A Q&A with Boingo SVP Michael Zeto about the newest generation of Wi-Fi technology
Fast, reliable Wi-Fi is key to enabling the digital lifestyles of today’s multifamily residents, but making sense of technology advancements can be tricky and confusing.
Wi-Fi 6—the latest generation of Wi-Fi—should be on the radar of all multifamily property owners and developers as it is key for powering connectivity in the 5G era. The advanced network is designed to provide a significant boost in Wi-Fi speed, performance, reliability and security at apartment communities and other high-density environments like retail and commercial real estate buildings.
We asked Michael Zeto, Senior Vice President, Global Strategy and Emerging Businesses at Boingo, for an overview of Wi-Fi 6 and how the technology benefits multifamily properties. Boingo was one of the first companies to commercially deploy Wi-Fi 6 technology and is working with property owners throughout the U.S. to leverage its potential.
BD+C: Let’s start with the basics of Wi-Fi 6. What are the key features of the technology?
Zeto: Wi-Fi 6 delivers much faster speeds and better performance than previous generations of Wi-Fi technology. Wi-Fi 6 also increases a property’s overall capacity, reduces latency, and supports high traffic loads that can result from many devices in the same unit—devices like connected door locks, thermostats, voice assistants, laptops, phones and tablets.
Other advantages include enhanced privacy with a feature called “WPA3,” representing the first major Wi-Fi security upgrade in over 15 years.
BD+C: How will residents and properties benefit from Wi-Fi 6?
Zeto: The number of connected devices on a multifamily property are growing at a record pace as communities prioritize smart home strategies. Wi-Fi 6 is the key ingredient for managing this demand as its features are specifically designed to handle more and more devices on a network, seamlessly and securely—all while providing faster speeds. The technology is built to power IoT use cases of today—connected locks, security cameras, thermostats—with the flexibility to scale for future 5G experiences, from robotics to connected vehicles.
To realize the potential of Wi-Fi 6, a managed Wi-Fi network is necessary. The model streamlines management of connected amenities and IoT devices, while supporting immersive digital experiences for residents—virtual learning, remote careers, mobile gaming, Augmented Reality and Virtual Reality (AR/VR), and streaming ultra-high-definition entertainment.
BD+C: How does Wi-Fi 6 compare to 5G?
Zeto: Wi-Fi 6 and 5G are built from the same foundation—to meet skyrocketing demand for connectivity everywhere—so they’re both designed to support new applications and connect more users and devices. When I talk with property owners, I explain that Wi-Fi 6 is ideal for multifamily community networks, while 5G is great for outdoor environments and public venues like airports, stadiums, and parks.
When properties rely on a managed Wi-Fi network, they can deliver a seamless transition between 5G and Wi-Fi 6 for their residents and staff, facilitating a consistent online experience without interruptions.
BD+C: What’s Wi-Fi 6E?
Zeto: The FCC (Federal Communications Commission) recently announced it will open the 6 GHz frequency band for Wi-Fi use, adding additional airwaves to the Wi-Fi toolbox. Wi-Fi 6E is the industry name for Wi-Fi devices that operate in this 6 GHz band. It’s an exciting step forward for multifamily connectivity as Wi-Fi 6E provides a new high-speed lane that offers faster, more reliable connections with less interference from older generation devices.
Early trials of Wi-Fi 6E have achieved speeds of two gigabits per second (Gbps) and consistent two-millisecond low latency connections—a major step up from current Wi-Fi technology.
BD+C: Are property owners adopting Wi-Fi 6 for their multifamily communities?
Zeto: Absolutely. Boingo is currently working with several leading property owners and managers to deploy Wi-Fi 6 and Wi-Fi 6E. With our managed Wi-Fi 6 networks, owners can customize the connected experience their community needs, implement smart home strategies with IoT and track performance in real-time with powerful analytic tools. Because our networks are scalable, we’re able to continually upgrade networks based on a property’s evolving needs – from Wi-Fi 4 to Wi-Fi 5 to Wi-Fi 6 to whatever comes next. Ensuring great connectivity is what we do and our customers continue to rely on Boingo because awesome Wi-Fi directly correlates to resident satisfaction, which leads to longer leases and contributes to a gold-star property reputation.