WiFi for Apartment Complexes

Want to attract new residents? Add WiFi to your apartment complex. We’re answering your questions about multi-dwelling unit WiFi, how to get it and what its benefits are.

Introduction: WiFi for Apartment Complexes

It seems like more and more amenities are being added to residents’ “must-have” lists. Pools, covered parking, dog parks and gyms were just the starting point. Now, to stay competitive, you need to start thinking of what your residents want for convenience and their well-being. That’s why WiFi is a must-have for your apartment complex.

Free WiFi is something we’re used to seeing at coffee shops, airports and hotels. But you can offer it at your apartment complex too. Not only will your residents and visitors be able to connect to the internet on all their devices, but you’ll also be able to charge more rent for the convenience of this service, potentially opening up an additional stream of revenue for your property.

worm's eye photo of apartment building balconies in a city

Multi-Dwelling Units & WiFi

A multi-dwelling unit (MDU) is an apartment complex or any structure with multiple, separate housing units. It can sometimes include a commercial building with multiple offices in it, especially if they’re in a mixed-use property. It’s sometimes also referred to as a “multifamily property.”

Property management companies or landlords may own the MDU property. What’s important to note is that a hotel is actually not considered a multifamily or multi-dwelling unit. Hospitals aren’t considered multi-dwelling properties either.

Other Examples of Multi-Dwelling Properties

view of a street of condo units

Condominiums

Condominium complexes, whether they’re owned or rented out by the owner, are multifamily buildings.

elder care facility and retirement home on a sunny day

Housing Facilities

This kind of multi-dwelling property can include long-term elder care facilities, specialized rehabilitation centers or retirement homes.

large brick dorm building on a college campus

Dormitories

Campus dormitories for colleges or even boarding schools can be considered multi-dwelling properties.

What Is MDU WiFi?

MDU WiFi is “multi-dwelling unit” WiFi. Nowadays, residents are usually responsible for providing their own cable, phone or internet services. It can be a slow process and a headache on moving day. For many residents who want internet access upon move-in, not only do they have to move everything into their apartment, they also have to wait for a technician on top of everything else going on with movers and other setup procedures. Providing WiFi for your residents or tenants can be more than a convenience—it can actually be a great long-term strategy for you as the landlord or owner.

MDU WiFi turns your entire apartment complex into a WiFi hotspot, with access in individual units and in common areas like the lobby or pool. WiFi doesn’t just have to be for accessing the internet, either. It can be used for household utilities and even security, making it a vital addition to your property’s amenities.

With the rise of smart technology, connected appliances are just the tip of the iceberg for WiFi. Installing WiFi at your apartment complex can open up new revenue streams, give your residents what they want and set you apart from your competition.

The 3 Reasons to Install WiFi for Your Residents

Learn exactly why you should install WiFi for your apartment complex's residents in our free downloadable guide.

How MDU WiFi Works

MDU WiFi is a lot like WiFi for home, but on a much larger scale. In principle, it’s very similar. You connect your device to the network and that in turn connects you to the internet. But besides just getting online, WiFi can be used for household utilities, security cameras and smart appliances.

With MDU internet, multiple people can join the network. If you’ve stayed at a hotel and used their WiFi network, then your experience would be quite similar if you used MDU internet at an apartment complex. While it might sound complex, MDU WiFi networks are pretty straightforward.

The Networks and Cabling

yellow cables in a structured cabling system for MDU WiFiMDU WiFi can have two networks: one for guests and one for your staff. These networks work with access points in common areas and individual units so your residents can access the internet and connect their devices.

To keep each unit’s devices separate and secure, your network might use something called a “virtual local area network” or VLAN. VLANs make it so your computer can “talk” to your WiFi-enabled printer, but no one else can. It’s a great way to keep your residents’ devices secure on the network.

Outside of the apartment unit, there will be cabling and a network switch that tie everything together. If you have more than one building in your apartment complex, you’ll need more cabling. This cabling is specialized and made for telecommunications and internet access.

Getting to the Worldwide Web

So where does all that cabling go? It goes to a gateway in an enclosure that has a network switch, router and a firewall. You can think of this as like a hub or station, where your WiFi heads out to the internet and data comes in.

rack cabinet with MDU WiFi switches and routersOne thing to remember with MDU WiFi is that off-the-shelf equipment isn’t ideal for the demands your residents will have. Your network will need to handle potentially thousands of downloads, streaming video, gaming, VoIP and more. MDU internet is like home internet on a larger scale, but it puts you in control as the internet service provider for your apartment complex.

MDU Internet and Its Capabilities

If you’ve ever used WiFi at a hotel or on a larger campus, then you already have some idea of what MDU internet is capable of. At an apartment complex, MDU WiFi can be accessed in every unit as well as common areas like the pool and in the lobby. Staff might use a separate, password-protected WiFi network for work purposes. In that case, the network won’t be the same as the network your residents and their guests use.

woman using wifi on her phoneMDU internet has the same download capabilities and speeds as any other internet service. The difference is in who’s providing that access. Residents and visitors can access the internet, download files, stream movies and use data on their mobile devices just as easily with MDU internet as they could with home WiFi.

Depending on the size of your apartment complex, future needs and how many residents you have using your internet, your network will need to be able to accommodate high bandwidth use. That’s one reason it’s important you work with a reputable service provider when you install the cabling and set up the right equipment for your WiFi.

How to Set Up WiFi in an Apartment

To set up MDU WiFi at your apartment complex, you’ll need equipment, a managed WiFi provider and support for your network.

ISPs aren’t the only ones who can provide your residents with the answer to all their streaming needs. MDU WiFi puts you in the driver’s seat, in a way. Residents will be happy to avoid the hassle of dealing with third-party ISPs just to get access to the internet. Getting started and installing WiFi can be easy if you know what you need and what to expect.

Determine Your Needs

Before you do anything, you’ll need to determine where you’ll be setting up WiFi. Are you only setting it up in the individual units, or will it be available in common areas as well? Will your employees need to be able to use the network as well for work? Answering these questions can determine how much bandwidth your network will need.

You want to support your tenants’ multiple devices. Smartphones, laptops, computers, TVs and even appliances can all use the internet. If you don’t have the bandwidth to support all those devices, your residents might experience poor connections or slow download speeds. No one likes waiting for a video to buffer.

Find the Right Provider

white modem with wiring plugged in

Once you’ve determined where you want to add your WiFi, you need to find a provider that can both install and help run your new network. A WiFi network that spans your entire apartment complex will need multiple access ports, so there’s some heavy lifting involved for putting the infrastructure in place.

Some larger ISPs can provide you with internet for your apartment complex as a package. But you might not get the best customer service or support. A smaller, more local provider can give you the one-to-one attention and support you need to get your new network installed.

Besides setting up the cabling that will support this new WiFi, your provider will be able to support you with the equipment you’ll need to run your network. If you ever need to expand your network, or add to it, an MDU technical services provider can help. Once the installation is complete, your residents can enjoy internet access across your property on any of their devices.

Why You Should Set Up Internet for Your Apartment Building

While there are some technical and logistical factors you’ll need to consider when setting up internet for your apartment complex, it’s still a worthwhile investment. Providing internet access in every unit and across your apartment complex presents a unique opportunity for you as owner or landlord.

Installing WiFi for apartment complexes is an easy way to upgrade your entire property. Unlike major construction projects, MDU internet installation involves a few specialists and a few days of work. It’s much easier and faster to install this amenity, plus you know your residents will want to use it.

Bring in More Revenue

Offering amenities means you can charge a premium for them. But unlike a pool, gym or sport court, WiFi is something every resident will use on a daily basis. You’ll be providing value all day, every day. Installing WiFi for apartments means you can use this amenity to charge more for rent.

Residents want technology more than in-unit laundry, so future-proofing your complex or property goes beyond just keeping up with the latest lifestyle trends. You can charge higher rent while providing real value to your residents. Instead of letting the ISP collect on your residents’ internet access, you can.

Differentiate Yourself

When potential new residents tour your complex or property, they’re keeping a mental list of everything you offer. Set yourself apart from similarly priced competitors with an amenity that residents actually want.

luxury apartment building with nice landscaping in a cityContemporary luxury apartments can boast some impressive amenities besides rooftop pools and concierge service. Having amenities that improve your residents’ everyday quality of life goes a long way.

Residents want technology in their potential new home, and adding in a WiFi network will allow you to bring in other tech-y wonders like smart thermostats, connected appliances and WiFi-enabled doorbells. Small touches like these can really add up and just might make you the hottest place to live in your area.

Boost Lease Retention

When it comes to lease renewals, you know better than anyone that long-term tenants are your golden ticket. They’re reliable and a stable source of income for property owners and landlords. So while keeping units occupied should be a priority, keeping residents happy is also a must.

If your residents are willing to pay for premium amenities, expanding and strategically upgrading your entire complex can demonstrate value in renewing a lease. Even if rent rises, tenants are still willing to renew leases. Adding on new amenities and providing WiFi can help convince residents that it’s worth it to pay a premium on monthly rent.

Scalability

Another benefit of installing MDU WiFi is its scalability. The infrastructure itself is built to accommodate the entire complex without having to install new cabling from room to room in apartment units. Wireless internet eliminates that need completely.

If you ever need to expand your network or change your ISP, the infrastructure can support it. If you work with a managed services provider, they’ll have the resources available to troubleshoot and solve any problems your residents might have with their internet.

Benefits of MDU WiFi for Residents

Providing your residents with internet isn’t just a way for them to stream whatever they want, wherever they want. It’s also a way to diversify your amenities and attract long-term revenue for your property. Instead of letting giant ISPs charge your residents and miss out on that potential income, you can provide it for them instead.

Secure Connections

Installing internet in apartments gives you and your residents a reliable and secure connection. When you work with a trusted provider, your residents’ data will be safe and secure.

Virtual local area networks (VLANs) ensure that devices that connect to the network stay secure and keep them from communicating with each other. At the same time, devices like wireless printers and anything else a resident owns can share a VLAN. This enables the devices to securely communicate with each other if they need to.

Convenience

man streaming netflix on a TV using MDU WiFiWhen you’re the one providing WiFi and internet access to your residents, it’s one less thing for them to worry about on moving day. When you roll in internet access to their rent, it’s also a more predictable month-to-month cost. Cable companies are notorious for their price increases, so giving your residents a stable, predictable expense is a nice bonus.

Besides just a predictable bill, including internet for apartments enables your residents to enjoy access to streaming, fast downloads and more, no matter where they are in your complex.

Better Service and Support

Cable companies aren’t exactly known for their stellar customer service, and it shows in customer satisfaction rates. Many consumers are cutting the cable cord for a better experience on streaming platforms. Instead of dealing with long waits on hold, you can offer your residents the alternative of just calling the front office whenever there’s an issue with their internet.

Having the convenience of a nearby fix or a being able to quickly find a person to talk to can do wonders and keep residents happy if things ever go awry with their connection. If you work with a reliable managed services provider for troubleshooting internet connectivity issues, getting your residents back to streaming will be much less painful.

Frequently Asked Questions

WiFi for apartment complexes represents a unique opportunity for you as a landlord or property owner and to provide as a convenience for your residents. Given how important technological upgrades are for renters, having free WiFi will give you an edge over similarly-priced complexes in the area.

What’s the cost for WiFi for my apartment complex?

The total cost to install MDU WiFi will depend on how many units your complex has and if you need additional support.

What kind of specialists would know how to install internet in apartments?

An IT services company would be able to set up the infrastructure for your MDU WiFi system and be able to remotely manage it for you.

How can I get WiFi in my apartment without cable?

When you install WiFi at your apartment complex, your residents should be able to connect to the internet because the entire property is a WiFi hotspot.

How do I connect everything to the internet?

You can work with a local internet service provider (ISP) to connect your property and access the internet.

What should I do if my residents are having internet problems?

If your residents can’t connect to the internet or their WiFi is going out, this is when working with a managed service provider can help. They’ll have the support you need to troubleshoot internet problems.

Can I charge my residents a fee for internet access, or just roll it into rent?

WiFi in the apartment itself can be itemized as a separate service or rolled into rent to make it one charge. It depends on how you bill your residents.

Why is MDU internet convenient for residents?

Dealing with long hold times, installation appointments and technical difficulties can seriously complicate a moving day. Already having internet access in the unit means they don’t have to set anything up.

Is MDU internet the same as what I would have at home?

It’s still the same access to the internet, but MDU internet has more equipment and cabling involved. It has to provide internet access to an entire building, not just a home.

Can I still get MDU WiFi if my complex has multiple buildings?

Yes! Even if you have more than one building, you can still hook up all your units to the internet. It will, however, require cabling to run from building to building.

What to Know About MDU Technical Services

MDU technical services companies can help you install WiFi at your apartment complex. These companies can install fiber optic cabling and set up your network throughout your entire property. These companies may also offer support and monitoring services for your MDU WiFi and network.

The Equipment You'll Need

yellow network cables with a switch

If you’ve had to set up fiber optic internet at your house, you may have had a technician run cabling through your garage or on the side of your house to allow you to hook up your router and modem. When it comes to wiring apartment buildings, a technician will need to assess the best way to install the WiFi network.

An MDU internet setup may include other equipment like:

  • Ethernet cables
  • Access points for the units
  • Optical network terminals (ONTs)
  • Wall mount enclosures or boxes for cables

All of this equipment works to give your apartment complex a strong connection and fast download speeds. What kind of equipment your technician uses may depend on your situation. For instance, you may want to run Ethernet cables into each individual unit. How the installation proceeds will depend on what the technician thinks would be most effective for your property.

What to Expect When You Install MDU Internet

Before the service provider starts the installation process, they need to survey the property. The property itself will need to have multiple access ports available. If you have multiple buildings, the service provider will need to connect each building.

Hooking up internet to an entire complex is a bit different than setting it up at your own home. The service provider will need to assess the premises and clear out any old wiring or cabling that might be present. The technicians will also have to install a new cabling system for your WiFi. This process can include drilling and work within your building’s walls in order to add the cabling you need.

Beyond cabling, you’ll also need equipment inside the building or buildings to get those high speeds your residents want. Distribution boxes and enclosures are designed to be as plug-and-play as possible for easy installation and security to make sure no unauthorized use occurs. Your specialists will also need to set up the “end point” in each unit so your residents can access the internet in their apartment.

Managed Services Providers for MDU Internet

woman sitting on bed drinking coffee and browsing the internet from her apartmentOnce you have your WiFi set up for your apartment complex, the next question becomes who will manage your network. Trying to manage your new network on your own might sound like a good idea at first, but it’s a full-time job in itself. If you don’t have time to monitor the network and maintain it, then your residents might have poor connectivity and slow download times.

A managed WiFi service provider will monitor your network in case of technical issues and offer any support you might need. They can also offer guidance if any part of your network needs an upgrade. Instead of trying to manage everything yourself, a managed WiFi services provider will have the technical expertise and experience to provide remote or on-site guidance when you need it.

What to Look For in a Managed Services Provider

If you opt to work with a managed services provider for your new WiFi network, it’s important to know what to look for in your new vendor. Do you want an on-site technician or a remote support team? Having an idea of what you need for your network and how much support you’ll want can help you decide on the right managed services provider. Your WiFi network will be running 24/7, so it only makes sense your network’s support is available 24/7 as well.

Fast Response Times

professional man taking a phone call outsideNo one likes being stuck on hold, but when you’re facing a serious issue with your WiFi, waiting isn’t always an option. Downtime can be a serious problem if your residents depend on your WiFi network for everyday use, or even for work. That makes fast response time for even non-critical issues important.

If your network goes down, your managed services provider will need to react quickly. Better yet, your provider should be proactively monitoring your network to ensure there’s as little risk for downtime as possible. Potential upgrades, security patches and other critical help will keep your network running like a well-oiled machine.

Reliable Security

Your residents will be relying on your WiFi network to stream, download files and communicate. Protecting their data is obviously an important priority. If you use the WiFi network for your main office and for your staff, it’s also important to protect sensitive data, like Social Security numbers and other financial information.

Your managed services provider should have the capabilities to help protect your network from any data theft or potential issues. Proactive monitoring of potential threats or securing your network is an important service any provider needs to offer you.

Specialized Experience

“Managed services” in IT can cast a pretty wide net. If you need help with your MDU internet, looking for a company that specializes in managed WiFi services will ensure you’re working with an experienced team.

Since MDU internet can extend past apartment complexes to college dormitories and whole communities, you want to work with a services provider that understands your needs. This could mean opting for a local company that’s close by in case of emergency. You also want to make sure they’re able to install a network that fits the size of your property. Some service providers may not have the manpower to work on large complexes with hundreds of units.

Options for Leasing or Buying Equipment

One giant part of your WiFi network is the equipment it uses in order to work. With that comes a choice: do you lease your equipment from your service provider or buy it outright?

internet network switchThere are pros and cons to leasing equipment versus buying it, but knowing if your service provider has the option is important. If you lease your equipment, you could be incurring an extra monthly expense. If you need to upgrade your equipment or replace it, your service provider will be responsible for that.

If you buy your equipment from your service provider, you might see more long-term returns. While it might appear more costly upfront, if you can buy your equipment, you won’t incur that extra cost on a monthly basis. That could lead to bigger savings for you.

With these pros and cons, just having the options to lease or buy your network’s equipment can help you choose what provider you ultimately work with. You’ll be able to more efficiently calculate your costs and know exactly what you’re paying for.

Conclusion

Bringing WiFi to your apartment complex can keep residents happy, offer convenience and open you up to new revenue opportunities. Installing WiFi for your entire property is now a standard feature and something most potential residents are looking for in their home.

Not only will your residents enjoy the amenities they want, but you can also enjoy additional revenue as a result of installing MDU internet because you can charge more for rent. Increased lease retention, lower turnover rates and monthly premiums all come as benefits for you as the landlord or property owner. Plus, if you work with an experienced services provider to install and manage your network, you’ll have access to reliable and fast support.

Request a Free Quote

Get Started with WiFi for Apartments

Enter Your Email to Access the Guide

  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.