It’s no secret that “bulk wifi” and “managed wifi” solutions have taken over the conversation when it comes to multifamily wireless. It is important to understand what a true managed bulk service is and
what the service should be able to do for the building owner. Bulk WiFi can come in many forms and can be as simple as a telco or cable carrier providing WiFi service throughout the property– but that is
not a “managed” solution. Off-the-street carrier ISPs essentially provide backhaul bandwidth into a building that is then shared across the property. These carrier solutions cannot guarantee the actual end-user SLAs because there is no “management” of the bandwidth delivery and they cannot provide truly
secure service either. SLA and security is just the tip of the iceberg when comparing carrier solutions to a managed WiFi solution.
A truly managed bulk WiFi solution
should be able to handle three specific
use cases on one centrally managed network.
In a bulk service wireless internet is provided throughout the entire property including all residential units and amenity areas. This service may be provided either at no cost to the resident as an amenity or the property may want to have the managed service provider charge the resident to create a revenue stream. Either way, the entire property is lit up with wireless high-speed internet access. One very important difference with a managed WISP is the ability to manage the SLA delivery to the end-user.
What does that mean? It means that, unlike the carrier solutions, the managed service provider can actually guarantee an SLA, not just to each individual resident or unit, but to each individual device. This is huge. It means that the resident device will always have the bandwidth it needs to optimally perform, whether the resident wants to binge watch their favorite shows on 4K TV or is participating in an international virtual conference with hundreds of attendees.
This network architecture approach eliminates bandwidth-hogging issues. Device guaranteed SLA is ideal not just for WiFi internet service but is essential when it comes to property-wide WiFi calling for the residents, or the resident’s ability to have their apartment outfitted with smart appliances. Lastly, the same approach that is utilized for guaranteed SLAs (viewing the end-user as each individual devices) can be taken when it comes to ensuring security across the network.
Technologies like UserSafe can be implemented across the managed network to isolate each device on the network so that devices cannot “see” each other. This allows for secure banking, shopping, and the elimination of spoofing, hacking, and identity theft. Finally, a managed service is flexible enough to provide customized business models for internet delivery to the resident whether the building owner wants to provide service for free or generate additional revenue by having the managed service provider bills the residents.
On the same network that provides resident services should sit a separate and secure virtual network dedicated to the property’s back office. Building owners need this wireless access to conduct business and often carrier solutions will require a separate physical business service to handle the back office.
A managed WISP is able to architect separate VLANS that allow the property staff to have access to high-speed internet, wireless printing, virtual leasing apps, virtual property management apps, and the ability to conduct virtual tours on the same physical network that provides resident services. While the resident network may call for devices to not be able to see other for security reasons, back-office networks may require devices to talk to each other.
These customized network architecture options are all designed and managed by the WISP to meet the use case of the building owner. In addition, and this gets a bit into point three below, the property staff needs the ability to wirelessly managed the PropTech and Smart Building applications that the building has implemented from anywhere on the property. A common use case we hear is building staff wanting to be able to remotely adjust the thermostat of an empty unit that is unoccupied to save money. With the back-office network, this is
PropTech has become an industry buzzword. What do we mean when we say PropTech? It is simply any property technology that is being put into a building, whether software or hardware,
to optimize the way that people rent, buy, sell or manage a property.
PropTech can include anything from resident payment apps to leasing apps to automated infrastructure and wireless amenities. No matter what type of PropTech your building utilizes, PropTech applications, software or hardware, are only as good as the backbone infrastructure that support them.
That is why wireless internet network management is so essential. Building owners that invest in PropTech need to invest in managed wireless services and wireless infrastructure to support their investment. Buildings using carrier solutions or unmanaged wireless risk undermining their investment in PropTech.
Most importantly, when in the design phase of a building, be sure to consider wireless technologies in your planning. Even if implementing PropTech or wireless services seems a long way off, failure to properly plan for cabling and low voltage in the design phase can result in costly mistakes. We have seen more than one building owner have to make costly renovations to a newly built property due to poor wireless infrastructure planning.
Proper planning ensures that your building will have the infrastructure to support wireless technologies today and in the future.