Broadband for Multiple Occupancy Properties
So, you bought the fastest advertised broadband for multiple occupancy properties in the market. But, your tenants still can’t watch a movie without constant buffering. As landlords, 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. However, there are several factors that affect the speed and reliability of the service that your tenants receive to their devices.
Understanding Wi-Fi speeds and signal can be complicated. And, understanding how this works is key for providing the best service possible. So, we’re going to discuss exactly what you need to consider in order to provide high-quality broadband for your tenants, without the jargon.
The broadband speed normally advertised by Internet Service Providers (ISPs) ranges from 17 Mbps to over 100 Mbps. So, is that the speed you’ll receive on your device? Sadly, the answer is no because if you look closely the advertisement it says “up to”. This means that the consistency of the speed you actually receive will most likely be lower or variable. The location of your property has a significant impact. If that was not bad enough, another contributing factor that will affect your performance is that the speed degrades as it goes from the cable broadband connection through to the device (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 usually correlates 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. This results in a slower and more inconsistent service. Interference from your household appliances, neighbouring Wi-Fi networks, people in your house, Bluetooth devices, your house’s structure and age can reduce signal.
If this was not bad enough, there are still other factors that can make your connection sluggish or unreliable. Things like old or 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 all eight seasons of Game of Thrones the rest are struggling to get their Netflix fix! This is because all devices with connection share speed. 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!
Factors to consider when choosing broadband for a multiple occupancy property
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:
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. The resident cat won’t be chewing your wires.
Where the equipment is located really matters. There is an optimum location for your Wi-Fi equipment. 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.
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. We expect businesses to be heavy internet users, but these days 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!
For more information about Wi-Fi for landlords click here.