The boundaries between work and personal time are becoming increasingly blurred. But, as Thomas Edison once said, “Time is really the only capital that any human has and the only thing he can’t afford to lose.”
Apartment owners and operators need to provide environments that support the way their tenants choose to spend their time living and working today. The concept of work-life balance has taken on new meaning because of the constant connectivity provided by mobile devices, laptops, streaming services, voice assistants, gaming and video calls — all combined with new flexible work options.
Everything seamlessly shifts between work and home activities — until it doesn’t. Loss of the connectivity that powers these activities comes at a big cost, which is why reliable, secure Wi-Fi has become a necessity in multifamily housing. It is no longer an optional amenity, but one that nine out of 10 people won’t rent without, according to the 2022 NMHC/Grace Hill Renter Preferences Survey.
What Does This Mean for Operators of Multifamily Properties?
A 2023 hiring and workplace trends report published by Glass Door and Indeed looked to several countries for insights into labor market trends. The report found that remote or hybrid work schedules are here to stay.
Along with a need for more physical space for home offices and meeting spaces, fast, quality connectivity is now a must-have for both property owners and residents, especially in living spaces accommodating dozens to hundreds of units.
With support for high-bandwidth activities being essential, property owners of both new builds and properties undergoing renovations should consider implementing a network that leverages Wi-Fi 6 technology. Wi-Fi 6 is a newer version of the wireless network protocol. The updated system can deliver a stronger and faster user experience via high throughput, reduced latency and better performance in crowded environments.
Predictions from wireless infrastructure analyst firm Maravedis point to this technology continuing its fast market penetration, with the Wi-Fi 6 iteration showing the fastest adoption in history.
For anyone who’s read the headlines or looked into Wi-Fi architecture upgrades over the past two years, delays, supply chain challenges and skyrocketing costs have put a stall on many network-improvement plans. Some vendors are quoting lead times longer than a year to get key equipment such as wireless access points. These issues are predicted to continue causing problems throughout 2023. If upgrades are needed now, it’s important to know your options.
A few things to consider:
- It’s ideal to obtain all your network from a single source, from internet gateways and wireless access points to controllers and LAN switches.
- Protect the connected resident experience by ensuring sufficient bandwidth throughout the property, so everyone gets their fair share. This is especially important within multifamily buildings but also extends to shared spaces such as lobbies, pools, gyms and more. Today, everything depends on fast, reliable connectivity from video streaming, smart thermostats and speakers, Zoom calls, making mobile payments, gaming, online shopping and more.
- Ensure reliable performance of critical network infrastructure by keeping onsite spares and making sure the supplier or managed service provider can install replacement units with no lead time required.
With these considerations in mind, building owners should focus on creating a stable and reliable network that creates added value for residents and the property managers who will be on the front lines, engaging with residents.
Using a single wireless network with the property’s access points (AP) all controlled from a central location also creates better service and helps enable the personal networks needed for the residents. And by having everyone on the single network with proper APs installed across the property, the experience stays consistent whether the residents are gaming at home, video calling from the pool, taking an online training course in a shared space or just streaming shows on their iPad.
The alternative is having each individual unit set up their own wireless networks, which tend to interfere with their neighbors’ networks and don’t allow access away from that single unit.
Don’t forget, nine out of 10 residents won’t rent without Wi-Fi.
Don’t let any more time slip away for your residents, property managers or your property investments. Upgrading to Wi-Fi 6 technology in the short-term and using a single wireless network property-wide can support an efficient, convenient use of work and personal time for all your residents and staff.
— By Tammy Estes, chief product officer at Nomadix, a Woodland Hills, California-based provider of patented internet gateways, managed Wi-Fi and wired and wireless infrastructure networks.