DAS vs Wifi: Which is More Effective for Residential Connectivity?

In the world of residential real estate, it often feels like investors and developers never stop searching for the next big thing that will set their community apart from the pack. Whether it’s a state-of-the-art pool, smartphone-enabled security systems, or top-tier finishings, each new feature is improve the residential living experience and convince residents to renew their leases.

And while it’s easy to get caught up in the aesthetics or unique luxuries that make one apartment complex more appealing than the next, investors and developers can’t shy away from the amenities on residents’ lists of must-haves.

The COVID-19 pandemic shifted our priorities in nearly every facet of everyday life. After initially fading into the background, nightlife and local entertainment have been joined by delivery services, streaming subscriptions, and virtual meetings as part of our daily routines. And when it’s time to work, an at-home internet connection isn’t just a benefit; it’s a requirement.

So, how have residential real estate professionals responded to the drastic uptick in remote work? And what can they do to ensure their residents enjoy a seamless connectivity experience at every turn? Enter the debate between DAS vs. WiFi.

Residential Connectivity Has Become a Must-Have

The pandemic made it apparent that at-home connectivity is a must-have, and 67% of Americans agree that reliable wireless is a neighborhood necessity.

Now more than ever, residents in every type of dwelling need a reliable, secure internet connection to conduct business, connect with loved ones, and enjoy the simple luxuries of a digitally focused world. That means that multi-family residences, no matter their size or scope, must offer a viable, user-friendly option for connectivity across every square foot of their property — from common areas to each resident’s private balcony and every step in between.

As a result, developers have started offering more comprehensive connectivity solutions for residents, managing internet and cell services across common areas and individual units alike, with additional features for their onsite operational staff.

Today’s residents want more space to work remotely, like shared offices, conference rooms, and lounges. They want a connectivity solution that works so well, they won’t even have to think about it when deciding where or how they’ll work each day. In short, if someone is evaluating a place to live and determines they can’t work there, chances are they’ll simply move on to the next option.

Subpar Experiences Have a Ripple Effect

Traditionally, properties will offer a mix of public and private connections, providing complimentary WiFi in common areas and curated subscription options for their private dwellings. While this approach technically offers residents access to the internet, it leads to massive problems when networks get overloaded with too many routers or simultaneous users.

Imagine a high-rise apartment in New York City. Even though the landlord allows each resident to establish their own dedicated WiFi network, every network in the building shares a finite amount of shared unlicensed spectrum. So, even if the first few residents to move in enjoy an uninterrupted connection, they and their new neighbors are in for a rude awakening as each floor fills up with more residents and routers.

While overcrowded networks cause frustrating interruptions and delays for residents — like dropped Zoom calls, buffering videos, or even periodic WiFi blackouts — their ill effects also expand to property owners and managers.

Residents don’t simply send an angry email to their landlord or begrudgingly relocate to the nearest coffee shop. They’re also likely to take to the internet to share their experience with others. Ninety-three percent of consumers use online reviews to inform their purchasing decisions, which means landlords simply can’t afford to have their residents’ complaints memorialized on Yelp or Google.

WiFi Doesn’t Always Fit the Bill

Some landlords may imagine their only option is to invest in seemingly “better” or more powerful WiFi features and capabilities. In fact, many investors, property managers, and residents alike believe adding more WiFi can fix virtually any connectivity concern.

However, the reality is that WiFi-based solutions reach their maximum potential pretty quickly. What’s more, unlike cellular networks, WiFi is relatively easy to hack. Even WiFi 6 has limitations and can fall victim to network interference or critical security concerns.

So while WiFi has its relevant uses, it’s not a catch-all solution for online access, and it’s certainly not built to support multifamily connectivity at scale.

So what’s the answer to residential real estate’s connectivity challenges?

Distributed Antenna Systems (DAS) give property developers peace of mind and deliver an unparalleled experience to residents, property staff, and visitors alike. These secure, private network implementations provide continuous cellular coverage so residents can access the internet through a 4G LTE/5G connection.

Plus, DAS is designed to evolve like no other connectivity solution. As the only platform that delivers scalable 4G and 5G reception, DAS is primed to keep up with consumer needs now and as new technology rolls out across the globe.

And when they adopt DAS through a venue-led model, building stakeholders get the final say in implementation and the option to spread build and maintenance costs out over time.

Interested in learning more about the differences between DAS vs. WiFi?

Download the infographic The Future of Wireless Connectivity: See How DAS and WiFi Compare to take a side-by-side look at essential capabilities, user experience and more.


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