So you bought the fastest advertised broadband in the market….but your tenants still can’t watch a movie without it buffering every 5 minutes. We hear you; we know how hard it is to provide good quality internet for your tenants! Most people believe internet quality is equal to the advertised speed but there are several factors that affect the speed and reliability of the service that your tenants receive to their devices. So today we are going to try to explain how internet quality is affected and what you should be considering in order to provide high-quality broadband for your tenants. Relax; we’re not going to get all technical so there is no need to hyperventilate.
The broadband speed normally advertised by Internet Service Providers (ISPs) ranges from 17 Mbps to over 100 Mbps. So if you buy this is that the speed you’ll receive on your device? The answer is sadly no because if you look closely the advertisement it says “up to” which means that the actual speed/consistency of the speed you receive will probably be lower or variable. This is significantly impacted by the location of your property. If that was not bad enough, another contributing factor that will affect your performance is that the speed degrades as it goes from the cabled broadband connection through to the device being used (IPad, laptop, Smartphone) over Wi-Fi. Let’s face it; in this day and age Wi-Fi is now the fuel that our devices crave!
Wi-Fi signal and speed:
Once the broadband speed has finally reached your router it will broadcast the Wi-Fi signal to your devices. The speed you get on your device will depend on several factors, but the most important one is Wi-Fi signal strength. The strength of your Wi-Fi signal is usually correlated directly to your Wi-Fi speed. A strong and stable Wi-Fi signal will mean that more bandwidth (speed) will be distributed to the devices connecting to the network. But as you may know, this is heavily linked to where the equipment is located in the property. The further you get away from the Wi-Fi equipment, the weaker the signal will become resulting in a slower and more inconsistent service. The signal can also be reduced by interference from your household appliances, neighbouring Wi-Fi networks, people in your house, Bluetooth devices, and your house’s structure and age.
If this was not bad enough, there are still other factors that can make your connection sluggish or unreliable. Things like old/poor cabling, weather conditions, viruses, etc. can all negatively affect the connection. However, one of the biggest reasons is that one of the tenants is hogging the bandwidth. While one tenant is happily watching the entire six seasons of Game of Thrones the rest are struggling to get their Netflix fix! This is because the speed has to be shared across all connected devices and the number of Wi-Fi devices per tenant in a multiple occupancy house is increasing every year and currently stands at just under 4 per user. A typical service would give priority to the first device connected to the network…imagine advising your tenants that the first tenant connected will have priority over the rest!
So it’s no wonder why your 9th tenant on the top floor of your 9 bedroom property, where all of the tenants have at least 3+ devices, complains all the time that he has the internet speed of a slug!
Therefore the advertised “up to” speeds shouldn’t be the only thing that you should be focusing on when choosing your ISP. You need to focus on:
- Consistency: Choose an ISP that can provide a consistent speed, the less variability of the broadband speed, the better the performance. A strong average speed, particularly at peak times, is how devices will most benefit from the service.
- Quality of the equipment: speed will degrade most on the lowest cost equipment that you get free with a high-street ISP. As devices now are hungry for Wi-Fi, the quality of the Wi-Fi equipment and features of the hardware is very important. Also, a Professional Wi-Fi Installation guarantees that all cabling will be installed properly and the resident cat won’t be chewing your wires.
- Positioning: Where the equipment is located really matters. There is an optimum location for your Wi-Fi equipment and if this is not positioned correctly you could be in a situation where your broadband connection is fine but the service into the rooms is not adequate. Worse still; is a room that has a poor Wi-Fi service worth the same rent as one with excellent Wi-Fi service? This can be an issue within one HMO and could cause friction between tenants. Again, this can be addressed with a Professional Wi-Fi installation where equipment is ‘measured’ into the most effective position.
- Bandwidth Control: If one tenant hogs all of the bandwidth; you will have one happy tenant and several more complaining to you and arguing among themselves. You know what they say; happy tenants …happy life.
- Contention of business connection vs a home connection: If you are up in the air whether to choose a business connection or a home connection for a rental property…bear in mind that a rental property is essentially a business. Businesses are expected to be heavy internet users but nowadays; tenants are just as high demand. They do so many things on the internet at the same time and they have multiple devices connected at once; they consume as much data as a business. This is a particular factor in Multiple-Occupancy properties which essentially are operating with the data usage of a guest house or small hotel with more often higher demand users. So better to get a connection that can handle all that traffic. It’s for this reason that you need to be very careful that there isn’t a usage limit, check the small print because you don’t want any surprises!