How to Offer Your Customers Free Facebook Wi-Fi

April 22, 2014
By   Jen McDonnell
Category   Social Media
FACEBOOK free wifi

Earlier this year, Facebook announced Facebook Wi-Fi for North America, which is a quick and convenient way for businesses to offer their customers free Wi-Fi access while simultaneously increasing social media engagement. With just one click, your customers can check in to your business’ Facebook page in order to gain access to the internet. No more need for costly third-party services or Wi-Fi passwords; all your customers need to do is check in to your page on their laptop, tablet or smartphone and they can begin surfing the web. It’s an ideal Wi-Fi solution for restaurants, retailers, hotels, convention halls, and any other business in which people may wish to browse the internet during their visit.

What Are The Benefits?

For business owners, this is an incredibly convenient and hassle-free way to offer your customers free Wi-Fi access. As an added benefit, it increases your Facebook page’s visibility and activity. More check-ins and engagement increases activity on your page which in turn improves how your page ranks in Facebook Graph search and in the Nearby Places tab on the Facebook mobile app. Additional check-ins can also lead to new business. When people check-in to your page, it sends an automatic notification to their friends which includes your business name and address, which means you are reaching new potential customers through the best possible avenue – their friends and family. After checking in, people will also be able to like and engage with your Facebook page before continuing to browse.

How Does It Work?

Customers can quickly and simply access free internet by selecting the business’ Wi-Fi access from their connections list. No passwords or security codes are required.

Facebook wi-fi

They can then open their browser and type in the URL of a page they’d like to visit. They’ll be redirected to the location’s Facebook page and prompted to login (if they aren’t already logged into Facebook), and to check in to continue browsing.

Facebook free wifi

They also have the option to add a status update when checking in, and to click a box that lets them automatically check in whenever they visit your location.

Facebook free wifi

After checking in, they will then be taken to the business’ Facebook page, and can continue onwards to their original destination by clicking the “continue browsing” at the top right corner of the page.

Facebook free wifi

How Do Businesses Install It?

First, make sure your business has a Facebook page, that you have admin access to it and that you’re logged in. You will also need a wireless router that supports Facebook Wi-Fi (a NETGEAR R6300 Smart WiFi router, Cisco ISR G2 and ASR 1000 Series routers, or Meraki wireless products).

In this example, we used the NETGEAR router. Connect the router and visit http://www.routerlogin.net to begin the setup. (The default username is “admin”, and the default password is “password.”) Select “guest network” under “settings” to set up your wireless network name.

facebook wi-fi

Then select “advanced settings,” click on “Facebook Wi-Fi,” select the checkbox next to “enable Facebook Wi-Fi” and hit the “configure” button.

facebook wi-fi

You will then be prompted to select your Facebook page, and a Wi-Fi code that enables your customers or employees to skip the check-in process. You can control how long people will have access to Wi-Fi at your business. The session length defaults to 5 hours, but you can choose to make that shorter or longer. You also have the option of adding your own Terms of Service text. Once finished, hit the “save settings” button to complete the installation. You can change the settings at any time in your Facebook page’s admin panel.

facebook wi-fi

Facebook Wi-Fi has now turned your router into a Wi-Fi hotspot, connecting you with your customers when they visit your business and bringing them to your Facebook page. Not only does it let you to offer your customers free Wi-Fi in a cost-effective way, it allows you to boost your social media presence, resulting in a win-win for all.

(Top image courtesy of facebook.com)

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WRITTEN BY

Jen McDonnell

Jen is Reshift Media's VP of Content and Social Media. She worked in online journalism for a decade before transitioning to content and social media strategy.

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Comments (73)

  1. This is very interesting! Is wireless router can be able to offer on facebook too? Just like that, I used wireless router with this IP 19216811.me. If so, I will try to do that.

  2. i bought a d-link dir865l and i have visited restaurantes here in mexico i would like to know if its actually working here. i have a business i would like to put on

  3. I have set up three Netgear R6300v2 routers for two customers and as a for myself as a test case. The most recent firmware is essential on this model, and I expect that’s the case for the few other makes and models supported. This being a joint project between the “expert” security-oriented developers at Facebook, and the overtaxed router product support teams of select manufacturers, expect glitches and be happy when you find something that works. I can tell you that the Netgear R6300v2 does.

    That being said, the router will only intercept http (nonsecure web) traffic and direct it to the pre-existing Facebook business page for check-in. It won’t intercept any POP3, IMAP, HTTPS or any other protocol, secure or not, and deny access until check-in is completed. That explains the lack of check-in/authentication via mobile devices’ Facebook apps. Maybe someday the joint development teams will address this, but I expect the FB wifi service will be dropped or inadvertently broken before this function is ever added. None of the parties seem sufficiently vested in the product to chase after this last bit of functionality to ever seek a return on such an investment.

    While it still works, it is providing benefit to my clients. Both are small cafes that already offered guest wifi, so any check-ins that eventually materialise are a nice bonus, and certainly do increase exposure and brand-awareness among their existing clients’ extended network of friends. I have a few chiropractor and dentist clients that will soon be reaping similar benefits. It works, just don’t expect miracles.

  4. I have no experience with access point requirement; however, Netgear R6300V2 product does not work even after having to receive custom firmware. I think FB WiFI is vaporware IMO.

  5. Hello,
    Need help.. I bought the Cisco Router WLAN RV110W VPN Firewall from Amazon being that it said Cisco is supported, but dont see any way to do Facebook Wifi configuration for our business page. I am in Italy if it makes a difference. I cannot find any help with Facebook. Cisco is telling me I have to buy an access point for $700-$1000 for it to work…but it says nothing of this online.

  6. I have not been able to get the process to work – tried two routers, signed NDA with NetGeat for ‘custom firmware’ – this is a scam as far as I can determine. Threw money away.

  7. Hi, I tried configuring the D-Link router for my business, it is successfully configured for my business page, however when guest opens the WhatsApp/ FB app it is not rerouting to the browser to check in my business page. It is simply allowing guests to use the Free WiFi. Is there any way to configure the check in option mandatory to use the free WiFi. kindly advise.

  8. I want to try it, however, our coffee shop’s router is a cisco firmware version 2.0. By any chance, is there a way I can set it up using that router? Thanks in advance for your answers1

  9. How can you stop facebook app access even if they didn’t get through my facebook page using fb wifi?

  10. Yeah Facebook is fine, but how can I do the same with instagram and twitter and own personalized page? Which router supports all socialmedia? How do these guys program those routers?? I really want to know how they set their own software or something like that ..

  11. Can this be used if there are multiple routers on the same network and only one is set up for Facebook wifi? Or does it have to just be used on a single router?

    I read on the Facebook ‘help’ page that you can share announcements with the people who log in via check in. Has anyone had any success with this?

    Does it still direct through the browser rather than app, and does this reduce it’s effectiveness for others?

    Sorry for all the questions, this page is probably the best resource I’ve found on FB wifi!

  12. I set this up in our cafe in Australia using the dlink router. You just need to make sure you have the right firmware for the router (v 1.04)

  13. I have been unable to successfully use the NetGear recommended V2 router to connect even with NDA delivered firmward. Has anyone gotten FB WiFI to ‘work’ anywhere?

    When it does ‘work’ it passes through https URL without FB sign on.

  14. I had no luck with NetGear without going to senior people and signing NDA

    I am looking to flash my modem with one of the many ipen source router firmware and try to program my own guest page asking clients to like on FB using their app sibce they are getting free WiFI while at ouf wedding venue.

    Not what I really want. But have a couple of months to experiment before wedding season begins.

  15. I’ve got this working on a Mesh router but it opens Facebook in a browser, not with the Facebook app on IOS or Android device.

    Most people don’t use Facebook in a browser on their mobile devices so it makes it kind of useless.

    Anyone know how to change this please?

  16. I have spent over a week trying to get a Netgear R6300 V2 <—– confirmed as V2 by serial number with Netgear to work. Will not. Called netgear they said FIOS issue and should bridge FIOS Gateway/Router. FIOS says not to because security. Netgear forum says to use DMZ to set static IP for Netgear R6300 V2 , did this and enabled guest network , etc. but when I select configure button in Advanced tab for FaceBook WIFI it gives error page. At Facebook saying page cant be found!!

    Help!

    Is FB WiFI working in USA

  17. I bought the dlink router in Hungary it didnt have the facebook option culd not upgrade the firmware to the usa one… So I boght a used netgear router on ebay. It works! Kinda. Some iphone it asks for check in on others it didnt

  18. Hell Jen, many thanks for your answer. Do you actually know if there is another possibility to encourage people to hit the like button?
    Many thanks in advance.

  19. Do you guys know if this system only allows visitors to check-in on your business page or if it also provides the possibility to stimulate visitors to LIKE your page? Since I installed facebook-wifi, but my guests are only asked to check-in, but not to like the page? Looking forward to some support!

    1. The system now encourages people to check into your place to use wifi, but will not encourage them to “like” your page.

  20. Is there a way to use this on Facebook app on IOS or Android devices? When i use this router, it take me to my facebook page only on the browser of my phone, not to other apps that using internet.

  21. Looks like Facebook wifi not working when you using https. I have netgear router it’s setup but is realy not working. You need visit https and you login without anything.

    Di anyone have solution ?

  22. What about it’s success rate or working in India. I want to set up one facebook WiFi router for making Hotspot for a small hotel in India.
    Is is possible? Which router should I use and how to go ahead.
    I have devoted two full working days on the topic but couldn’t arrive at any conclusion.
    Is it worth trying or I should give it up.

  23. I have recently set it up with some Meraki products, one thing i do not like is that you have to go through the browser. A lot of people do not use the browser on their phone at all, but rely on their apps. For example the Facebook app, and the app will not bring automatically bring you to the check in page, sadly.

    And it can be set to work without requiring check in from facebook, by a simple skip – which is usually standard. Or guest can be provided with a password instead.

    1. It offers people who doesnt have a Facebook page to login by code. The set up for password is activated at your Facebook Page settings dashboard. Only 4% of Facebook WiFi users in Sweden and UK login by code. Rest Market the venue for Free WiFi

  24. Have exchanged the router with Net Gear. It seems to work fine using Windows 7 Laptop, guests being asked to log in by ‘liking’ my Facebook page. However wit iPhone and iPad it just goes to a blank page saying network can’t be found!

  25. When user access my guest WiFi. user have to like my Facebook page if user like my page then full internet access granted if user not like my page user will not get internet access
    Can I do this ???

  26. Have just purchased a NetGear R6300 v2 to give guests in our holiday accomodation (Wales, UK) access to Facebook WiFi. Just can’t get it to work. Spoke to help line, but they were just going around in circles.
    Any ideas?

    1. Hi Rob, We’ve just starting using Facebook wifi in accommodation in Cardiff. Have you upgraded the firmware of the router? The standard firmware doesn’t come with the Facebook Wifi option.

      1. Yes I’d done all the upgrades. Facebook settings show on my Faceboook page. But when guests login they get redirected to a blank fb page. No sign in/like. Net gear support ask for router to revert to previous firmware, but still not working. Sent them network diagrams showing h/ware etc. They just gave up and said could not resolve problem!

  27. Hello Jen!
    May I ask You, is it works everywhere? Our Coffe House is in Budapest, Hungary and I wish to use this method. Now I have two choices, the Netgear (which I prefered), and the D-Link’s DIR-865L/E, but I got a contact with the Hungarian D-Link distributor, and He wrote me, that the Facebook WiFi isn’t work in Hungary. But I thought its a just a software (or firmware), due to our facebook site also stored in a server somwhrer in the US.

    1. Hi there,

      We’ve only tested this in North America, so I’m unsure of other markets.

      Thanks,
      Jen

  28. As far as I can see this is restricted to ONLY routers in the USA. When I inquired about Netgear routers, Netgear support (a chap based in india on very poor internet phone line) informed me that only US hardware was using Facebook compatible software. My own untested theory for people encountering the lack of software buttons for the Facebook Wifi would be to update your router with current USA firmware for your compatible router, (this may also brick your router, so be careful), and see if this helps. If this is the case, and a USA restriction is in place then surely this is the BIGGEST reatriction factor that the reviewer/publisher/Jen should be raising in the article.

    1. Hi Adam,

      We have tested this in Canada an it works, though we haven’t tested this outside of North America.

      Thanks,
      Jen

  29. Have you been able to get this to work on the Netgear r6300? Mine will not work. I have a case open with Netgear, but they have not been able to get it to work either. Any help would be appreciated.

      1. I just bought the Netgear R6300 v2 to use Facebook Wifi and it doesn’t work. After hours on end with customer support I finally found out that the Facebook Wifi feature is currently disabled due to “bugs” but they will not give a timeline for a return.

  30. Thanks for the text, Jen.
    Do you have experience with the D-Link DIR-865L, one of the routers recommended by Facebook?
    I’ve been experiencing some troubles with it.
    Thanks in advance.

    1. Hi Rodrigo,

      We’ve only had experience with using it with the NetGear router, but the process should be similar.

      Thanks,
      Jen