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The Cost of Poor Internet Service in Student Housing

Redwood Campus Apartments is an 11-story high-rise student apartment complex with more than 300 units, located in Baltimore, MD. The property’s internet service was a managed WiFi system designed and installed by an IT company as a side project for the property owner.

Shortly after installation, Redwood tenants began to complain of poor WiFi coverage, latency, and internet signal dropping on all floors. The tenants’ critical public reviews were staining Redwood’s image, creating concern among property management that future rentals would be negatively impacted.

The property owner reached out to the Dojo Networks® team and asked for an engineering review and recommendation to fix the plethora of reported internet service problems.

The Problem: Good Equipment, Bad WiFi Network Design

Dojo Networks began the troubleshooting process with a thorough property-wide engineering survey and Ekahau Heat Mapping exercise. The current system was WiFi-only, meaning that there were no in-unit Ethernet ports to provide hardwired internet access. Therefore, it was critical to have a WiFi system that performed at a high level. Based on the results of their research, the Dojo Networks team recommended a remediation plan to stabilize the network and improve coverage.

Property management staff also shared that the current service did not include 24x7 customer support. Much of the support fell on the property management staff, and they lacked the time and expertise to support tenants with internet issues. Staff concerns highlighted that poor internet service has a negative impact not only on resident satisfaction and turnover rates, but also employee stress and happiness.

After completing the engineering survey and heat mapping, DojoNetworks was able to identify WiFi service dead spots on each of the housing complex’s eleven floors. The analysis showed that the existing internet hardware was all good quality, but the configuration and location of the access points contributed to poor coverage.

Dojo Networks’ Solution: Network Re-Design Plan

The DojoNetworks solution was to implement a re-designed internal network with an access point for every two tenant units and one in each of the common areas. The improved WiFi service coverage provides a minimum 100 x 100 Mbps solution for all tenants.   

The property-wide upgrade was completed over three phases:


Phase 1

All equipment was re-configured and set up for 24-hour monitoring and measurements, along with enhanced network security. DojoNetworks monitors every WiFi network device in the building and provides around-to-clock support for all tenants, relieving the property management team of the responsibility


Phase 2

DojoNetworks added 25 new access points and moved 40 access points from the hallways into tenant apartments. After the new equipment and network configuration were in place, the DojoNetworks team monitored the property-wide WiFi bubble and adjusted the network as needed over a two-week period.


Phase 3

DojoNetworks completed a follow-up series of surveys and heat mapping to measure the improvement from the original network, identifying and resolving any remaining spots where WiFi coverage failed to meet their expectations for high quality.

Redwood Heat Map

Throughout the three-phase WiFi rescue project, DojoNetworks maintained direct communication with property management staff and the tenants. All parties were briefed on the upgrade plan and its progress, and post-project surveys were conducted to identify and resolve any remaining internet service issues.

Note—Because the building was constructed without Ethernet wiring and in-unit Ethernet ports, online gaming ability is not well supported. Developers should consider tenants’ need for hardwired internet access for gaming and other high-bandwidth applications. Dojo Networks recommends the installation of at least one Ethernet port per unit.

“We have been extremely pleased with the service and support from DojoNetworks. The transition over was incredibly smooth and our current residents noticed an improvement right away. Dojo Support is extremely responsive, ensuring any issues our residents do face are handled right away. It has been a great experience working with DojoNetworks.” - Meghan Adams, On-Site Property Manager


The Results: Reduced Tenant Turnover and Positive Reviews

Following the successful network upgrade, apartment complex residents were onboarded quickly and easily through DojoNetworks’ holistic customer management system, Elemento™.

Elemento is a multifaceted, single-screen network and customer support system that enables DojoNetworks to auto-configure new properties in record time. The system monitors WiFi performance and bandwidth use down to the individual tenant level. Residents can easily submit and track service tickets, monitor their own devices and usage, even upgrade their plans and pay their bills.

Through Elemento’s property management system interface, WiFi network access credentials and initial passwords can be emailed or texted automatically to new tenants several days before they plan to move into Redwood. Technical support is also managed by the DojoNetworks team. Tenants can call, text, or email support requests 24x7, and DojoNetworks—driven by its commitment to fanatical resident support—responds, lifting the WiFi support burden off the property management staff’s shoulders.

Prior to the WiFi network rescue, Redwood’s staff received internet service calls from 10% or more of property residents each month. Post-rescue, the trouble call rate has dropped to less than 1% per year. The new network will greatly improve tenant reviews and Redwood’s reliable, high-speed, and property-wide internet service is now a differentiator, giving the complex a competitive advantage over other properties in the market.

Interested in your own WiFi rescue project for your property? Let’s talk.

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