Nonprofit organizations offer vital services to their communities, including internet access. While it’s more common for coffee shops, cafes, and even doctor’s offices to offer free internet, nonprofit organizations can make their employees’ and clients’ lives easier by setting up a WiFi hotspot.
To make the most of the power of the internet, it’s important to set up a hotspot correctly. Here are some vital practices for establishing a WiFi hotspot for a nonprofit organization.
One of the most important considerations for hotspots is how people use them. For instance, organizations that need internet access for telehealth may need a steady connection to use several webcams at the same time, whereas wireless internet for libraries may require sufficient bandwidth for online research, streaming video, and media creation.
Organizations can determine their need by asking themselves how many people will use the hotspot, how long they’ll stay connected, and whether they’ll check their email or use the hotspot for work. With a better understanding of how people use the hotspot, it’s easier to choose the right service package and equipment.
One reason for nonprofit organizations to establish a WiFi hotspot rather than let others use an existing network is so they don’t open themselves to hacks and other security risks. To protect sensitive data, it’s best to set up a guest network and encrypt it with WiFi Protected Access or WiFi Protected Access II.
For even more security, organizations can disable the “SSID broadcast” setting. That way, the currently existing network doesn’t appear on the list of available networks.
No matter the online security measures used, it’s a great idea to have a professional test them. That way, the network’s as secure as possible.
It’s one thing to offer free WiFi, but it’s another thing to offer free WiFi with great performance and snappy speeds. Sometimes, having the wrong hardware or inferior bandwidth from an internet service provider brings internet speeds to a crawl.
Rather than a residential router, it may make more sense to set up a high-grade router capable of handling several users simultaneously. Some routers require users to agree to a Terms of Service before connecting. This helps to protect nonprofits legally by filtering content and managing guest bandwidth usage.
To find the right service package, organizations can contact their ISP and let them know how many people they expect to use the hotspot. Some providers offer internet access to nonprofit organizations for a reduced cost.
Protecting a hotspot’s password ensures that only authorized persons access the network. Nonprofit organizations can share the hotspot password by writing it on a dry-erase board where only employees and authorized parties can see it.
It’s best to change the hotspot’s password occasionally, so others don’t abuse it and slow the connection. Changing it every day or once a week is a great practice, but that depends on the number of people who use the network.
Wires are the last thing that comes to mind when thinking about a wireless network setup. In reality, WiFi hotspot network setups need a great wiring plan.
Each access point needs a data or power cable, and organizations can either leave the cables out in the open or conceal them in the walls. Either way, the cables should be secured to keep others from tripping over them.
WiFi hotspots can help nonprofit organizations serve their communities and causes better. When set up correctly, hotspots become a powerful, useful tool.