Global networking company Netgear announced at 2014 International CES in Las Vegas that it is teaming up with Facebook to provide Wi-Fi to small businesses, and the Facebook Wi-Fi service will be available free-of-charge to users of the social network who check in at those businesses’ Facebook pages.
Cisco Systems and Facebook announced a similar Wi-Fi initiative last October.
Owners of small businesses can turn their Netgear 802.11ac routers into Wi-Fi hotspots, and users will be prompted to check in to those businesses’ Facebook pages prior to gaining access to the network. The ability for users to like those pages will also be prominent.
Small business owners also have the option of allowing customers to bypass the Facebook check-in process and access Wi-Fi with codes that they provide, or they can just make their networks available for access with no restrictions.
Facebook Wi-Fi capability will be available with these four next-generation dual-band 802.11ac wireless routers:
- Nighthawk AC1900 Smart WiFi Router (R7000) (firmware with Facebook Wi-Fi will be available sometime during the first quarter)
- R6300 Smart WiFi Router (firmware currently available)
- R6250 Smart WiFi Router (first quarter)
- R6200 WiFi Router (first quarter)
Netgear Retail Business Vice President of Product Management David Henry said in a release announcing Facebook Wi-Fi:
Cafés, bookstores, barber shops, and other small businesses have been providing Wi-Fi to their clientele for several years. We’re adding the Facebook Wi-Fi login to our newest line of premium dual-band 802.11ac routers to encourage merchants to take better advantage of this benefit they’re already offering. They develop a stronger bond with customers and extend brand visibility with each check-in that appears in Facebook’s News Feed.
Readers: Would you check in to a small business’ Facebook page in order to access free Wi-Fi?