Another Business Using Our Free Wi-Fi

Bit of a poll based on a moral problem I have.

Business next door to my cafe is using our free WiFi to help run their business. We do not "need" the internet ourselves but we have it to provide internet for our customers to use at an expense to us. We were unaware they were using it until I recently did a password change and a staff member from the next door shop came and asked for the new password.

Is this an OK thing for them to do? It is unlimited FTTC 50/20 so the customers are not really affected regarding speeds.

Am I the idiot for not changing my password enough?

Let me know what I should do…

Poll Options expired

  • 15
    Ignore it, it causes you no harm
  • 33
    Dont let them use it
  • 457
    Ask them to contribute
  • 209
    Block their mac address
  • 5
  • 16
    It was the cyclists fault


    • They certainly can't do that these days thanks to cg-nat

  • I thought the other business provided the internet to their customers or used it to "help run their business" as quoted by you. Which you would definitely have to deal with.

    However, is that actually what happens?

    From one of your other messages, it's just 1 of their staff asking for it. Presumably for his personal device (and presumably he was buying coffee too). If so, it's not a big deal.

    Can you clarify what they are actually using it for and what you are basing it on?

  • +5

    Build a faraday cage around your shop :P

    • +6

      Finally, a solution that is proportional to the problem! :-)

      • +3

        Finally, a solution that is proportional to the problem! :-)

        You're right. One is also needed around the seating area too!

  • +4

    Ignore it. As long as they are buying their daily coffees from you. It is a fixed cost. It is doing your business no harm.

    If you want to loose their business, make it an issue.

    If you want to potentially loose regulars and your sanity, change the password and/or SSID daily.

    If you want to guarantee loosing customers, start blocking mac addresses.

    Adding splash pages and separate SSID's are silly wastes of time and money for no financial return. They will only make your free wifi more frustrating for the few paying customers who use it.

    If there is anyone slightly tech savvy on their staff you will not win this fight.

    If you really must do something, down grade your service to a 25Mb connection. Save yourself $10 a month.

    You own a cafe. Your service is a critical component of your product and your success.

  • Change and print out password daily to hand to paying customers. Next time they ask for the password, hopefully they'll buy a coffee and get the password for the day :)

  • -1

    Depending on what router you have and if it has Quality of service = speed limiting.

    Make a separate guest network SSID (let your neighbor use it and ask them to contribute 50% of bill or get some neighbor favors in return)
    Limit the speed in the QoS settings 1/4 of the speed allocated the guest network so your network is prioritized.

    Set timers on both your wifi and guest wifi to turn off after business hours….

    know your neighbors better as you never know they can help you back in the future.
    I personally wouldn't bother asking them to contribute, its claimable on tax.
    Moral here, sharing is caring.

  • +1

    Wait until there are no customers using the wifi then block all the devices the business is connecting from. Furthermore speed limit the internet and look at daily password changes for a short while until they get the hint

  • Do they purchase from your business often?
    If they do I'd happily give them the details seeing it cost no extra to you and you are getting regular business.
    If not, don't supply, or ask if they have any work lunches etc to be at your venue

    • True. Worth considering if their staff frequently buy coffee from you.

  • If the staff buy their coffee from you each day, then I'd let them do it.
    Next time they come, ask if they have Wi-Fi and if not, why not?
    Ask it is it just them using it or did their boss ask. Just be honest with them.
    I'd say they're probably just paying customers who are using it next door tbh.

  • +1

    This should be too inconvenient for them to be doing.

    Use a captive portal that requires them to log back in / approve a disclaimer every 60 minutes.

    You shouldn't be just handing out a password.

  • Your customer should be given the rights to use the internet wifi and you can do this very easily by changing your password more frequently. I have been to cafes that changes their password every few days and it's understandable too.

    the business next door, should either contribute or get their own internet access.

    also something to consider, if your neighbour conduct any illegal activities using YOUR internet - you are an accessory to their crime. This also applies to your customer, hence keep changing the password is a better way.

  • +1

    You should be able to easily block their devices in your router settings.

    Take a look which devices are connected first thing before your customers come in, and switch them off.

  • I would have changed passwords constantly (everyday and even more times a day and give your neighbour fake passwords if they ask) and put the details in the menu or somewhere small on the tables. If the neighbouring person asked, you should have told them it's for customers only. Another thought is that they could be doing all sorts of activity and anything illegal will trace back to the cafe.

  • -2

    Ok, silly question but who uses free wifi any more? Most of use have gigs and gigs of data for not much per month. And if you want to use your laptop, just hotspot it.

  • +1

    If you know their Mac addresses you can block them.

  • What really is the limit of an "unlimited" NBN plan?

    If it is truly unlimited, wouldn't one such plan be sufficient to connect the entire village of users?

    • bandwidth

  • Make your cafe into a faraday box with wire mesh in the walls so none of those pesky little wireless signal get out.

  • Use your router/modem to create 2 channels. 1 that keeps the same password and is used by your actual business.

    The second channel will be for customers.Change the password regularly,
    Have a blackboard with the daily password on it. (Like a certain American coffee shop).

    They’ll get sick of constantly coming to get the password.

    If you feel petty (because they are mooching off you) block their IP.

    • Do you mean block their mac address? Cause if they are connecting to your WiFi then their IP is your IP

      • lol

      • +1

        Oops. : )

  • +3

    just lower the wifi transmit power

  • Block their MAC addresses lol.

  • +1

    Who doesn't have WiFi in a business location.

  • Have a chat. Who knows what'l come of it.

  • In these situations you deploy a captive gateway, you know those things that make you answer terms and conditions and also do per user bandwidth to preserve the service for all users. Or hand out captive tokens when they buy coffee.

    • You can do this very easily with a Ubiquiti AC-Pro for less than $250.

  • +2

    I think block their MAC address also. But your reasoning can be due to abuse of free wifi, connected for more than 1 hour continuously, and if the person comes up wondering why their device isn’t working, explain that their device was connected for extended periods of time and that’s not your policy. It’s your internet, you have control over it!

  • Outside the box thinking. Blocking or preventing them using your wifi will not save you money. The key is to get them to chip in. That's what I'd be focusing on

  • like everyone said, a slight change in the password daily printed out on the receipt is the best way lol. that makes them come and buy a coffee in they need to use your internet and so effectively they became your customer and they than deserve the right to use it daily by being a customer if they choose to.

  • Put restrictions for 1 hour per device, if someone of your customers needs more time give a voucher with a code to extend time limit.

  • +1

    If its for customers, put a password on the WIFI and print the wifi password on the receipt. change it daily

  • +1

    Block neighbour by MAC address.

    1. openwrt + hotspotsystem - you can set data allowance and speed limit per client.

    2. you could block/blacklist mac addresses

    • 3 Block outgoing smtp ports from wifi network (25, 465, & 587)

  • Aside from moral and economics already discussed, consider the liabilities too. If they use it continously and someone browse illegal materials such as child porn will you be liable? It is your IP address which will be recorded.

    As someone said, no good dees goes unpunished.

    These days phone internet is so cheap there is no reason they can't get a $25 Aldi plan to conduct their business! Makes you wonder what they use your internet for.

    • No different than potentially one of their customers doing the same thing.

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