November 25, 2019

Setting up in-building Wi-Fi in a multistory building can be challenging for anyone. These challenges are why you’ll still find dead zones in even the most modern (and well-funded) venues and properties. Whether you’re connecting a small office building or a skyscraper, the ideal system will depend on everything from configuration to square footage. Learn more about how Wi-Fi works in larger spaces, and why you might need managed Wi-Fi solutions to supplement it. 

The Limitations of Traditional Wi-Fi 

Wi-Fi has become a generic description of the connectivity of any given area. If something goes wrong, the user of the device will likely blame the Wi-Fi, even if there are other forces at play. The truth is that there are a number of distinct technologies that may be connecting you to your devices. 

An in-building wireless solution leveraged for cellular connectivity, like DAS and small cells for example, is different from Wi-Fi in terms of both its design and management. These solutions use a cellular network (e.g., LTE, 4G, etc.) to connect users, while Wi-Fi is used mainly for data in the context of the larger infrastructure of a multistory building.

Wi-Fi makes use of unlicensed frequencies to transport signals, which can be unreliable for traditional calls. Anything from tall trees to metal building infrastructure can interfere. In other words, you’re more likely to have slow web pages load on your phone and have your calls dropped. 

Wi-Fi icons over tall buildings in city skyline

Why You Need Both 

Today, building owners aren’t relying on Wi-Fi as a best-effort set-up. Instead, they’re adding in-building Wi-Fi so they can create an enjoyable experience for everyone. Your guests and tenants can use Wi-Fi when it’s available and allow an in-building wireless solution to pick up wherever Wi-Fi drops off.

Setting up the right Wi-Fi system in a multistory building can also do wonders for your property values. Because the new technology is designed to adapt to future infrastructure and network improvements (e.g., 5G), it will continue to maintain its worth for many years to come.  

Enterprise Wi-Fi 

One way for property owners to satisfy obligations to their tenants is through enterprise Wi-Fi. These systems can be either wide- or local-area and use powerful equipment to transmit data under heavy duress. This means that even when network usage is at its heaviest, there will be limited interference to the connectivity. 

An enterprise network relies on the router and switches to connect a variety of devices. This complex machinery links everything from your smartphone to your mainframe to your operating system. As idealistic as this solution may sound, enterprise networks have been criticized for failing to meet modern-day security demands. They’ve also had trouble keeping pace with the ever-changing demands of devices and upgraded network speeds. 

Supplements to Wi-Fi

If you’re setting up Wi-Fi in a large space, you may want to supplement traditional Wi-Fi with in-building wireless solutions. If you’re working with substantial square footage, a distributed antenna system (DAS) is a popular choice because it’s scalable to even the largest buildings. This set up includes a central controller connected to a carrier base station, but it also makes use of multiple antennas distributed throughout the building. 

For example, if you’re setting up a large building with a parking structure underneath, consider that all residents and guests will want connectivity no matter where they are. Whether it’s pulling into the garage or enjoying rooftop amenities, guests and tenants will undoubtedly become frustrated if their connections falter. Connectivity is especially vital in case there’s an emergency.

With a DAS, you can place antennas in the most troublesome areas, allowing for smoother transitions and better coverage. These antennas are so discrete that they can be placed on utility poles and walls without disrupting any visual aesthetics. If you choose to expand the building at some point, you can add antennas to ensure a strong connection. 

The Fine Print

If you’re setting up Wi-Fi in a smaller building, a small cell network may make more sense for your space. Instead of using antennas, it uses nodes throughout the structure to boost the connectivity.

Small Cell designs are not as powerful as DAS, so owners should have an idea of the usage in their building before making a decision. For example, even a smaller building will need exceptionally powerful coverage and capacity if every person on the property is likely to use multiple devices at the same time. However, if you know that your connectivity needs will be on the lighter side, a more robust connectivity infrastructure may not be necessary. 

New and Improved 

Managed Wi-Fi solutions have markedly improved over the past few years. Moving cellular traffic from on and off the network can now be done with fiber optic cables that provide enough bandwidth to keep everything flowing quickly.

The infrastructure of yesterday would have taken a big bite out of a property owner’s budget, but the technology of today is far less complex and far more affordable. Entire communities are making use of this technology in an effort to improve security for all. These solutions also move everyone closer to convergence, making it possible to run multiple networks and services over one layer of infrastructure. 

Managed Wi-Fi Solutions 

There is no easy solution for connectivity for property owners today; not when you consider how vital it is for daily operations as well as for public safety. If you’re looking for advice, contact Connectivity Wireless to learn more about our services.

Commercial Wi-Fi solutions come with their own sets of benefits and drawbacks, and we’re here to give you an honest assessment of your property. We’ll identify how to keep your multistory building connected through an in-depth consultation based on your specific property needs and connectivity goals. With customizable services and expert staff, we make it easy to outfit your building with in-building wireless coverage you can count on.  

Contact our team today to learn more about our suite of services and diverse funding options to implement connectivity solutions for your property.