GoGoGuest

6 Handy Tips Before Choosing An Access Point

If you are planning to open a coffeeshop, a restaurant, a quick service spot, craft brewery or a retail experience store you will need network connectivity. This handy guide will walk you through 6 tips when choosing the right wireless cloud access points for your business.

Wireless networks are traditionally used to support your POS systems, speakers, television and other connected devices to run and manage your in-store business. The innovation in cloud technologies and IoT (Internet of Things) has made wireless networks and cloud access points essential to elevating guest experience and customer engagement. This makes choosing the right wireless cloud access points a crucial part of opening your physical storefront or retail experience. 

How To Choose The Right Cloud Access Point For Your Business

Today, you're probably opening your first physical storefront. Imagine, opening multiple locations across the country or the world, while being able to monitor and manage wireless connectivity in all your physical locations from one dashboard?

Beyond the easy installation, simplicity, security and durability there are cloud access points that come with a life-time warranty and excellent support you can rely on. In this guide, you’ll learn about two cloud wireless access point brands and how each works with our GoGoGuest WiFi Marketing solution.

1. Ease of Use

User experience is central to how we design and build products at GoGoGuest. This means, when we evaluate hardware that works with our WiFi marketing solution user friendliness is high on our list. 

If you’re a local business owner or franchise operator who does not have any network technician to lean on, the task of setting up network connectivity for your physical store can be daunting. ISP (Internet Service Providers) networks offer too many options, albeit none of their standard routers are wireless. 

At GoGoGuest, Cisco’s Meraki Wireless Access Points score high on ease of use. Here’s why:

  • The easy plug and play steps are super easy to follow. The most none technical individual can accomplish the task of setting up a Meraki cloud access point, provided that the main ISP router is already installed and set up.
  • A single Meraki wireless access point can support a physical storefront with less than 1,000 square ft and up to 4,000 square ft of usable space. Larger spaces typically need a mesh network which is technically super easy to configure in the cloud dashboard.
  • Setting up a new Meraki does not need re-wiring your existing network infrastructure. As long as you have one ethernet port in your ISP router, adding Meraki using a PoE (Power over Ethernet) is simple.
  • If you’re a brand with multiple locations across the country it is easy to install, manage and maintain the wireless connectivity needs of each site from one dashboard.

If you’re a business who prefers to lean on a local technician for all your network connectivity needs, then Unifi’s wireless access points would work well too. The big difference is that you will need a technician to install and set-up an Unifi access point on site. Unifi’s access points are business grade just like the Meraki, albeit a bit more technical when it comes to the installation, maintenance and management. 

Like the Meraki, Unifi can be maintained and managed across multiple locations too provided that your technician has installed the access points using a Cloud Controller. A Unifi Cloud Controller is similar in function to Meraki’s Cloud License dashboard, but requires a more technical and hands-on set-up. 

"We lean on GoGoGuest 100% for our guest network and customer engagement needs. The software service is outstanding for businesses in hospitality, restaurant and coffee shop industries.

John Wittig, COO
Coffeebar Group Holdings LLC
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2. About security and scalability

Every brand and business aims to expand and grow across markets. Security of your wireless network and scalability must be considered when choosing your wireless cloud access point.

Meraki and Ubiquiti both offer business-grade security functions and features for PCI Compliance and network segmentation. Albeit Meraki has better documentation on these settings. Ubiquiti relies heavily on community feedback and Q&A (at least that is what we’ve observed).

WHICH WIRELESS ACCESS POINT IS RIGHT FOR YOU?

Access Points Ease of Use Support & Lifetime Warranty Works With GoGoGuest
MERAKI Plug and play installation with built-in cloud management dashboard
UBIQUITI Requires a network technician Rely on your local technician for support

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3. Collect anonymized data to understand foot traffic and journeys

This is where things get interesting for us here at GoGoGuest. Both Meraki and Ubiquiti offer anonymized foot traffic data and insights. 

This information is specifically helpful for brands and businesses with physical storefronts to assess the viability of new markets. Meanwhile it can also be used for audience engagement programming using a variety of digital and experiential customer engagement channels.

When using GoGoGuest, a company can request to gather anonymized data for specific sites or experiential events.

Anonymized location analytics for wifi marketing

4. How much does a wireless cloud access point cost?

The cost to set-up a wireless network infrastructure per location can vary depending on the site’s dimension, total square ft., levels (single or multi-level), location and your network needs. 

Here’s what your potential cloud access point cost would look like for 1 location with 1,000 square ft – 3,000 square ft.:

  • Meraki MR-33 – Prices may vary depending on the dealer. Usually if you do a quick search online you’ll find a new unit from $250-235 (does not include the cloud license). A cloud license can vary from 1-year to 5-years. We recommend going with a 3-year license which can cost from $175-$200. 
  • Ubiquiti AC PRO 24 – Prices may vary depending on the dealer. A quick search shows an AC PRO 24 ranges from $135-$179/unit. There is an additional cost for the Cloud Controller. 
  • PoE – Add the cost of a PoE (Power Over Ethernet) which could range from $29 – $65 / PoE or more depending on the capabilities.
First Line Of Support
When a brand and business decides to partner we GoGoGuest, we become your first line of wireless network support after the onsite installation. Through the cloud dashboards we are able to monitor each network across all locations. This is ideal for small to mid-market brands who have limited resources and infrastructure. 

Lifetime Warranty
Meraki can be more expensive at first glance. However, with a plug and play installation (for most), great customer care and a lifetime warranty that makes hardware replacement super easy the cost of a Meraki far outweighs Ubiquiti.
 

Here at GoGoGuest, we support Meraki and Ubiquiti wireless access points. What we discovered is that more local technicians are recommending Ubiquiti for a few reasons:

  • It costs less compared to a Meraki
  • A local technician can up-sell the idea of a monthly maintenance and support
Meanwhile, a Meraki costs more upfront without the need for a monthly maintenance and support from a local technician.

5. How it works with GoGoGuest WiFi Marketing

GoGoGuest WiFi Marketing supports and works well with Meraki and Ubiquiti access points. Here’s what you should know:

  • Wireless access points are not included in our software package. 
  • As part of our onboarding process, we provide support in setting up and transitioning an old network set-up to a completely wireless network set-up.
  • With a Meraki access point, we can go live within 7-business days per location or across multiple locations.
  • With an Ubiquiti access point, we are able to support the same onboarding timeline with a dependency on your local technician’s availability.
Both wireless access points with GoGoGuest supports guest WiFi policies that require a purchase before connecting or a simple capture of an email address, zip code or phone number with permission. 

6. Staff pick

We’re not here to play favorites when it comes to our solution partners. Our goal is to find the best path forward for our customers.

If you’re a brand or business that do not have an IT team or a local technician who supports each site or location’s wireless network needs, investing in a Meraki is as good as having your own IT team. 😊

Next Steps

Now you’re probably wondering how to get the most out of your wireless network infrastructure and cloud access point? Take a look at our WiFi Marketing Playbook a guide that contains actionable examples on how WiFi marketing can elevate your guest experience and customer engagement.

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