Margin hotspots

Margin hotspots


In this third of a six part series, Mike Smythe, Marketing Director at distributor Capstan Communications, suggest resellers can find excellent margin opportunities in the growing market for public access to the internet – Hotspots

According to Mike Smythe, Marketing Director at distributor Capstan Communications, the ever expanding market for smartphones, tablet and other personal access devices is creating opportunities for resellers to provide fast and secure access for a wide range of organisations that need to serve the public.

Providing a public access Wi-Fi hotspot for an organisation requires a number of elements, starting with a suitable router with wireless access point support. Larger sites require a Wireless Network Controller which will support and manage the multiple wireless access points (WAPs) required for complete coverage.


Controllers allow the simultaneous configuration and adjustments to all WAPs in the network and provide ‘good housekeeping’ practices such as identifying rogue APs gaining access to the private network making use of your infrastructure for free and potentially inappropriate use.

Not all wireless routers have same feature sets nor do they have the same end user cost models. Take LANCOM products for example. Here, once you have bought the hardware and relevant software modules for your installation there’s no recurring fees. Lancom also have an extensive content filter that can be purchased at anytime following initial installation Content filters prevent inappropriate access, for example in schools, and are updated regularly because content changes all the time as a result Content Filter, where required is the only annual fee charged by LANCOM.

For the reseller the fact that all LANCOM products have the same look and feel from hardware to operating system and user interface meaning a fast learning curve is achieved across a range of products that spans large and small deployments.

LANCOM has a complete suite of fully functioned prodcucts working across 2.4GHz and 5.0 GHz 802.11a,b, g, and n standards – these were explained in the October 2011 article. The significance of “Wireless n” , and LANCOM wireless routers work to this standard, is that it allows for much better channel planning – a wider spread to choose from and they can be adjusted so they are closer together and far reaching coverage This means there is less likelihood of getting interference from other close by networks. Additionally the greater coverage afforded means fewer access points are required, something to be considered when planning the network

The ability to combine corporate and public access on the same network infrastructure means that security is vital, and although security features are built in a firewall is still needed.

LANCOM routers have up to 8 SSIDs in the same router which means you could have eight virtualised wireless networks on the same infrastructure. In a schools application you could therefore, for example, have one for students, another for teachers and another for IP based CCTV.

The Digital Economy Act, introduced at the end of the last parliament in 2009, means that operators of wireless access networks for public access have to make best endeavours to keep the records and login details of users for a period of twelve months and when required make such records available to the authorities.

This is an onerous task for providers to say the least but one which LANCOM has already addressed by having a built in Radius Server to provide data capture for accounting, authorisation and administration.

Capstan will also be shortly launching a hosted service to carry out this function for compliance with both EU and UK legislation on public internet access on behalf of the venue. Wireless Internet Service Providers (WISPs) are obliged to comply with the legislation and our hosted service will provide a complete compliance solution including taking payments, roaming agreements, say between the capstan solution and The Cloud, and multiple cost options for users including free of charge access.

For resellers this all adds up to a great sales opportunity with good margin making elements in installation, maintenance, recurring revenue and product sales. It’s another application to sell that makes customers even stickier.

Support for resellers is at hand from Capstan who will provide training courses, network planning and design, help with tenders and a finance package for users. We can even carry out the installation if required.


Hotspot Locations

A hotspot is a site that offers Internet access over a Wireless Local Area Network W-LAN through the use of a router connected to a link to an Internet service provider. Hotspots typically use Wi- Fi technology.

Hotspots are often found at restaurants, train stations, airports, libraries, hotels, hospitals, coffee shops, bookstores, fuel stations, department stores, supermarkets, business centres and other public places.

Many universities and schools have wireless networks in their campus and many firms have public access for sub-contract workers.

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