What does WiFi6 & 5G mean for Multifamily Properties?

Will 5G solve the in-building voice communication issues that have plagued building owners for the last decade?  There is a lot of marketing buzz about “5G” (we are actually years away from true 5G) but the reality is that if your building experiences poor in-building voice due to building construction materials, your residents and tenants will still experience cellular coverage issues whether they use 4GLTE or 5G. There is hope, though, in the form of 802.11ax.

Wi-Fi 6 (or 802.11ax) will bring the same enhancements that 5G is promising: quicker response time, decreased drain on device batteries, super-fast speeds and the ability to connect a ton of IoT devices. In fact, you could call Wi-Fi 6 the “In-Building” 5G.

The good news is that *finally* Wi-Fi and cellular device manufactures are working together to optimize the way Wi-Fi and cellular talk to each other. Wi-Fi shines best in buildings with high density usage (where cellular fails), so the fact that the cellular and Wi-Fi industries are finally working together to optimize hand-off and authentication is great news for building owners. The idea that Wi-Fi 6 and 5G industries are utilizing each other and working together is a big change from when 4GLTE was launched and there was no real collaboration between industries. This was especially evident in the slow adoption of Wi-Fi Calling and issues with seamless roaming from outdoor cellular to indoor Wi-Fi.

At the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, Cisco showcased the OpenRoaming initiative which will utilize HotSpot 2.0 to create a link between “identity providers, service providers and enterprises to share credentials and access networks”. Cisco mentions seamless roaming across Wi-Fi 6 and 5G which “allows mobile users to automatically and seamlessly roam across Wi-Fi and cellular networks including Wi-Fi 6 (802.11ax) and 5G,” the industry goal being to, “provide a better bridge between mobile and Wi-Fi networks”. Technologies like Wi-Fi 6 and OpenRoaming are going to continue to improve in-building voice and data coverage issues that have been creating headaches for building owners, residents and tenants, alike.

About In-Building Voice

OpenRoaming technology will further solidify Wi-Fi Calling as the future of in-building voice coverage. While many building owners see the writing on the wall and have begun to building Wi-Fi voice networks at their properties, some are still skiddish when it comes to thinking of Wi-Fi as a voice service or have held out to see what 5G means for in-building voice. Prior concerns regarding VoWiFi should be alleviated with the adoption of these new technologies and building owners should view Wi-Fi as the way of in-building communications – voice or data. Cellular, 4GLTE or 5G simply does not do the job inside of a building. Building owners who are experience poor cellular coverage in their buildings would be wise to begin the installation of their property-wide Wi-Fi networks now or at the very least they should be cabling all new buildings to future proof for this technology. Wi-Fi is here to stay.

Want to learn more about this topic?

Register for our Webinar entitled “Wi-Fi 6 and 5G: Understanding the Impact to Multifamily” on May 29, 2019 at 1:00 PM EST.

Questions about Wi-Fi 6, OpenRoaming or 5G?

Give us a call to discuss what technology is best for your property. 844-865-7477 or email sales@spotonnetworks.com to speak with one of our engineers.