A recent study published on Fierce Wireless in partnership with Strategy Analytics’ AppOptix, detailed the Wi-Fi data usage habits of Android users. The study showed Android users tendency to stray from their carrier networks to Wi-Fi.
The Cellular and Wi-Fi studied the Average Monthly Data Usage by Plan Type and showed that regardless of whether a user had a data plan with a monthly allowance or unlimited data usage over cellular, Wi-Fi traffic still accounted for 3-5 times the amount of cellular traffic. This data speaks directly to the cellular capacity issue that exists in high density areas, especially in-building. Despite an end-users ability to use cellular data at no cost, they still prefer to use Wi-Fi. The cellular experience simply is not adequate to support the usage of today, especially when it comes to streaming.
The tendency to prefer Wi-Fi was relatively consistent across all four major carriers with AT&T, Verizon and Sprint users all utilizing Wi-Fi for 80% of more of their data traffic. T-Mobile was a little different with only 70% of data traffic happening over Wi-Fi. It would be interesting to see if the lower reliance of Wi-Fi among T-Mobile users was a result of less capacity issue over T-Mobile cellular networks or due to T-Mobile being a pioneer in offering Unlimited Data usage plans.
Multifamily buildings face a three-fold issue when it comes to cellular and data in their buildings:
1) When it comes to capacity, residential properties, especially mid/ high rise are really small cities. Large population coupled with multiple devices per resident fighting for data traffic equals a very poor end user experience.
2) And point 1 is irrelevant for many buildings as they can’t even get cellular coverage inside due to building construction materials. Radio signal cannot penetrate the windows and walls.
3) Cord-cutting. Whether it be the lack of landline phones or the desire to cut the cable cord – the ability to receive good coverage for smartphones takes precedence and building owners need to provide adequate in-building voice coverage and data streaming services.
The reality is, for multifamily building owners, community-wide, seamless Wi-Fi solves both the coverage and capacity issue for residents. To work seamlessly throughout a building, a managed Wi-Fi strategy needs to be adopted. To support a robust, seamless Wi-Fi network, adequate cable planning should be begin before the shovel is in the ground.
Does your building have a Wi-Fi strategy? If you need help or would like to request more information, contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org or 203-523-5210.