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WiFi News and Technology Blog
Marie Chutjian Spot On Networks MarketingThis blog offers the most up-to-date technology news for the multifamily, hospitality and commercial industries. The WiFi News & Technology blog is moderated by Marie Chutjian, marketing guru at Spot On Networks. Spot On Networks is the leading provider of high speed wireless Internet to the multifamily housing industry.

Top News: FCC Initiates Release of 195 MHz of Unlicensed 5 GHz Spectrum

January 11, 2013

          Great news on the wireless front, coming from the FCC: Chairman Julius Genachowski announced at the International Consumer Electronics Show (CES) on Wednesday, January 9, 2013, the FCC (Federal Communications Commission) will be working towards freeing up as much as 195 MHz of spectrum in the 5 GHz band, making it the largest block of unlicensed spectrum to be made available in a decade.

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                The move is designed to alleviate heavy Wi-Fi traffic at sites such as airports, convention centers, and large conferences, while simultaneously increasing HD video quality and improving speeds in residences with multiple devices. This action will increase and free-up the unlicensed spectrum available for ultra high-speed, high-capacity Wi-Fi (known as Gigabit Wi-Fi), by up to 35%.  

          Alleviating network congestion and approving use of the unlicensed spectrum is one part of a much larger “technology initiative” ordered by President Obama: to free as much as 500 MHz of spectrum by 2020. Rob Enderle, Principal Analyst at the Enderle Group, states, “Given that National WiFi expansion is a presidential priority, the FCC is likely going to do all it can to free up the spectrum.” Chairman Genachowski has committed the Commission to move hastily in order to complete this process, however, as the 5GHz band is currently used for Federal and non-Federal purposes, the effort will likely require a significant collaboration between multiple agencies. Harold Feld, Senior Vice President at Public Knowledge said, “There’s a potential with a move like this to not just look at bands generically, but to differentiate the circumstances where these bands should be put to use as they become available. That can make it become a much more efficient system overall, when we can match the traffic and need with the right spectrum.” ImageThe FCC has not only committed to free up bandwidth, but they have also hinted at putting an increased emphasis on spectrum allocation. Feld continued on to state, “Having more of these bands that are separate from each other allows you more freedom and better setup if you’re at a convention center, for instance. You can dedicate the 5 GHz band to the WiFi for the convention floor, while different bands are being used for services like internal security and credit card readers and other needs for a wireless network.” In addition to more specific allocation, the FCC additionally has taken steps in recent years to employ the potential of next-generation unlicensed spectrum, which operates in a lower frequency than existing Wi-Fi, and would enable wireless communication to travel longer distances, better penetrate barriers such as building materials, and offer improved coverage over varying terrain.

             It is evident that the Commission is better understanding the urgent need for not only wireless service, but improved wireless service, for the enterprise and consumer landscape. This need is only increasing as the population quickly gravitates towards the inevitable use of smartphones, tablets, and the cloud. It is a very interesting time for technology, and the Wi-Fi world as a whole; it is likely that such a massive release of spectrum for National use will spark a total reconstruction of what we now know as a wireless network. For now, we sit back and wait.


No Noise Is Good Noise

December 26, 2012

As internet usage and the increasing demand for immediacy expand, Internet Service Providers are quickly learning that unresolved glitches and errors in network functionality are creating much ‘noise’ on the social media front, ultimately translating into a bad rap- for property managers and providers alike.

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In an article written by David Daugherty for Broadband Communities magazine’s October 2012 Issue, he explains, “Noise is an indicator of how well a service provider performs day to day. If residents make noise in the front office about poor internet performance, rest assured they are voicing their discontent socially.”  This is especially a concern in the student housing sector, as students so widely rely on the internet and social media for many daily activities, such as schoolwork and entertainment. At student housing properties, this noise does not go long unheard, as social media sites are an optimal vehicle for the residents to ‘echo’ any issues they might be experiencing. Philip Emer, director of technology for Preiss Properties, states that in some cases, it has even proven helpful to use said social media thread to help diagnose and address certain problems networks may be experiencing. It is no secret that any problems with service not rapidly addressed, have a surprisingly efficient way of presenting themselves to not only fellow residents, but also property management, regional and corporate offices, and the service providers. In the long run, inadequate customer service definitely has the potential to create a poor reputation for all parties involved.

Luckily, there is a solution. It has taken some time, trial, and error, but the industry is now realizing that many former business models are in need of a total revamp, such as self-help and troubleshooting interfaces. It is important that any network used at a multi-unit facility, especially student housing, is fully managed and monitored to assure a seamless user experience. Subscribers are eagerly seeking swift, tech-savvy, easily attainable customer support representatives, and more service-oriented assistance, less reliant on the outdated do-it-yourself model. Daugherty says simply, “key stakeholders must understand that maintaining customer expectations is a never-ending task”.


Conquering Compromised Connectivity in Eco-Conscious Construction

December 5, 2012

As the world-wide Green Movement marches on, it appears there are an increasing number of hurdles to overcome regarding technology, and how to successfully mesh the two. The majority of new construction involves “LEED Certified” building materials, which, unfortunately, have a tricky way of dulling cellular service within the building to a minimum.

Even if your building has managed to dodge the common cell service bullets, such as distant cell towers, uncooperative topography, or an overabundance of neighboring structures, using responsible, Eco-friendly materials may hamper you, service-wise, in the long run. As this issues becomes more and more prevalent, many building owners are searching frantically for a resolution.

Currently there are few options on the market which increase cellular service within a building, most of which are extremely inefficient cost-wise, and will most likely be outdated in just a couple years. One such example is a DAS System, or a Distributed Antennae System, which requires rigorous installation, and can cost on average $2 per square foot–which, as you can imagine,  adds up very quickly in large, multi-unit construction.

Luckily, there are more time efficient and cost effective solutions available. Systems such as CellBoost, recently introduced by Spot On Networks, are easily and quickly installed, extremely reliable, and a fraction of the cost of a DAS system, at only $ .15 – $ .45 a square foot. CellBoost maximizes data and voice coverage and minimizes the cost of providing these services by boosting the signal received outdoors, so that the signal strength indoors is amplified. The implementation of a WiFi network in addition to the booster system provides connectivity and increased capacity for users of data-driven devices, while simultaneously providing coverage for voice services. Problem solved.


To read more on the latest WiFi technology news for multifamily, hospitality and commercial properties, click here to visit our wordpress blog.

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