The next time you find a usable Wi-Fi hotspot on the road, you may have Facebook to thank for it: The newest wireless router from D-Link provides Wi-Fi access through a Facebook check-in. The $150 802.11ac router is clearly aimed at businesses or retail locations that offer Wi-Fi network access and don’t want to hassle consumers with login credentials to get online.
Aside from the easier consumer access, business stand to gain as well, says D-Link in its news release from Thursday:
“The router prompts customers to check in to their location on Facebook to connect to free Wi-Fi without the hassle of entering codes or creating new accounts. In addition, the integrated Wi-Fi solution helps small businesses increase check-ins to help drive brand awareness, direct communication and interaction on their business Facebook Page. In previous tests, businesses saw an average of three times more check-ins using Facebook Wi-Fi routers versus without. “
While the router itself is new, the effort to use Facebook as a hotspot on-ramp isn’t. In October, Facebook jointly announced plans with Cisco to use Facebook for Wi-Fi hotspot access. The Facebook Wi-Fi Service program is another way for the social networking company to capture more user information, although at time of announcement Facebook said such data would be anonymous and limited to demographic information.
Facebook and D-Link aren’t the only ones trying to make Wi-Fi access a less arduous process. The Wi-Fi Alliance started certifying devices for its Passpoint effort in 2012, which let mobile phones seamlessly roam on Wi-Fi networks and Google is very interested in offering free Wi-Fi to businesses for quick consumer access to the web and, of course, Google’s own web services.