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Managed WiFi Solutions for MDU / MTU, Hotel, Assisted Living, & Restaurants

World Wi-Fi Day To Highlight Wireless Connectivity For Everyone As A Necessary Utility

The Wireless Broadband Alliance announced on January 14 there will be a “World Wi-Fi Day” on June 20, 2016, “an initiative that will accelerate affordable wireless connectivity around the world”.  This event will focus on the division between connected and unconnected societies and focus on the opportunities for societal advancement that wireless connectivity offers.

The goal of World Wi-Fi Day is ultimately to figure out a way to provide connectivity to everyone, everywhere.  Lack of connectivity is not only isolated to developing countries (where billions of people lack any connectivity) but is an issue in developed countries like the U.S.  Low income housing and urban areas contain hundreds of thousands of people who are still unconnected and even more do not have access to sufficient connectivity.  This lack of connectivity contributes significantly to decreased opportunity for certain populations.  World Wi-Fi Day is a call to action to get connectivity to these people and the Wireless Broadband Alliance is encouraging governments, operators, service providers, vendors and Internet giants everywhere to participate in this effort.

Spot On Networks is extremely proud to be at the forefront of building wireless networks that are geared towards providing secure and reliable wireless connectivity to the largest urban low income housing developments in the United States.  We fully believe that everyone should have access to secure, reliable and fast wireless connectivity.  Property owners, developers and governments now recognize the importance of providing wireless access to residents of their communities.   Wi-Fi, which used to be viewed as a nice-to-have amenity for urban residential properties, has become a necessary utility.

In addition to raising awareness, World WiFi Day will “celebrate the significant role Wi-Fi is playing in getting cities and communities around the world connected”.  With the proliferation of wireless devices and our dependence on Wi-Fi for Internet access, voice, streaming, security, home automation, social interaction – the digital divide continues to increase.  The good news is Wi-Fi has the ability to offer widespread, secure connectivity and with proper network management, it is possible to get people in urban areas connected the way the need to be in order to be competitive in an increasingly wireless world.

Multi-family Cell Coverage A Major Issue – New York Times Takes Notice

This Sunday’s Real Estate section of the New York Times included an interesting article: The Cellphone Imperative: If I Can’t Text, I’m Moving, which addressed the ongoing issue of poor in-building coverage in NYC multi-family buildings and the negative impact that lack of coverage has on leasing apartments.  Solutions range from WiFi Calling all the way to DAS – but the point is clear, it’s time for building owners to pick a solution or risk losing potential renters and buyers.  See below for a run-down of the most popular solutions or contact us to discuss what solution is right for your property: 203-523-5210.

The Impact

So just how negative an impact does poor in-building cellular having on leasing and selling apartments?  The NYT made it pretty clear:

“’It could kill a deal,’ said David J. Maundrell III, the founder of aptsandlofts.com, which was acquired a few days ago by Citi Habitats.  Being fully connected has become ‘a part of our daily routine,’ said Mr. Maundrell, noting how prospective residents constantly check their phones during showings. ‘People are addicted to it.’”

Real estate brokers are also taking notice of the importance of good cellular reception inside and are saying that, for buyers, adequate cellular coverage is non-negotiable and is as much a requirement of purchasing/ leasing a home as having a certain number of bedrooms:

“’A strong cell reception is a prerequisite,’ said Michael Graves, an associate broker at Douglas Elliman.”

Apparently, even celebrities are not exempt from facing coverage issues in their luxury apartments.  According to the Times, Jay Z walked away from a long-term lease after suffering a few days of poor cell signal.  Case in point, from billionaire to “renters on a budget”, everyone has cellular coverage on their priority list.

What Causes The Cellular Problem

Unfortunately, building owners encounter the issue of poor cellular coverage simply because they are building their buildings in the best way: using energy efficient materials like low-E glass, reinforced steel and concrete.  These building materials are creating a big problem.  Material like low- emissions glass, for example, is designed the keep the elements out and heat/ air conditioning inside – these energy saving windows drastically weaken cell signal and in some cases do not allow it to pass through at all.

Available Solutions

The NYT article talks a lot about both DAS and wireless networks (WiFi), though it seems to lump them together without pointing out the differences.   This part of the article can be a bit confusing.  A DAS system simply is not an option for the majority of building owners out there due to the high cost and amount of time it takes to get approval on such a solution, WiFi Calling and CellBoost® are very different from DAS in both network architecture, cost and need for approval.  There are multiple solutions for building owners to consider and what is right depends on the needs of the property: budget, the demographics of the building, time-frame for deployment, etc all need to be considered.  Solutions range from highly expensive carrier solutions to the more cost efficient dedicated WiFi Calling solution.  Here is a snap shot of the three most popular building-wide solutions, what they look like and how much they cost (from least to most expensive):

WiFi Calling – Approx. Cost: $0.40 per square foot:

  • What Is It? In-building wireless network with dedicated bandwidth and quality of service
  • Benefits: Cost effective, same physical network provides data services for residents, supports multiple carriers, call quality in testing is often better than cellular
  • Downsides: Currently only available for AT&T, T-Mobile & Sprint (Verizon has said they will deploy soon)

CellBoost® 

- Approx. Cost: $0.75 per square foot:

  • What Is It? Uses a donor antenna to bring existing outdoor cell signal into the building
  • Benefits: Quick to deploy, carrier agnostic, does NOT require carrier approval
  • Downsides: Currently only available for AT&T, T-Mobile & Sprint (Verizon has said they will deploy soon)

DAS - Approx. Cost: $2.00 per square foot:

  • What Is It? Essentially turns a building into a mini-cell site.  Relies on a base transceiver station.  Mostly used for stadiums and arenas
  • Benefits: Provides excellent cellular call quality
  • Downsides: Very expensive, slow to deploy, may become obsolete

 

Cellular Problems At Your Property?  contact us to discuss what solution is right for your property: 203-523-5210.

 

 

WiFi Calling Gets Carrier Support in UK – AT&T Support Updates

wifi-calling-menuWiFi Calling is continuing to make headlines in the U.S. and the UK with carriers on both sides of the Atlantic continuing to scramble to support the feature to meet consumer demand.  WiFi Calling has proven to be of huge benefit especially to owners of large residential buildings that experience poor voice coverage.

Here are the biggest WiFi calling news headlines from the last week:

AT&T Waits for FCC Approval: The latest update from AT&T seems to be that the average customer will have to wait a bit longer for the feature to be active while AT&T waits for FCC approval.  As we have been reporting, the iOS 9 update was available for public beta from Apple and many AT&T customers had the ability to use the WiFi calling features.  Those customers that had access to the WiFi calling feature in public beta will still be able to use it.  AT&T’s statement about the delay: “AT&T tested WiFi Calling through the iOS 9 beta and we are prepared to support commercial launch of the service once approved by the FCC”.  According to AT&T, the FCC needs to approve the RTT (real-time text) feature which is a system used for hearing impaired users.

EE Releases WiFi Calling – Vodafone Plays Catch Up: EE has released WiFi calling.  According to techradar.com, EE customers can already utilize the feature if they are using a compatible device.  As for Vodafone, network support should be available for the Samsung Galaxy S6 and Galaxy S6 Edge in the coming weeks.  UK carriers Three and O2 offer support for WiFi calling as well, however it is in the form of a mobile application and is not native to the device.  The Three and O2 solutions are still an upgrade from OTT apps like Skype and Viber, however, due to their use of the phone number native to the subscribers device.  As for seamless roaming between WiFi and cellular for EE and Vodafone customers, it is not yet available.  EE has positioned itself as a leader in working on a solution for seamless hand-off between WiFi and cellular, however it will not be available until EE switches over to VoLTE later in the year.

Ericsson Announces Support For WiFi Calling On Non-Cellular Devices: Ericsson has expanded it’s WiFi calling offering to include tablets and laptops when a subscriber downloads software to their now cellular device. This new Ericsson offering follows a recent consumer report on WiFi Calling produced by Ericsson consumer labs.  The July report made consumer adoption of native WiFi calling very clear with 61% of respondents claiming to now make more frequent and longer voice calls over WiFi calling and half saying that they are moving away from OTT apps like Skype in favor of WiFi Calling.

For more information on WiFi Calling for residential and commercial buildings, contact: marketing@spotonnetworks.com

 

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