The Importance of a Captive Portal for Wireless Networks

Have you ever logged onto a public WiFi network such as Starbucks or Dunkin Donuts recently? If you have, you most likely saw a login page which is known as a “captive portal” page. A captive portal is a Web page that the user of a public-access network is obliged to view and interact with before access is granted to them. Captive portals are typically used by business areas, airports, hotel lobbies, cafes, and other venues that offer free WiFi hotspots for Internet users.

However, there are instances where you have small businesses that will provide their guests with free access to their wireless networks without using a captive portal solution. This can bring about many negative consequences for both your users and your business. It would be ideal to implement a captive portal for your WiFi network and that will be an essential part of your overall business solution.

Here are a few important reasons your guest wireless network needs to include a captive portal:

  1. You need a page identifying it as your own business and WiFi network so that users don't end up connecting to a hacker's network because they are looking to steal data.
  2. Protecting your business from being sued is important. Being sued for identity or credit card theft wouldn't be a good thing. That would stem from not providing authentication of users and encryption of data.

One of the many benefits of using a captive portal is that you can include your rules into the terms of conditions policy for registration which would end up forcing the users to accept it. Another benefit is that it can also provide you with valuable data such as enabling your guests to use their social login credentials on your captive portal to gain access to your network. For example, if someone using your captive portal logs in using their Facebook or Google account, you could have permission to collect information such as age, date of birth etc.

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