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January 13, 2020

Rental Wireless Networks: Strengthening the Connection

Having a good wireless network that covers all parts of your home is critical if you have a “smart” home. This can entail having smart locks, Internet-connected thermostats like Nest, or security cameras that are wireless, like Ring or Netgear Arlo.

Keeping these products working revolves around having strong rental wireless networks. How do you set this up and troubleshoot to make your connection stronger?

rental wireless networks

Many of the bad reviews I’ve seen on good products are complaints that the devices do not operate as promised. I believe that many of these bad experiences are related to bad or poor wireless signals in rental wireless networks.

Poor wireless signals can cause many different issues, but some of the specific problems I’ve seen are as follows:

  1. Inconsistent Performance – Your smart devices may not respond as quickly as they should or not operate at all. This could relate to a smart lock opening at the incorrect time or a garage door not opening when needed. If it is a smart device product that most customers have a good experience with, it is likely that your device does not have a strong enough connection to your wireless network.
  2. Battery Drain – Poor wireless signals in your property means that these devices will have to work harder to connect to the wireless network. This often means that their batteries will drain faster and you’ll be replacing them more frequently.

How To Set Up Your Rental Wireless Networks

  1. Hard-Wired Access Points – To be able to use this option, you need to have Ethernet drops around your home at the time of your property’s construction. It is not cost-effective at all to try to do this after construction in terms of putting wiring in your property’s walls and ceilings. There are ways you can send Ethernet signals over power lines, but this is not the same concept as having Ethernet drops.

    If you have these Ethernet drops, you can look into a potential solution with the Ubiquiti Networks access points. If you go with this approach, I would recommend getting the switch that is capable of POE (power over Ethernet). This allows these access points to be powered up directly without having to have a separate power connection. This provides a cleaner installation process. You’ll also need a few of these access points depending on the size of your property.

    This option is great and provides enterprise-grade features like guest networks, remote accessibility and management, and much more. This can provide a solid wireless network throughout your property. It is, however, pricey and does take a substantial level of network knowledge to set things up.
  2. Mesh Network – If you don’t want to deal with the above option, setting up a Mesh network is an excellent alternative. Companies like eero have done an incredible job of putting together a solution that is very easy to set up and maintain. You can get a kit that has the property essentials to set up a solid wireless network.

While I like option 1 from a tech perspective, I recommend option 2 for the majority of property owners. The eero system is one such mesh network solution that our company is integrating into our property management system (Jervis Systems) for automation development. I personally like these systems because they provide great instructions through their mobile app to walk you through setting up the base station and their beacons. You can also set up guest networks easily, and add cloud-based security through their subscription services.

For whichever option you use to improve your wireless network strength, I highly recommend getting adequate access points or mesh network beacons. These are one-time expenses that can mean the major difference between a compromised “smart” system, and a reliable system with satisfied guests.

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