Prediction: 2017 Is The Year Of Managed Wi-Fi

Whether for business, community areas or home applications, managed Wi-Fi seems to be the hot topic among telcos for 2017. As with many new product lines, no configuration is right for everyone. It’s important to consider your options before jumping in to determine which approach is right for you.

Managed Business Wi-Fi:
Wi-Fi isn’t just for coffee shops anymore. Scores of other businesses, including hotels, tire shops, restaurants, bookstores, salons and specialty retailers, enjoy the opportunity to offer their customers high-speed Wi-Fi.

Ideally, most businesses would use a dual-band solution, allowing their employees to be on one secured network separate from the open network the customers use. Some vendors have products that will allow additional options, such as collecting customer email addresses when they sign on, limiting time on connections or traffic shaping. Ask your provider if you can offer any of these valuable features to your customers.

Some telcos are rolling the cost of equipment rentals into the monthly management fee in order to simplify billing.

Additionally, most telcos are providing on-site consultations to determine how many access points a business needs and where these should go.

Managed Home Wi-Fi
Now more than ever, customers just need their internet service to work — and many of them are willing to pay extra for their telco to be the one to make sure it does. New ONTs and routers are making it much simpler to offer remote troubleshooting for most common Wi-Fi issues.

As with business Wi-Fi, some telcos are providing on-site consultations to look at how a customer plans to use Wi-Fi in their home, though this is not as common on the residential side. Similar to business accounts, some telcos roll their equipment rental fees into the overall management fee.  

One major advantage to this service is that it reduces the number of trouble tickets or costly truck rolls when the customer’s problem lies in their third-party router that may not be adequate for their needs or connection speed.

Community Area Wi-Fi
Some telcos offer Wi-Fi service in community gathering spots such as parks, main streets or athletic fields. While this can be a challenge due to large areas for coverage and barriers such as buildings, many telcos see it as a way to extend their brand.

Some of the latest technology in this field allows telcos to give their customers more access or faster access than non-customers. Depending on settings, the Wi-Fi can be set up so that customers can log in for free access while guests have to pay a small fee.

With those sign-ins comes an opportunity to collect email addresses that could be useful for the telco marketing department or the local chamber of commerce. Those captured email addresses would provide a valuable opportunity to learn who is visiting a community and find a way to reach them.