Cover Image for Wireless Protocols & The Quest for Connectivity

Wireless Protocols & The Quest for Connectivity

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Bryan Jenks
Bryan Jenks

If your firm is anything like most these days, you and your team are probably evaluating smart tech transformation. It’s common enough, stressing out decision makers at every level, and you may even have a rough strategy in place. However, as we know, adopting and implementing new technology is both expensive and time-consuming, not to mention easily wasted if prone to difficulties. For our purposes, we are trying to show the best technologies to increase resident acquisition and demand, cut costs from utilities and energy waste, and automate workflows. 

What worries us most about the current state of the industry is the heavy confusion that surrounds the topic of connectivity. After all, the success of each integration is entirely dependent on how everything works together seamlessly. The connection choice boils down to two principal routes.

Managed WiFi—The Complete Service

Whereas the traditional model for Apartment WiFi is centered around residents buying and installing their own service, Managed WiFi flips that on its head and installs WiFi across the building. The immediate benefit for residents is that they get cheaper and faster WiFi and they’re charged as if it were another utility, making it a better and more convenient experience for residents. 

It’s also an optimal solution for implementing a smart apartment solution at your properties. By having all the building’s smart devices connected to a single network, you’re automatically ensuring a higher level of information security as well as much faster device and software performance. 

One of the biggest battles in implementing and maintaining a high-quality smart apartment service to residents is device management. When smart devices are going offline or aren’t operating properly due to the poor nature of individual WiFi services, the resident’s experience suffers. Suffice to say, devices are much easier to manage when the property is providing the internet. 


Cellular Chips—Speedy and Cheap

Like Managed WiFi, Cellular internet services are modeled around outfitting an entire property with access points that are completely separate from the individual’s WiFi. However, a robust Cellular network plan can cut down on some of the costs of Managed WiFi. If you want to offer smart apartment services to your residents but aren’t ready to make the jump necessary for Managed, then Cellular is your best bet. All you have to do is install cellular chips into each unit’s device hub or gateway. Now residents are still able to go out and select their own WiFi, while their smart apartment suite is operating on its own channel of connectivity. 

The downside of Cellular is that its performance is largely based on location, i.e. how close your property is to the nearest cell towers. You’ll want to do your homework on each specific property before making your selection. 

A Not-So-Great Option  

We’ve touched on it a few times in this article so far, but we really can’t overemphasize the dangers of piggybacking off your resident’s WiFi. While we could write entire tomes about connectivity and wireless protocols, we’ll spare you the gory details and leave it at the simple matter of throughput. 

Individual WiFi plans are rarely outfitted to properly handle the sheer amount of information IoT devices need to process. This is also known as “throughput.” There are a lot of devices that work together in each unit, thus creating an exponential need for better connectivity. Whether it’s a separate, dedicated channel using cellular chips or a property-wide network built to deal with these challenges, either are better choices than leaving it up to your residents to power. The reality is you’re already investing a lot of time and resources into shaping your properties for the future, so might as well have the right wireless system in place from the start. 


Eventually, Everything Connects  

Another option is to install a hybrid network that distributes both WiFi and Cellular access points across your entire property. This is typically the best solution, but usually the most expensive. We expect to see a lot more communities adopt this particular model in the future. 

As more and more devices are connected to the internet, network strength and capabilities will grow in demand and residents will flock to the properties that offer the best connections. We help property owners and developers scope out the best options given the unique build, operational challenges, and the location of each building. 

Interested in offering your residents’ the ability to work, play, and live in a fully connected living environment? Episense provides developers, owners and operators with smart home solutions and tech-driven amenities that enhance the resident experience and unlock asset value. Schedule a demo today to learn more.


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