Wednesday, December 5, 2012
Internet cafe business is very popular nowadays especially in the country where I'm living - Philippines. But this type of business is not that easy compared to other businesses. First, it will need a huge amount of capital and the location should be very strategic. Better and good locations includes near schools and universities, business areas and amongst others.
To set-up internet cafe you need to have of course a location. If you're done choosing the location, then a renovation and design will be the next one. Design a layout that includes the location of the computers, counter and any additional area that you wanted to add like a mini pantry. Aircon should also be needed for cooling purposes for the machines. Next is to layout the cables (cat5e, cat6) from each computer workstations to the rack where you have the switches. You can ask or seek for a cheap but have good quality of works structured cabling contractors for the cable layout.
Now, we are going to discuss the hardware part that comprises the basic internet cafe business. These are computers, switches, router, printers, and most importantly is the internet connection. Let's discuss first on the computer side. For internet cafe, a computer should have these minimum specifications: Processor: Dual Core or Higher, Hard Disk: 250G, RAM: 2G, Video Card: 1G . A higher specs from the given will be of course a lot better and also it will depend on the games that you are going to install like for example, DiabloIII, NBA, Warcraft, Starcraft, etc. The price of each computer unit should not be that expensive. You can go for clone type computers or in short assembled computers to minimize cost compared to branded type. There are certain computer stores that are catering this type of units and you can ask discount if you are going to purchase more than 1 unit.
Next is to choose for the switches and routers. I advise to have cheaper but a highly reliable switches brands like 3COM, Linksys, TPlink but if you have that enough budget you can go for Cisco or HP switches. Choosing a switch is vital as well in the sense that you need to project your expansion of units. Let say you want to start at around 24 units then you need to purchase a 48 port switch so that you can have available ports for expansion and you will have savings in purchasing another switch unit in the future. For the router, there were many brands that is suitable for small business use like Dlink, Cisco, TPLink, etc. But I can recommend having a Dlink or Cisco and Linksys. A router with wireless capability is an option though.
The last part but more important in having internet cafe is the Internet connection and this will be a chunk of your monthly expenses aside from the electricity and maintenance. To have this, you need to consult you Internet Service Provider(ISP) like PLDT, Globe, Smart, Bayantel, Sky Broadband, etc. The internet connection that you are going to purchase will be vital in the operation of you business. A slow internet connection that your user experienced will create a big impact in your income. So I recommend to have a higher Bandwidth. You can divide this bandwidth to the number of users or computers. Let say you have 1Mbps internet connection and having 10 computer units, then you can compute if how much is the estimated bandwidth per computer by dividing 1000000 by 10 (1Mbps/10). Thus, each unit will have approximately 100kpbs bandwidth. So better ask any of your ISP about this part to achieve a smooth and productive internet cafe business!