Archive for the ‘mdu’ Category

The Answer Is Here! Solving Your Property’s Cellular Coverage Issues

April 12, 2013
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Ericsson reported in 2012 that from the third quarter of 2009 to the fourth quarter of 2011, mobile data transmission increased by 600 percent. Projections by Cisco seem to indicate that the trend will continue, especially as more video is delivered over the internet.

Indoor cellular coverage is becoming increasingly more important- literally by the day. The Pew Research Center reports that smartphone ownership has increased dramatically over the course of 2011-2012, from 35% to 46% of US adults, totaling a 31% increase in less than one year. Add to this the research conducted by Ericsson reported in 2012, showing a 600% increase in mobile data transmissions between the third quarter of 2009 and fourth quarter of 2011 alone, and it becomes undeniably evident that we are knee deep in the wireless revolution. In fact, 80% of multifamily residents now use their mobile phones as their primary phone, as the land line slowly recedes into the night of technologies past. The disappearance of the corded phone is being solidified by new business models introduced by money hungry cell phone companies; these giants are privy to the fact that data usage far outweighs voice communications, and have incented consumers to do away with land lines, by offering unlimited talk time, while adding (not-so-unlimited) data usage fees.

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The Pew Research Center reports that smartphone ownership increased from 35 percent of U.S. adults in 2011 to more than 46 percent of U.S. adults in 2012, a 31 percent increase in less than one year.

All of these changes, quite rapid changes mind you, are creating unintended consequences for many multifamily building owners and residents alike. As the building industry shifts focus towards energy conservation and more sustainable building practices it has become evident that many of the new building materials are particular resistant to cellular service penetration. As you can imagine, this is posing a huge problem for building owners and residents, especially as people become increasingly reliant on wireless technologies. If residents don’t have cellular service inside their homes, how will they make calls to friends and family? More importantly, how will they call 911?? These questions are not to be ignored.

Over 20 times a week someone from the multifamily industry is contacting Spot On Networks for suggestions on how to deal with this difficult, time-consuming, and potentially very costly issue. At Spot On Networks we have dedicated an enormous amount of time to helping building owners combat their cellular dilemmas, and are happy to say, we have just the solution for you.

The right answer can vary from property to property, dependent on the exact circumstances, budget, and level of convenience necessary for residents. The first solution is the DAS System. DAS stands for Distributed Antenna System, and can be quite costly to implement, coupled with extensive installation. Spot On has configured a solution to not only eliminate poor cellular coverage, but to offset the cost of installing an extravagant DAS System: CellBOOST. CellBOOST typically costs about 1/5 of a DAS System, AND provides property wide WiFi.  CellBOOST boosts cellular signal within a building by strategically placing a number of bidirectional amplifiers within the building, and a donor antennae on the roof which receives the cellular service from outdoors. CellBOOST is non-carrier specific, and is Passpoint 2.0 ready for the up and coming technologies.

The second possible solution would be to use existing WiFi applications. If WiFi is available at a property, residents can use mobile VoIP applications, such as Skype as an alternative phone service to make all of their calls, including calls to emergency services- however the location of said caller is not as visible as otherwise. For texting, there is an app called WhatsApp, which enables texts to be sent via Wi-Fi.

Lastly, the lonely Femtocell. The Femtocell is a small, low-power cellular base station designed for in home use. Although each carrier dubs the device something different, all versions are similar operationally: Plug in an internet cable, and use cell service from a single carrier (hence the “lonely”) in an individual apartment (for a fee, of course).

All of these solutions have their own pros and cons, however, when we take a look at the future, it becomes clear that the more effective solution for the long term would be along the lines of CellBOOST. Within a few months, the WiFi Alliance and the Wireless Broadband Alliance will release a compatible set of protocols and procedures that make WiFi networks complementary to cell carrier networks. ImageThe service, called Hotspot 2.0, uses the WiFi Alliance’s Passpoint 2.0 certification procedure for product certification to promote secure, seamless roaming between cell services and WiFi networks. (Read more here.) The first Hotspot 2.0 solution is expected to be introduced during 2013. Some access points are already Passpoint 2.0 certified, such as those deployed by Spot On Networks, used in CellBOOST. It is imperative to take a look at your property’s cellular coverage issues with an eye on the future- the DAS System will not hold up to the Hotspot 2.0, and neither will Femtocell. With all of these solutions available, cellular coverage issues within a building are soon to be a thing of the past (much like the beloved land line…), however, the important thing is choosing the right solution for your needs, and one that will stand the test of time.

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No Noise Is Good Noise

December 26, 2012

As internet usage and the increasing demand for immediacy expand, Internet Service Providers are quickly learning that unresolved glitches and errors in network functionality are creating much ‘noise’ on the social media front, ultimately translating into a bad rap- for property managers and providers alike.

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In an article written by David Daugherty for Broadband Communities magazine’s October 2012 Issue, he explains, “Noise is an indicator of how well a service provider performs day to day. If residents make noise in the front office about poor internet performance, rest assured they are voicing their discontent socially.”  This is especially a concern in the student housing sector, as students so widely rely on the internet and social media for many daily activities, such as schoolwork and entertainment. At student housing properties, this noise does not go long unheard, as social media sites are an optimal vehicle for the residents to ‘echo’ any issues they might be experiencing. Philip Emer, director of technology for Preiss Properties, states that in some cases, it has even proven helpful to use said social media thread to help diagnose and address certain problems networks may be experiencing. It is no secret that any problems with service not rapidly addressed, have a surprisingly efficient way of presenting themselves to not only fellow residents, but also property management, regional and corporate offices, and the service providers. In the long run, inadequate customer service definitely has the potential to create a poor reputation for all parties involved.

Luckily, there is a solution. It has taken some time, trial, and error, but the industry is now realizing that many former business models are in need of a total revamp, such as self-help and troubleshooting interfaces. It is important that any network used at a multi-unit facility, especially student housing, is fully managed and monitored to assure a seamless user experience. Subscribers are eagerly seeking swift, tech-savvy, easily attainable customer support representatives, and more service-oriented assistance, less reliant on the outdated do-it-yourself model. Daugherty says simply, “key stakeholders must understand that maintaining customer expectations is a never-ending task”.

The Rise and Fall of the Rental Regime

October 11, 2012

The moon waxes and wanes, tides ebb and flow, and we all know that what goes up, will eventually come down; so it came as no surprise when the rental market started “showing signs of losing steam”, according to a recent report from Reis Inc.

Image Courtesy of Wall Street Journal

     In an article from the Wall Street Journal on October 3, 2012, Dawn Wotapka outlines some interesting statistics regarding the recent slump in the rental sector, possibly due to tenants feelings more inclined to purchase real estate while the rates are so low.

What does this mean for the multihousing industry? Well, seeing as research firm Zelman & Associates estimates roughly 235,000 units to be new construction this year alone, it might mean a few things for a property owner.
Not only will rental prices likely decrease over the years to come in order to obtain and more importantly, maintain occupancy; but property owners will have to do their fair share to make renting more attractive than owning. The good news here is that rental properties already have a head start– one word: amenities. Services such as Wi-Fi, when included with a rental property, automatically make a bare home look exactly that, bare. It is essential that owners do all they can to outfit their rental properties with all desired amenities, and adding a fully managed and monitored wireless network to any property is certainly going to increase the rentability, while also leaving property managers and owners available to fully focus on advertising their amenities advantage, and filling their buildings.

Google to surrender data collected over unsecured networks

June 4, 2010
Image Courtesy: blog.redfin.com

The New York Times reported today that, despite earlier refusals, Google has now agreed to turn over data that was collected from unsecured Wi-Fi networks while taking snapshots for Google Street View.  Google CEO, Eric Schmidt, will share the collected personal data with officials in Germany, Spain and France.  The data collected over unsecured networks is said to contain snapshots of personal information including emails, bank account numbers, etc.  Schmidt said in a Thursday interview in London, that he also plans to “make public the results of internal and external audits of its Wi-Fi data collection practices” (NYT).

Despite the European outrage over the Wi-Fi data collection issue, the U.S. seems to be a lot less disgruntled over the situation.  While the FCC is taking a look at the issue, there is an obvious difference in the reaction of the U.S.  There have been a few lawsuits filed against Google in the U.S., with one judge in Oregon in giving Google 10 days (from 6/3) to hand over data collected over unsecured Wi-Fi networks.  However, the U.S does seem considerably less upset with Google, from an official standpoint.

From all bad, however, comes good and I think that it is important to look at what we have learned from the Google situation.  Wi-Fi network security is extreamly important.  I can pick up at least one unsecured network from one of my Wi-Fi enabled devices, most of the time.  Free “hotspots” in cafes, stores and even hotels can be unsecure and not properly monitored.  Not only is Wi-Fi networks security important to protect our personal data, but it has also become important as goverments find it necessary to begin to create laws and issue levels of responsibility to owners and operators of Wi-Fi networks.

Look at Germany, for example.  They recently passed litigation that will hold operators of unsecured Wi-Fi networks responsible for what occurs on that network (such as illegal downloading).  Take CALEA (Communications Assistance for Law Enforcement Act – read more) in the U.S.  This law places an enormous amount of responsibility on the owners/ operators of Wi-Fi networks.  So as Wi-Fi becomes the primary use for telecommunication and mobile networking, goverments are going to tighten up restrictions on what is acceptable and what network security is necessary.  So, not only is in important to protect our personal information, but network owners and operators of Wi-Fi hotspots need to be concerned about security as well.

Spot On’s Wi-Fi networks use the highest standards of security to protect your personal information.  So, a situation like Google StreetView sniffing personal data cannot happen with Spot On’s network.  On our network, we do not allow a computer to talk to another computer.  In the instance of StreetView – a personal computer, over an unsecured Wi-Fi network had the ability to talk to the StreetView car – on a Spot On Network, the user computer can talk to the Internet, but is blocked from being able to talk to another computer… thus, information over our Wi-Fi network can never be sniffed out.  Read more about our security.

As for owners and operators of Wi-Fi hotspots – we urge you to become familiar with CALEA and what it means for your level of responsibility.  If you are self-operating a Wi-Fi networks, that is, you have a router and are offering Wi-Fi as amenity… you need to be aware of your responsibility for what occurs over your network and who accesses your networks.  Spot On Wi-Fi networks take that responsibility off our your back.  We are fully CALEA Compliant and monitor our network so that your Wi-Fi network is legal.  Not sure if you are CALEA Compliant?  Contact us for more information and we can help to access the security of your Wi-Fi network, whether you are a small cafe offering free Wi-Fi for a large-scale high-rise apartment building.

All in all, we can learn a lot from the Google situation – it is important that we are aware and responsibile for the security of our Wi-Fi networks, not only for our personal networks – but for when we are providing Wi-Fi for others.

Wi-Fi News and Technology – The Wi-Fi Revolution™

May 18, 2010

Please visit our new home. We are committed to providing you with up-to-date and accurate news on all things Wi-Fi (wireless).  The Wi-Fi Revolution™ blogs on breaking news in the Wi-Fi industry, Cell-Fi™ (using your Smartphone over Wi-Fi), the latest in Voice Over IP (VoIP) news, wireless technology, Wi-Fi enabled Smartphones, Cellphones and other devices, signaling traffic, data traffic, Wi-Fi as an amenity in MDUs (multi-dwelling units) and all things iPad, iPhone, Android, CALEA,etc.  We are currently in the last few days of our “Win a FREE iPad Contest”.  If you have been thinking of enter go here and enter your “What The Wi-Fi Revolution™ means to me” slogan in 10 words or less.  We will be ending the contest at midnight on Friday, May 21st and the winner will be announced on May 28th.  We have received some GREAT slogans and awesome comments about The Wi-Fi Revolution™!

Episode 6: Spot On Wi-Fi TV

May 14, 2010

GO TO OUR NEW BLOGwe have a new look and a new homewe will keep posting here until we are sure that everyone is aware of the move.

Watch Spot On Networks VP of Sales, Oliver Oetterer, recap the 2010 Broadband Properties Summit! The Wi-Fi Revolution™ was in Dallas! Learn more about Community Wide High Speed Wi-Fi Internet and Cell-Fi™ (Save money.  Save minutes.  Use your smartphone over Wi-Fi).

Spot On Networks and Archstone Announce Partnership Success – Press Release

March 20, 2010

View press release

Go to Spot On Networks

Design and installation of High Speed Wi-Fi Internet in the common areas of 43 Archstone properties is a success!

New Haven, CT (PRWEB) March 19, 2010 — Spot On Networks, LLC (www.spotonnetworks.com) announced today the successful implementation of the design and installation of High Speed Wi-Fi Internet Access Services in the common areas of 43 apartment communities in Archstone’s portfolio. Spot On and Archstone look forward to the continued development of this partnership.

Archstone, a recognized leader in apartment operations with a portfolio concentrated in many of the most desireable neighborhoods in the nation, now has Spot On’s Cell-FiTM capability in these communities, providing residents that use Smartphones with faster and more cost effective data and voice services. Each of these communities is now iReady, providing residents the capability to use iPhones, iPod Touch and the newly announced iPad over Wi-Fi.

“This partnership has been very beneficial to the successful deployment of multiple communities for this much desired amentiy fo our residents,” said Aaron Moeller, telecommunications development analyst at Archstone. “Spot On’s ability to deliver a full turn-key solution creates a one-stop shop. In addition, this service allows our staff to worry less about the installation and maintenance of their Wi-Fi service and more on the day-to-day needs of our residents. The 24-hour support provides peace of mind that someone is always there to help with technical needs.”

Richard Sherwin, CEO of Spot On Networks stated: “We are pleased at the successful outcome of this partnership and look forward to continuing to provide the highest quality technical solutions for Archstone. Our goal is to continue to seek solutions in this ever changing technical arena. We strive to provide personalized world-class customer service and veiw our partnership as critical to the success of the deployment of each project.”

About Spot On Networks
Spot On Networks is the largest service provider of high speed Wi-Fi Internet to the multifamily housing industry. Utilizing various technologies, Spot On Networks provides high speed Wi-Fi capabilities throughout a residential complex that replace the need for DSL or Cable Modem services while providing complete mobility and faster service within that complex.

About Archstone
Archstone is a recognized leader in apartment investment and operations. The company’s portfolio is concentrated in many of the most desirable neighborhoods in and around Washington, D.C., Los Angeles, San Diego, San Francisco, New York, Seattle and Boston. Archstone strives to provide great apartments and great service to its customers – backed by service guarantees. As of December 31, 2009, the company owned or had an ownership position in 442 communities located in the United States and Europe, representing 82,829 units, including untis under construction. Utilizing this tremendous amount of expertise and industrial knowledge, Archstone now also offers comprehensive advisory services to owners and lenders who want to maximize the value of their assets through Archstone Real Estate Advisory Services.

Contact: Shirley Eis, Director
Phone: + 1 203 523 5210

Reviews on the iPad

February 5, 2010

It’s been about a week and news, magazines, websites and (of, course) the blogs have been taking to their keyboards to weigh in on the iPad.  Reviews seem to be ranging from “I can’t wait to get my hands on one” to “What A Snore…”.  It seems to me, however, that reviews aside – this thing is going to be hot and pretty soon media outlets (websites, news organizations, etc.) are going to be scrambling to get their content formatted for the iPad in the same way that they did for the iPhone. 

The question still remains, though, how the heck is AT&T going to support, what will probably be a iPad-craze, over it’s already struggling 3G network.  We now know that AT&T 3G is struggling with supporting data usage, but with newssites now using words like: “iPad could ‘cripple’ 3G data network…”  As the Techword.com article mentions, “it is hard to imagine how AT&T will handle any additional influx in data demand on its already faltering network. AT&T’s issues with data speeds and 3G availability, and the finger-pointing as to whether AT&T or the iPhone itself is to blame have been a point of contention for months.”

It is obvious here that the solution is Wi-Fi networking and Cell-Fi, which allows the user to use their iPad, iPhone, Smartphone, Laptop, Netbook, etc. over Wi-Fi with faster data tranfer and, in the instance of the Smartphone, allows for voice use over Wi-Fi without the use of cell minutes.  Spot On covers more than 800,000 units across the country with their Wi-Fi networks. 

The next few months will be interesting and when the iPad hits, the Spot On Network will be ready to support fast data transfer with the device.  Spot On will be iReady when you are!