitan Cloud for WiFi is a cloud-based filter especially designed for businesses providing a WiFi service. It can protect your network and your diners´ devices while controlling online access from your premises. With WebTitan you can create a child-friendly WiFi network no matter how many WiFi access points you have, or where they are located. If you have a chain of restaurants, you can control Internet access at all locations through the centrally managed user interface and can even gain real time views into the content that is being accessed by customers and employees. WebTitan Cloud for WiFi is easy to install, and there are no technical skills required to configure the solution.
To take advantage of this opportunity to try the award-winning WebTitan for WiFi, click on the “Start Free Trial” button at the top of the page and enter your restaurant´s details to start downloading the software. If you need any help installing or configuring the software on restaurant WiFi solutions, do not hesitate to give us a call. Our team of Sales Technicians will guide you through resolving any problems you encounter and will help you to optimize the settings to suit your particular circumstances and the environment of your restaurant. The free trial includes full access to our world class customer service and support team.
Our offer to try WebTitan Cloud for WiFi for free gives you the opportunity to test the merits of our web content filter in your own environment. If you are happy to continue using our service at the end of the trial, all you need do is simply purchase a software license. These are inexpensive and based on the number of people that will connecting to your WiFi service. You will not have to reinstall or reconfigure the software, and you will continue to receive the same great protection and service from WebTitan.