Internet and Wi-Fi service has firmly established itself among the essential amenities in rental housing, and today’s renters heavily weigh Wi-Fi speed and reliability when deciding where to live. Connectivity is king, and it is incumbent on rental housing operators to provide a superior product.

Research has shown that renters’ Wi-Fi needs and expectations aren’t met by retail or bulk services. A recent Parks Associates study, conducted in collaboration with SmartRent, reported that renters are seeking a Wi-Fi solution that eliminates the range limitations posed by traditional retail or community-negotiated bulk services. The report, “Community WiFi: A Tactical Guide for the Multifamily Market,” revealed that only 1% of renters have the ability to roam their apartment community without Wi-Fi disruption, while 79% would be interested in seamless connectivity.

The demand for a dynamic Wi-Fi solution escalated in recent years due to the work-from-home and remote education trends. A secure Wi-Fi connection is essential, if not contractually required, for remote employment models. But the study showed the actual demand is multifaceted. Renters reported connecting an average of seven or more devices to their Wi-Fi service and using that internet connectivity an average of 60 hours per week. Whether it’s streaming entertainment, social media, convenience services, or Wi-Fi calling, renters are living and managing their daily lives online and require reliable internet connectivity.

Rental housing operators have an opportunity to distinguish themselves and create a competitive advantage through Community WiFi, which goes beyond the capabilities of retail, bulk, and even managed Wi-Fi networks. Community WiFi establishes the ability to roam the entire property with a seamless, uninterrupted secure individual Wi-Fi connection, while also providing the platform to support fully connected communities. Smart-home devices and other property technologies can be linked via Community WiFi to create an internal IoT for operational efficiencies and optimized property performance.

Community WiFi empowers operators to grow their tech infrastructure—connecting technologies like access control, smart home solutions, and maintenance workflow platforms—to enhance utility management and risk mitigation efforts.

Additionally, the implementation of Community WiFi is often accompanied by cost savings for residents and ancillary revenue for operators. Retail Wi-Fi costs are exorbitant for renters, and the margins for pass-through Community WiFi fees generate greater profits than retail or bulk Wi-Fi agreements. According to the report data, 48% of renters at market-rate communities would be willing to pay $79.99 for a gigabit Wi-Fi service.

Community WiFi meets an essential renter need and does so while exceeding expectations and driving property performance on multiple fronts. Operators can attract and retain residents, develop more productive teams and satisfied associates, and build truly connected communities, all through Community WiFi. The research clearly demonstrates the demand for a dynamic Wi-Fi solution, and, with Community WiFi, operators have an opportunity to deliver.

Learn more about renter demand and ancillary opportunities associated with Community WiFi.