IT Support 101: The importance of guest wifi
Updated: May 9
Are you familiar with that an SSID is? Technically the abbreviation means Service Set Identifier. But in layman, it's the name of your WiFi. You know, your home WiFi that you name home or my home or Nachowifi. Yes, this is protected by a password that would allow only those you want access to your significant internet bandwidth. These things are not free, you know.
The importance of guest WiFi security
Security is an issue. Your SSID protects all of the component connected to it. From a security standpoint, you can manipulate any or every computer or IoT device connected to the same SSID you linked to, which means that if you connected to your home WiFi, all the other laptops and TV and toaster connected to that same WiFi is fair game. If you know what you are doing, you can reasonably access the operating system of these connected devices and access them — even manipulating them. You can effectively hack them, which is why coffee places who do not have a guest WiFi system are a scary place. And why many hackers use cyber cafes since cybercafes have open SSID for their customers. You can essentially hack each other in some of them because the SSID or connected devices are not protected nor do they have any security software or firewall attached to them.
Guest WiFi policing
You also need to be able to control who comes in and out of your network. Like if you are a restaurant, you do not want someone using your internet and not paying for things. So your main SSID or WiFi is kept confidential with a very hard to decrypt the password. So people who visit your restaurant are only able to access the Guest WiFi, which has a splash screen. The splash screen is those screens that pop up when you sign in to a guest WiFi network and see a page where you have to agree to terms and conditions. Think of the airport WiFi and McDonald's WiFi and you get the idea. For the airport they make you re-login every hour on the hour.
Speed of your guest wifi
Most guest WiFi does not open the entire floodgate of the bandwidth they have. Meaning if the internet in your office is 1 Gbps, you would not want your guest to have access to all of it. You may limit it to 100 Mbps or 20 Mbps. After all, they are guests and would probably only require a tiny amount of internet to use their social media while they wait for the meeting to start. And even if they have something to present, you can have different tier Guest WiFi, one for casual guest and one for distinguished guests, like a VIP guest WiFi. That works, right?
Do what makes sense for your organization, do you have many meetings and guests coming over? Do you have clients or customers who require internet access? Is providing internet as customer service a priority or is it a huge security concern. Now let's look at how to make this work.
Guest Wifi Setup
Setting up an effective guest WiFi is entirely dependent on the brand or product you are using. You need to set up your wireless router to provide a Guest SSID. After which your guest can access the internet by simply logging in to that SSID. You can do this either by way of splash page login or a password for your guests. Depending on the brand here are the setup process:
Do note that there are many brands out there and we are trying to cover the more famous brands. The brands you should normally see in almost every corner computer store.
Data security is important for your Guest Wifi
Your office is more than likely going to have shared drives and folders floating about. So this is another good reason to have an extra layer of security, which is a guest WiFi. It is essential to note this because even if your guest WiFi may not be working correctly. Allowing anyone outside of your organisation access to your office WiFi will enable them to access unsecured computers in your office and easily open shared folders they have no business in viewing. What if this guest is a client or an agent that is working with you and accidentally stumbles into a folder where you have important contacts, vendors and leads. Mostly information that is your entire business, you clearly cannot afford to lose this information. And if your guest has not signed any non-disclosure agreement with you, you are royally screwed. So is a guest WiFi important? Absolutely. No doubt about it. The answer is a categorical yes on all accounts.