CES2014: NETGEAR And Facebook Announce Facebook Wi-Fi for Small Businesses

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At CES2014 today, NETGEAR announced that they have teamed up with Facebook to offer a new service aimed at small business called Facebook Wi-Fi.  Read on for details!

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At CES2014 today, NETGEAR announced that they have teamed up with Facebook to offer a new service aimed at small business called Facebook Wi-Fi.  NETGEAR routers will offer this app, and when configured, it enables the small business to allow customers to access the internet while putting their Facebook page front and center, driving customer involvement with the business’ Facebook page.  Here is the press release:

NETGEAR TEAMS WITH FACEBOOK TO PROMOTE CLOSER ENGAGEMENT BETWEEN SMALL BUSINESSES AND CUSTOMERS

Merchants use new Facebook Wi-Fi login on premium NETGEAR 802.11ac wireless routers to give free Internet access to customers who check into a business Facebook Page

LAS VEGAS — January 6, 2014 — NETGEAR®, Inc. (NASDAQGM: NTGR) (www.netgear.com), a global networking company that delivers innovative products to consumers, businesses and service providers, is teaming with Facebook® to provide Facebook Wi-Fi to small businesses. Facebook Wi-Fi (www.netgear.com/facebookwifi) is an application that enables merchants to provide free Internet access to their customers when they “check in” at the business’ Facebook Page. NETGEAR is making the Facebook Wi-Fi login available on its premium line of next-generation wireless routers supporting dual-band 802.11ac wireless, the world’s fastest WiFi.

Small business owners can turn their NETGEAR 802.11ac router into a wireless hotspot where customers and other visitors are automatically requested to check into the business’ Facebook Page before surfing the web. From here they have the option to “like” the Facebook Page, and engage with content the business has posted. This capability enables merchants to build closer relationships with customers by sharing offers and announcements directly from their Facebook page. Businesses also benefit from aggregate Facebook Page Insights about their customer base.

“Cafes, book stores, barber shops and other small businesses have been providing WiFi to their clientele for several years,” said David Henry, vice president of product management for NETGEAR Retail Business. “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 News Feed.”

It’s easy for a business to configure the NETGEAR 802.11ac router for Facebook Wi-Fi. Upon first connecting to the router’s wireless signal, customers, guests and visitors will land directly on the company’s Facebook Page, where they will be asked to check in and have the option to like the Page before they begin using the Internet. No special codes are needed, and the customer has the option to automatically check in for free WiFi on return visits. This means businesses can continue to reach their customers with future posts, announcements, coupons and other news. Businesses can also share special promotions on their Facebook Page so the offers are the first things customers see when they check in.

“We’re very happy with our NETGEAR router as it was amazingly easy to set up, and since it offers 802.11ac wireless, it’s powerful enough to support our customers’ demands for Gigabit WiFi speeds for faster downloads,” said Jean Paul Coupal, co-founder at Coupa Cafe in Palo Alto (www.coupacafe.com). “Having the Facebook Wi-Fi login capability is really the icing on the cake. Since we began using Facebook Wi-Fi, we’ve seen a dramatic increase in the number of check-ins to our Facebook Page, and are seeing much more online engagement with our customers.”

If customers wish to skip Facebook Wi-Fi check-in, the business owner still has the option to “gate” the Internet connection with a business-provided code, or even to offer free WiFi without a passcode.

Availability

NETGEAR will roll out Facebook Wi-Fi capability on four of its next-generation dual-band 802.11ac wireless routers over the coming months. NETGEAR routers are sold through major retailers and online. Below is the expected availability schedule for small businesses to download the free firmware update from the NETGEAR support site at http://support.netgear.com.

  • The new, blazing-fast Nighthawk™ AC1900 Smart WiFi Router (R7000) supports approximate combined Gigabit WiFi speeds up to 1900 Mbps* (600 Mbps @2.4GHz with 256 QAM support + 1300 Mbps @5Ghz 802.11ac); MSRP $199.99; firmware with Facebook Wi-Fi available in Q1.
  • The R6300 Smart WiFi Router supports approximate combined Gigabit WiFi speeds up to 1750 Mbps* (450 Mbps @ 2.4 Ghz 802.11n + 1300 Mbps @ 5 Ghz 802.11ac); MSRP $179.99; firmware with Facebook Wi-Fi available now for the R6300v2.
  • The R6250 Smart WiFi Router supports approximate combined Gigabit WiFi speeds up to 1600 Mbps* Mbps (300 Mbps @ 2.4 Ghz 802.11n + 1300 Mbps @ 5 Ghz 802.11ac); MSRP $149.99; firmware with Facebook Wi-Fi available in Q1.
  • The R6200 WiFi Router supports approximate combined WiFi speeds up to 1200 Mbps* (300 Mbps @ 2.4 GHz 802.11n + 867 Mbps @ 5 GHz 802.11ac); MSRP $149.99; firmware with Facebook Wi-Fi available in Q1 for the R6200v2.

The new 802.11ac wireless standard is the world’s fastest WiFi, providing Gigabit WiFi speeds so you can download web content faster and synchronize large video or music files more quickly. The increased speed of 802.11ac technology is ideal for mobile devices such as smartphones and tablets by providing up to three times the performance for a similar amount of battery consumption of devices using the current 802.11n WiFi standard. Dual-band mobile devices such as the Samsung Galaxy S®4, HTC One®, and Apple® devices such as MacBook Air®, iPad®, and iPhone® deliver outstanding performance with NETGEAR 802.11ac routers. Moreover, the industry-leading NETGEAR family of next-generation dual-band 802.11ac wireless products is compatible with legacy 802.11a/b/g/n standards to provide optimum performance and compatibility with all WiFi devices.

More Information

For more information on Facebook Wi-Fi, visit www.netgear.com/facebookwifi or Facebook at www.facebook.com/help/126760650808045. Learn more about NETGEAR 802.11ac routers and other 802.11ac products at www.netgear.com/fastestwifi.

NETGEAR is demonstrating its dual-band 802.11ac wireless routers this week at the 2014 International CES® trade show in Las Vegas, where the company is introducing new products to press, customers and channel partners. See all CES-related news from NETGEAR at www.netgear.com/ces.

This is an interesting way for NETGEAR to stand out for small businesses, as other routers won’t have this capability.  I plan to test this app once it becomes available as I have a R7000 Nighthawk router in for testing (expect a full review shortly after CES), so I’ll give it a spin and see what I think!