Seth Godin posted a rant the other day about how much he hates "locked" wireless access points (WAPs). Then a bunch of really smart people responded to him waxing on about why it’s stupid to leave your WAP wide open. So, who’s right? Everyone.
Here’s the thing:
1. A business that does not find a way to provide free wireless to its customers is really missing out on a way to build loyalty, traffic, and new business.
2. A business that leaves its network exposed is foolish.
3. A business that teases its customers with what looks like free WiFi, only to be dishing up a restricted access point is actively pissing off the very folks it wants to attract.
Now, I have a bias here. I own a WiFi company. There. I said it. But so what? It changes none of the above. So, you have 3.5 choices:
1. Get some cheap bandwidth (DSL, Cable, something.) and put your access point on that. Then there is no security risk.
2. Get your computer guy to help you set up your WAP or your network in such a way that your security risk is minimized.
3. Get with a wireless provider that takes care of all of this for you (here’s the bias, folks. I own 3rd Wave).
3.5. This one is really only half of an idea because I think it is selfish. But for Gods sake, if you’re going to set up an access point but your not going to share it, DON’T broadcast the SSID! You’re just telling people that you’re capable of giving them free WiFi but choosing not to, and that usually doesn’t make for happy customers.
Me? I remembered to keep my eye on the ball. I get a lot of calls from people that want to make money from our hotspots by charging people to use them. Never gonna happen. Surfing was meant to be free.