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Property ManagementSmart Apartments

Top 15 Frequently Asked Questions About Managed WiFi

Increase property revenue and improve resident experience with Managed WiFi.

WiFi is the #1 desired amenity for renters. It’s a modern-day convenience few can live without.  Securing high-quality WiFi for residents is a priority for property managers and owners, but what is the best solution? 

Here are the most frequently asked questions we get about WiFi.

1. What is Managed WiFi? 

Managed WiFi is a type of internet solution where building-wide WiFi networks are owned by a property but installed and managed by a third-party. Homebase Managed WiFi can help cut the cost of individual private networks for residents. It can also be used to generate new revenue because all WiFi payments go to the property instead of an Internet Service Provider.  Homebase handles customer service, maintenance, and repairs so property managers can focus on their core operations while providing residents with a reliable internet connection.

2. How is Managed WiFi different from Bulk WiFi? 

Managed WiFi differs from Bulk WiFi in two key ways.

Security: Managed WiFi provides secure, private networks for each apartment whereas Bulk WiFi provides one shared WiFi network that all residents can access

Profitability: When you own the network, you determine the pricing and retain the net income. Typically that amounts to $25 to $45 per subscriber each month. Conversely, Bulk WiFi is owned by the Internet Service Provider (ISP). The ISP may pay the building owner a one-time fee, but they determine the pricing and retain profits.

Managed WiFi provides secure, private networks for every unit while Bulk WiFi creates one shared WiFi network that residents can access.

3. How is Managed WiFi different from traditional revenue sharing?

In the traditional revenue-sharing model, one or more Internet Service Providers (ISPs) offer internet service to residents in a multifamily community. In return, these ISPs give the property a percentage of their revenue.

Managed WiFi allows properties to reduce the overall costs of WiFi installation through bulk pricing. They can also determine their profit margin by choosing the WiFi tiers and pricing they will offer residents. This increases the amount of revenue properties are generating with WiFi while also reducing costs for residents.

4. What hardware is installed for Homebase Managed WiFi?

The WiFi installation process begins with the Main Distribution Frame (MDF). The MDF is the main computer closet in the building.  This is where Modems, Firewalls, and Switches reside. Depending on the size of the building, the MDF’s wires may be pulled into Independent Distribution Frame closets (IDFs). An IDF is a remote room with patch panels (hardware with multiple ports to group cables). Wires branch out from IDFs to each individual wireless access point (AP). Together, this structure provides the building with full-coverage, high-speed, Managed WiFi.

5. How long does Homebase Managed WiFi take to install?

The Homebase WiFi installation process is efficient. It is typically completed in less than a month. We provide CAD designs of your building showing exactly where to run your wire. For the best experience, we recommend involving Homebase early in the process of a new construction. Ideally, when the architect is drawing the plans for the building. This allows our smart building specialists to collaborate with the architect to reduce costs and maximize potential.

6. Can we install Homebase Managed WiFi in a retrofit?

Although involving our smart building specialists while your architect is drawing the building plans is ideal, our team regularly retrofits older buildings with Managed WiFi. While slightly more complex, these retrofits still provide a great Managed WiFI experience (often without pulling any additional wiring).

7. How does Homebase Managed WiFi compare to national competitors?

Homebase WiFi is as good as, or better than, national competitors. We provide building-wide WiFi, so we are able to create custom-designed solutions to maximize your connectivity.

8. What is Fiber and does Homebase use it?

Fiber refers to a specific type of wiring utilizing light over glass instead of electrical signals over copper. This type of wiring provides an advantage when residents want more than 2 Gbps of speed or when cable paths must be longer than 100m (~330ft).

Homebase offers Fiber through Gigabyte Passive Optical Networks (GPON). GPON supports longer runs and higher speeds than copper hardware with only a marginal increase in installation costs. Unlike copper wiring, GPON has the ability to support speeds over 100 Gbps and is only limited by the hardware on either side (access points and computers generally won’t go over 1 Gbps, at this point).  Investing in GPON infrastructure is a great way to futureproof your building so you are equipped to offer higher speeds as resident needs grow.

It’s important to note that WiFi doesn’t provide the same speed as plugging into an ethernet cable, regardless of the wiring. Additional wired ports are recommended if you need speeds over 1 Gbps.

9.  How much does Managed WiFi cost?

Properties: On average, the property pays $35 per apartment unit per month for the Homebase Managed WiFi service.

Residents: The cost for residents varies because each property chooses its WiFi tiers and pricing. This allows properties to determine their profit margin.

10. What is the average WiFi adoption and how can it be increased?

On average, properties see between 60 and 80 percent of their residents purchase WiFi. This varies based on whether the property is located in a dense urban market with a lot of competing internet options or in a more rural market, where there are fewer competitors.

Managed WiFi allows properties to increase revenue while improving affordability for residents.
Managed WiFi allows properties to increase revenue while improving affordability for residents.

To maximize adoption, Homebase provides sales training for your leasing staff, personalized marketing materials, and in-app messaging to drive WiFi adoption. The best way to increase adoption is for leasing staff to promote it during lease-up and limit the promotion of outside internet service providers.

11. How much money can you make with Managed WiFi?

This varies greatly from property to property. Influencing factors include the percentage of residents who adopt WiFi and the prices for WiFi tiers set by the property. We have seen properties generate up to a million-dollar increase in valuation.

12. How do residents pay for WiFi?

Residents use the Homebase Resident App to select and pay for WiFi. Those payments are processed by Stripe and deposited directly into the property’s bank account.

13. How can I maximize my residents’ gaming experience with Homebase WiFi?

We have a lot of residents at Homebase communities who use our internet for gaming. In general, connecting directly to the AP with an ethernet cable is always best. Ethernet ports are available at most Homebase communities. Reach out to our Customer Success team in your Homebase app at support@homebase.ai to see if your community is equipped.

14. What speed should I see when I run a WiFi speed test?

If you purchase a 1 gig WiFi plan, you can expect to see speeds up to 1 Gbps. If you are the only person in the building and plugged into an ethernet cable you are more likely to see speeds close to the maximum. If there are multiple people using the same WiFi connection simultaneously, you may experience a slower connection. For example, if 5 people ran a speed test around the same time, they might each see speeds around 300 Mbps on a 1 gig plan. For most people streaming videos, this will be plenty of speed for an efficient connection. However, gamers or users who require a low-latency connection may prefer to plug into an ethernet port and reduce the number of devices connected to their WiFi.

Properties can set their tiers with Managed WiFi to allow residents to select the connectivity they require.
Properties can choose their WiFi tiers to allow residents to select the connection they need.

15. Who should residents reach out to if they are having issues?

If residents encounter an issue with their WiFi connection, they can reach out to Homebase Customer Success in their Homebase app or at support@homebase.ai. Our Customer Success team and our network experts work together to troubleshoot issues for residents. We talk directly with residents to avoid adding to property managers’ workloads.

Want to learn more? Homebase is committed to helping customers maximize their property through ongoing consultation, live chat support, and marketing materials. Let’s talk about your goals!

Homebase brings the smart apartment experience to new build and retrofit multifamily with trusted technology that delivers intuitive building access control with smart locks, automation of property management, new revenue with property-wide WiFi, and IoT technology amenities residents enjoy. All completely installed and managed for the multifamily innovation leaders of this decade.