The multi-family internet access landscape is changing rapidly, driven by the changing expectations of residents. Reliable Wi-Fi and Ethernet connections are no longer just a utility, but essential to attracting and retaining residents and reducing operational costs. The growing need for connectivity, the work-from-home (WFH) culture and growing interest in smart home applications are driving residents’ internet demands.
According to Bryan Rader, president of Multi-Dwelling Units (MDU) at Pavlov Media, centralization of Internet access for apartment building residents was inevitable in the long run. COVID lockdowns accelerated an already burgeoning trend: mass managed internet, designed to improve connections and simplify growing demand.
Mass-managed connectivity offers a variety of solutions for on-site managers, residents and owners, as well as cost savings in unexpected areas. This approach provides building-wide Internet connections through a single provider, rather than requiring residents to sign up individually with one of multiple Internet providers. The mass Internet management company can also install and manage the connection infrastructure of the building.
The simplicity of the mass-managed Internet (which began as mass-managed Wi-Fi in college dormitories) is becoming more practical for multi-family homes. In the last four or five years, the traditional multifamily housing industry is beginning to follow the same model that became the norm in college housing about 15 years ago. “Today, the multifamily industry as a whole is craving mass-managed Internet, especially Wi-Fi,” explains Rader.
Residents demand a strong, adaptable Internet
Quality internet is so important to residents that in some ways it hardly qualifies as a convenience; it has become non-negotiable. The option of having Wi-Fi and Ethernet pre-installed and ready to turn on in a home as soon as a resident moves in can set an operator apart from its competitors.
Network setup is key. “You can’t expect to deliver the same solutions for multi-family houses that work for single-family houses. Multifamily requires a very different network, one that can support a greater number of users in a single, dense geographic space. You can’t have 400 discrete Wi-Fi networks, for example. These networks are all competing for airspace, and the constant competition with each other will dramatically lower the quality of service of all.”
Slow Internet speeds, other devices in the same area, building layout, and overlapping channels between networks can all contribute to less than ideal Wi-Fi. Rader lays out the benefits of managed Wi-Fi in the battle for secure customer access across the property. “This approach takes the customers’ equipment (their Wi-Fi and routing devices) out of the equation. You no longer need an additional device; It is already built into the device. When a resident moves in, their personal technology can be authenticated and connected to the network instantly.” The lack of additional routers results in easier management and less interference throughout the building.
Installing Ethernet and routers throughout the building from a single unit means a streamlined approach to Wi-Fi and cabling. More efficient router and cable placement can mean stronger and more aesthetically pleasing coverage, even in buildings built well before the advent of today’s Internet demands.
An added benefit of this mass approach to Wi-Fi is the ubiquity of these managed networks. Residents who expect to be online while using the accommodation’s amenities can move beyond their units into common spaces. “Common area facilities have exploded in recent years, and en masse managed Wi-Fi covers all facilities,” says Rader.
Not only can residents use their devices on networks while in the building’s pool or dog park, but they can also remotely control connected devices in their units — print documents on wireless printers, check security devices, and more. Additionally, Rader explains that with mass-managed Wi-Fi, residents can roam the grounds of their amenities-equipped homes without ever losing their network connection.
Managed Wi-Fi is even able to support Wi-Fi calling to improve the quality of cellphone calls and reduce the risk of poor cellphone service for residents (many of whom can check a property’s cellphone service before renting one). agree to the rental agreement).
Call for operators – cost savings, monitoring
While fast and reliable internet is non-negotiable for attracting residents, it also offers operators opportunities to run their “backyard” businesses more efficiently. Smart home technology and property management applications take advantage of the “always on” aspects of a building’s Wi-Fi.
Rader adds, “One of the great things about managed Wi-Fi is that it gives you the right path to offer all the smart home applications that occupants have come to expect (including digital door locks, thermostats, temperature controls, and remote blinds). plus all those that are useful both Residents and management (humidity sensors in apartments and security devices). Ideally, these are all operated in a managed, stable WLAN network.”
Managers can monitor vacant units via WiFi-connected sensors. HVAC or leak detection sensors can continue to function even when the unit is unoccupied as Wi-Fi is not tied to the occupant’s ISP but is a constant service provided throughout the building. These alerts can save operators time and money should an unmanned unit require maintenance.
fiber optic connection
“Fiber is the infrastructure of choice over the long term,” says Rader. “It enables symmetrical speeds and the greatest experience for streaming, gaming, learning and working. Using managed Wi-Fi with fiber optics is the ideal application. The great thing about managed Wi-Fi is that it spreads the signal throughout the unit and throughout the community. Fiber allows for a direct connection at the wall outlet, giving residents who need extremely high internet speeds additional capacity.” This flexibility is appreciated by streamers, gamers, users of intense online programs and more.
Support for Networks
Rader emphasizes that a commitment to real estate support and the end user defines success for companies in this space. “You can’t expect the best results just by relying on the network itself. The network is vital, but no one can reasonably expect that the network is the only way to support a customer today. These are not set and forget systems. You need on-site assistance and 24/7 technical support. Maintenance and vendor contact are critical elements of performance.”
Both sides of the equation are important. “Building a great network is critical, but so is supporting that network with the right people,” concludes Rader. It’s important to closely monitor traffic, communicate with staff, and act proactively so that today’s always-on residents can enjoy uninterrupted connectivity.
Pavlov Media is a content partner by REBusinessOnline. For more information on Pavlov Media, see click here.