You don’t hear every day that Facebook is collaborating with a networking hardware manufacturer like D-Link to provide a “Facebook Wi-Fi” service. Facebook Wi-Fi is a service that Facebook has been promoting for the past year as a way for businesses to connect with their customers and to encourage them to connect to their free Wi-Fi network in order to check-in and get offers from the business (and let the business and Facebook gather their info). Facebook Wi-Fi currently only works on three different hardware vendors, two of whom are actually the same company now.
Meraki wireless products (now a subsidiary of Cisco)
Cisco ISR G2 and ASR 1000 Series routers
NETGEAR R6300 Smart WiFi router
D-Link Facebook Wi-Fi AC1750 Router (DIR-865L)
D-link’s router is the first to officially be branded as a Facebook Wi-Fi router even though there have been others before that were already capable of supporting Facebook Wi-Fi. Ultimately, D-Link’s router is already a pretty good one as it support 802.11ac and up to 1.7 Gbps maximum throughput. While we haven’t actually reviewed this router itself, there isn’t much doubt that it would suffice as a free Wi-Fi hotspot for people looking to use Wi-Fi instead of their own dataplans. Just remember that Facebook Wi-Fi requires you to check in so that you can use the free internet, but at the same time it helps the business get a better idea of who their audience is or at least who’s walking by to steal their Wi-Fi and how they can market towards them.
Personally, I’m not a huge fan of Facebook’s advertising or their promotional systems because they simply don’t work on a large scale. But, for smaller businesses with much more focused and geographically isolated audiences, there is a much better ROI and something like a Facebook Wi-Fi hotspot may totally make sense to them. The one thing that Facebook doesn’t clarify, however, is whether or not the business owners are being forced to use their own already existing internet to supply bandwidth or if Facebook Wi-Fi is being run by and paid for by Facebook itself. Judging by Facebook’s own FAQ it looks like you’d be running this Facebook Wi-Fi hotspot off of your own network, meaning that there’s a possibility your customers using free Wi-Fi could actually bog down your network if too many of them make use of it.