3/17/2020 | Jessica DaSilva, CSO Spot On Networks
Last week, a Wi-Fi provider newer to the multifamily space released a paid-content article on BizNow addressing the differences between “Pre-Installed WiFi” and “Managed Wi-Fi” for multifamily buildings. While we agree with many of the points made addressing the necessity of a Managed Wi-Fi solution for apartment buildings, condo complexes and hotels, the provider neglected to specifically address the most important technology use-case that is driving multifamily building owners to deploy a Managed Wi-Fi solution. The Use-Case: WiFi Calling. The Technology: Tessellated Grid Design.
“Managed Wi-Fi” Is Not Enough
Spot On Networks has been deploying property-wide managed Wi-Fi networks in apartments, condo complexes, hotels and high-rises since 2005. We have had the unique opportunity to watch Wi-Fi go from a “nice-to-have” amenity for multifamily residents, to an absolutely necessary utility that building owners and managers need to offer to remain competitive. From Spot On’s perspective, the debate regarding “Pre-Installed Wi-Fi” vs. “Managed Wi-Fi” is only a part of the issue. Savvy building owners and managers are keenly aware of the importance of providing a Managed Wi-Fi solution to residents. What is more important is how the Managed Wi-Fi network architecture is being used by residents and that the network is appropriate for the use-case.
In the last 15 years of deploying managed Wi-Fi networks in multifamily buildings, we can specifically target the moment when building owners went from viewing Wi-Fi as an amenity area offering to understanding the real need for a property-wide Managed Wi-Fi solution. That moment was the adoption by the cellular carriers and manufactures of Wi-Fi Calling as an in-building voice solution.
As more multifamily buildings were being built with LEED certified and energy saving building materials, residents were not able to use their cellphones inside. As the world “cut-the-cord” and land lines became a thing of the past, multifamily building owners and developers were faced with a huge problem: poor in-building cellular coverage. Originally the only solution available to the building owner was a Distributed Antenna System (DAS), which was extremely cost prohibitive and slow to deploy. Due to our relationships with the top building owners in the country, Spot On was keenly aware of the need and developed a network architecture specifically geared to providing seamless Wi-Fi Calling coverage throughout an entire building. This patented network architecture called “Tessellated Grid Design” uses specific access point placement, power and channel assignments, combined with a robust network managed to provide reliable and seamless connection throughout an entire building.
Patented Tessellated Grid Design and Wi-Fi Calling
Deploying a Managed Wi-Fi network with the use-case of providing a property-wide Wi-Fi Calling solution requires a different methodology than a data network. While a network deployed primarily for high-speed Wi-Fi Internet access will require a lot of bandwidth, data is forgiving when it comes to the connection, especially when moving between access points. Voice, on the other hand, is not. While Wi-Fi Calling does not use a lot of bandwidth, it requires consistent connection – if the connection is not consistent, or if seamless handoff is not implemented, the call will drop. Tessellated Grid was developed specifically as a network architecture that ensures that Wi-Fi Calling service is clear and reliable throughout an entire building. Quality of Service and Voice Packet Prioritization are used as a function of the managed network service so the resident can rely on Wi-Fi Calling in their building the same way they would rely on their cellular carrier.
Building owners have found Wi-Fi Calling to be the most reliable and cost-effective solution for providing residents with seamless voice coverage in their multifamily buildings. Today, Spot On’s networks are not only a Managed Wi-Fi service, but they are being deployed with patented network architecture that ensures the network can support both unlimited high-speed data streaming AND seamless reliable Wi-Fi Calling services. According to Cisco VNI, this year more than 50% of voice calls will happen over Wi-Fi and that number will continue to increase exponentially.
Building owners need to be prepared to install a Managed Wi-Fi Network with Tessellated Grid Design at their properties to support the three use-cases that residents demand: Unlimited High-Speed Wi-Fi Data Streaming, Seamless Wi-Fi Calling and support for The Internet of Things (IoT devices). The installation of a Managed Wi-Fi Network with Tessellated Grid Design will ensure that multifamily owners and developers are future-proofing their properties with the technology required to remain competitive and satisfy residents.
For more information on Managed Wi-Fi, Wi-Fi Calling or Tessellated Grid Design contact: