Bulk Wi-Fi is not new to the MDU space, but in the last two years there has been a major shift in building owner perception about bulk Wi-Fi and how it can help building owners better serve their residents. A recent article in Broadband Communities Magazine, “Is it Time for MDU’s to Embrace Managed Broadband Access?”, discussed the growing adoption of Bulk by MDU owners for both market-rate and luxury apartment building owners. The “paradigm shift” that author, Henry Pye discusses in the aforementioned BBC article has also been true in the Affordable Housing space as states like New York begin to issue mandates regarding broadband access.
The biggest change in building owner perception has occurred in the last 18 months with the switch to work-from-home, remote school and telemedicine as a result of the Covid pandemic. Building owners have realized that to best serve their residents they need to provide building-wide Wi-Fi that is both secure and reliable enough to support what is currently being referred to as “The Now Normal”.
MDU building owners are finding that some of their most pressing problems can be solved with the same bulk Wi-Fi infrastructure that residents are demanding.
1. Poor In-Building Cellular Coverage
Energy saving building materials have become the norm for new construction. These construction materials block cellular coverage turning MDUs into virtual cellular dead zones. Today’s residents simply will not consider an apartment where cellular coverage is problematic. Cellular solutions, like a DAS, can be extremely cost prohibitive and are often a non-starter. A Managed Bulk Wi-Fi solution can provide seamless in-building voice coverage for smartphones and with technology like Multipath TCP, OpenRoaming and HotSpot 2.0, the handoff between cellular and Wi-Fi is only getting better day by day.
2. Out of Control Energy Costs
Building owners can turn one of their most out of control costs (energy) into a controllable cost utilizing smart building IoT that sits on a managed Wi-Fi infrastructure. Smart building IoT companies like Logical Buildings provide building owners with the software and hardware tools they need to get control over their energy spending.
3. Automating Operations
Turning the amenity area lights out, giving access to apartments, self-guided tours, locking the pool gate… these are all tasks that take time and money. Wi-Fi infrastructure allows the building owner to automate tasks using operational IoT to free up their staff to focus on resident satisfaction and leasing apartments.
4. Support for Smart Apartments & Resident Amenities
The number of IoT devices on the market is growing by the minute. Luxury and market-rate building owners are scrambling to turn their properties into “Smart Buildings” and units into “Smart Homes”. From keyless entry to appliances to fitness equipment to A/V to AI leasing tools – residents are looking for high tech, connected apartment communities. The implementation of these IoT devices requires a secure and reliable Wi-Fi backbone that can support multiple virtual local area networks with thousands of devices while still provide secure and reliable data coverage at the resident network level.
Building owners that are wiring their new construction for Bulk Wi-Fi (whether they chose to implement it at this time or not) are making a wise decision. Buildings that are not cabled for wireless services will find themselves being forced to make costly changes to their buildings or unable to remain competitive in the rental market. In a recent MFE article, “7 Takeaways to Leverage Proptech”, when discussing wiring Greystar properties for bulk Wi-Fi, Andrei Girenkov, senior managing director of enterprise technology and information security at Greystar stated, “We are confident it’s an essential building block to this ecosystem that has to be in place. I think five to 10 years from now, in the higher end of the market, you’re not even going to be able to operate unless you have this class of solution”. We completely agree.