Starting A Vibrant Cyber Cafe
Cyber cafe, very familiar with it? How about setting up and running an efficient and customer focused cyber cafe? Do you want to improve the quality of service that your customers experience? If your answer is yes, then relax and enjoy the piece. This document will provide those aspiring to own cyber cafes in the future with information on what they will require to invest in, so as to deliver what we believe is an acceptable quality of service to their customers. This document will also provide valuable information for existing internet cafe owners. Some of the factors to consider are: Data transfer speed per computer, Internet Service Provider (ISP), Hardware requirement, Computer speed, Employees, Software applications, Maintenance procedure, Discipline procedure, Quality of Service. The subtopics shall be treated in parts, follow the lines.
DATA TRANSFER SPEED The speed of a cyber cafe network is the most important factor to consider, as this can make or mar a café business. Some cafe owners buy bandwidth even before determining the number of computers to install on the network. However, it is the other way round; the amount of bandwidth you can afford for your cyber cafe should determine the number of computers to be installed. By the way, bandwidth is the amount of data a network can upload or download in a second (measured in kbps or Mbps). The best place to start is by determining the speed at which each computer in your cyber cafe should operate. Then determine how many computers you want to install, multiply the two and you have your bandwidth. We recommend a bandwidth of 32kilobits/second (kbps) per PC. Anything higher than this is great for your cyber cafe. If you must compromise, do not go below 16kbps. Remember a slow network can lead to loss of valuable customers for your cafe. If your cafe is known as a slow cyber cafe, people will always leave when they find a better one. One way of knowing a good internet cafe is that customers keep coming back, even when there are many options. If you are a cyber café owner and every day you see new faces (few loyal customers) then you have to turn a new leaf. Don't settle for less.
INTERNET SERVICE PROVIDER (ISP) Once you are done with bandwidth capacity that is good enough for your cyber cafe, the next step is to talk to an Internet Service Provider (ISP). You should look for an ISP that is capable of offering an acceptable minimum quality of service that you intend to offer your customers. Remember that the success of your cyber cafe business depends largely on the support you get from your ISP. If your ISP cannot respond promptly to your problems, then you need a new ISP. Visit a couple of successful cyber cafes and find out the ISP they are hooked up to. The key to the success of your café business is to find an ISP that will offer your contract network speed 99% of the time. You need an ISP that will value the success of your cyber cafe business, an ISP that knows that your success is very important to its survival.
HARDWARE REQUIREMENT In order to meet the needs of a modern internet user, there are some hardware you need to install in your cyber cafe. This includes:
Client PCs, Server PC, Switch or Hub, Modem and Router, Printer (colour printer recommended), Scanner, Web cam, Multimedia speakers/head phones, Air conditioner, Electric generator (standby), UPS/AVR.
CLIENT PCs Your client personal computers (PCs) are computers your customers will be using to access the internet. In order to provide a reasonable quality of service to your customers; this is our recommended minimum hardware requirement: Processor Pentium III 733 MHz (minimum) or its equivalents, 20GB Hard Drive (minimum), Monitor 15 inches and above 256MB RAM, USB 2.0, 100Mbps Network card, Floppy Drive, CD ROM (minimum), Standard English Keyboard, Mouse, etc. Have you visited a cyber cafe with a French or German Keyboard, where you have to guess which key is which? Obviously it's never a nice experience. Ensure that all the hardwares you require for a successful cyber cafe business are in place. Branded computers from Omatek, Zinox or any of the foreign brands (HP, Dell, etc.) are more reliable than the unbranded (cloned or assembled) computers. However, they are more expensive. If you decide to buy cloned computers for your internet cafe, ensure that they contain similar hardware. This will reduce the burden of maintenance.
Server PC should have similar hardware as client PCs. USB 2.0 port should be easily accessible to your cyber cafe customers, so ensure that USB port is in front of the computer instead of the back. You may also install a USB cable for each PC, to make things easier for customers...... To be continued.