Can fiber networks and 5G come together?

By Quantum Fiber
Top down view of a multifamily unit.

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We all seem to have that unquenchable thirst for technology and a desire to advance our communities and our lives. But for multifamily developers and owners today, the need for technology solutions comes with questions. Specifically, what technology infrastructure can solve a property’s needs for today and over the long term? And how can that technology improve the bottom line?

Residents expect robust and reliable internet connectivity now more than ever. In many cases, careers and virtual educations are on the line. Plus, there’s an expectation of fast, continuous WiFi coverage throughout the property.

While high-quality fiber-optic internet solves one part of that equation, new wireless options—including 5G—jockey for position to fulfill the other part. The good news for multifamily developers and owners is that end-to-end fiber and WiFi service can be delivered by one provider. Plus, custom managed WiFi solutions have many advantages over 5G.

Connectivity craving

Residential developers and owners clearly understand the desire of today’s residents for better, stronger, and faster internet. They know future residents will see available cutting-edge technology as an attraction.

Since at least 2018, resident surveys have shown that high-quality broadband is the top amenity desired by apartment and condominium dwellers. But, if we’re truth-telling, more connected smart and Internet of Things (IoT) devices mean simple internet connectivity must go further and perform better. Today, TVs, doorbell cameras, and various appliances are intelligent and connected. They also compete for bandwidth next to residents’ laptops, phones, tablets, and game consoles. The increased demand requires more robust wireless networks for communities—whether inside buildings or spanning an entire property (extending to the pool, workout rooms, or common spaces). Networks that are expandable and can keep pace with the needs of residents are essential.

Network enhancement with 5G

For now, at least, 5G infrastructure hasn’t fully evolved. While its short-range signal capabilities may make 5G seem ideal as a private wireless solution, the development of these systems is still very much a work in progress. That said, today’s networks are being designed to work as part of any future 5G solution.

Inevitably, technologies will change and morph over the next decade. Property owners who’ve already invested in fiber-optic internet are poised to meet that exponential increase in bandwidth use. Fiber has a much higher capacity than any other medium when it comes to transferring data. When you add its consistently high speeds and reliability, fiber can stay in step with the evolving needs of multifamily communities for decades. To put it another way, fiber internet is “future-ready.”

The key takeaway is that while 5G and fiber broadband can be complementary, they may not be the best combination for superior property-wide internet and WiFi. Fiber to the home and custom WiFi coverage can address the concern for dead-zones, disruptions, and the time needed for 5G to continue to evolve.

Fiber as the backbone

Fiber technician works on the infrastructure.

The strength of any community’s connectivity depends on its wired broadband network. Solid, reliable fiber internet, like Quantum Fiber, is a ready solution for multifamily owners who now say residents working from home are one of their most significant tech considerations. Because fiber is versatile, durable, and future-ready, it is best-suited to handle the current demands of remote working and learning. Those same qualities make fiber an internet connection for the long haul. Fiber can grow and adapt as future technologies come online—and as residents and owners demand more from it in the future.

Fiber satisfaction

According to research by RVA LLC for the Fiber Broadband Association, residents with fiber internet feel a greater sense of contentment with their property in general. They are less likely to turn over frequently, and they see a greater value in their home. Owners marketing their fiber internet offerings can benefit from better residency, potentially higher rent, and increased property values.

It’s important to remember that so far, in residential complexes, indoor 5G networks as a fiber internet enhancement are still in their infancy. For the time being at least, the unknowns outweigh the knowns.

Residents know what they want

It doesn’t matter if they’re uploading videos on social media, checking work emails, or looking up take-out menus. The more connected devices a resident owns and uses, the more speed they’ll want. Fiber-optic internet can allow multifamily communities to meet and possibly exceed resident demand with fast, symmetrical upload and download speeds and exceptional reliability. In this way, the user benefits of fiber can turn a community’s internet into an asset—increasing property value. Multifamily complexes with advanced technology have a better chance of standing out from their competition and attracting and retaining more residents who prioritize high quality internet connectivity.

Multifamily unit resident uses her laptop outside of the property.

Prospective residents already lean toward multifamily communities that advertise high-speed broadband and strong, property-wide wireless networks. If a resident feels they can’t effectively use their devices at a particular property, they’ll keep looking for a home that meets those tech needs.

Coming up: our final installment explores the emergence of 5G as a “last mile” technology and its potential shortcomings.

Read the entire “5G Limits for Multifamily Properties” series:

Part 1: What does 5G mean for multifamily properties?
Part 3: 5G: Not going the last mile in multifamily communities.

Quantum Fiber® Connected Communities provides customized fiber solutions for apartments and communities.

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Content Disclaimer - All content is for informational purposes only, may require user’s additional research, and is provided “as is” without any warranty, condition of any kind (express or implied), or guarantee of outcome or results. Use of this content is at user’s own risk. All third-party company and product or service names referenced in this article are for identification purposes only and do not imply endorsement or affiliation with Quantum Fiber. If Quantum Fiber products and offerings are referenced in the content, they are accurate as of the date of issue. Quantum Fiber services are not available everywhere. Quantum Fiber service usually means 100% fiber-optic network to your location but, in limited circumstances, Quantum Fiber may need to deploy alternative technologies coupled with a non-fiber connection from a certain point (usually the curb) to your location in order to provide the advertised download speeds. ©2023 Q Fiber, LLC. All Rights Reserved. Quantum, Quantum Fiber and Quantum Fiber Internet are trademarks of Quantum Wireless LLC and used under license to Q Fiber, LLC.

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