The future is all about Wi-Fi. For some, this trend has already started. Wi-Fi is a wireless local area network for Internet access. It will soon be everywhere as cable providers expand their networks to include Wi-Fi, but for a price. Over the next few years, you may be forced to offer this service in almost all of your community access areas, such as your lobby, washroom, swimming pool, etc. That is, if you are not already offering it. What’s scary is that your residents will expect you to do this! But don’t worry – it’s not that expensive and is rather easy to set up!
Over the past several months, I have been watching the sales projections of every type of mobile product available, such as iPods, Androids and wireless laptops, absolutely soar. This past Christmas, I purchased one of these for my 11-year-old daughter, who begged her mom and me to have one. Eventually, all these new devices will need to connect to a wireless service. All these users are moving away from the desktop computer and, to an extent, moving away from cable and satellite TV as well. It seems that the popular social media sites (Facebook, Twitter, etc.) and the media sites (Netflix, Hulu, etc.) are driving this change.
The delicate installation of Wi-Fi services is quite simple, although it can get extremely complicated as far as maintaining the right balance of speed, security and coverage. Depending on the size of your complex, the amount of bandwidth will depend on how many residents may use the service at any point in time. Remember, you can always increase your bandwidth as you see an increase in usage. Your residents will let you know when the speeds are getting bogged down with too many users.
Any network can be hacked regardless of security; however, you do not want to make your network too easy for hackers to vandalize. As long as you set up your network with an easy-to-remember password for your residents, you should be fine. Also, it is good to change this password every 90 days at the minimum - just be sure to tell your residents of this change.
Lastly, you may need to adjust your router for the coverage area. Over time, your router may get moved or damaged or worse. When spring arrives, all the beautiful foliage could negatively affect coverage. If you evaluate your system at least quarterly, your residents will never have to complain about your Wi-Fi system.
Here are a few tips to get your complex Wi-Fi ready:
1. Have your maintenance technician study up on Wi-Fi or take a course.
2. Always read the manuals/instructions.
3. Wi-Fi will become more of an issue very soon, so get ahead of the curve.