Wi-Fi Data Usage Study Furthers The Case For Community-Wide Wi-Fi Services

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 webcontact@spotonnetworks.com or 203-523-5210.