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NorthStar Properties- Norman OK

NorthStar Properties in Oklahoma has 13 properties in the cities of Norman, Edmond, Yukon, and Oklahoma City, with an estimated 2,900 multi-dwelling units in 135 buildings. The properties are all garden style apartments that were built between 1960 and 1970.

The Problem:

The current internet solution at all NorthStar properties was modem service, primarily from Cox Communications, with one property served by AT&T. The service from Cox was residential grade service via an outdated coax infrastructure. The solution was not a monitored managed solution with high reliability.

NorthStar wanted to upgrade their properties to a state-of-the-art network that could provide up to gig service, with the capability to upgrade to multi-gig service to every apartment they operate. They wanted to differentiate their apartments from competitors’ with advanced internet services and provide tenants a significant discount on internet services versus their current Cox Communications fees. 

NorthStar also wanted to have a network that would enable them to deploy asset protection technology, such as security cameras and energy efficiency devices like smart/connected thermostats, door locks, and other technology as it becomes available.  

Dojo Networks Solution: Implement a Reliable, High-Speed, Expandable Managed Network

Dojo Networks implemented a re-designed internal network with an access point for each unit and every common area. The new Managed WiFi+ network is designed to provide a minimum 100x100 Mbps base speeds for all tenants, with the ability for individual residents to upgrade to faster speeds. And it’s now easy for NorthStar to deploy smart apartment technology for their residents. 

Dojo assembled a project plan to rewire every building with a combination of fiber transport between every building and Cat 6a to each apartment’s living room. Initial cabling and fiber work—including underground connections between buildings—was accomplished in the first 120 days. Installation of access points and common areas was completed between April and July, and all properties went live in July and August. Dojo worked with the property management team to coordinate unit access and complete the in-unit work. 

Fiber connections between buildings were done via new underground pathways. Due to the garden style building structure, there was no location for an indoor data closet, so we utilized outdoor NEMA-rated enclosures with built in heating and cooling to protect the sensitive electronics from the harsh winters and summers. 

In-unit access points include the installation of a RUCKUS H550 wall mounted access points, each of which offered four ethernet ports. Some larger apartment units and floor plans also required ceiling mount RUCKUS R550 access points. 

The network was built with standby power at every telco closet MDF and IDF to maintain internet access even when the power goes out. Dojo also installed cellular console servers at each property as redundant backup for engineering support for out-of-band access to all networking equipment. 

The community-wide wireless networks at each property provide a very secure resident Managed WiFi+ solution. Allowing residents to join their own PAN (Private Area Network/VLAN) enables them to maintain internet connectivity anywhere on property. Residents also benefit from enhanced wireless coverage, because their devices can connect to any access point on the property to maintain the best level of connectivity. This also provides self-healing redundancy. Should an access point get damaged or go offline, residents will still remain connected.  

Northstar property managers and regional managers have access to Dojo Networks’ exclusive Elemento dashboard, which shows equipment and network status in real-time, as well as resident usage and satisfaction with the network and service. Residents also have their own access to an individual dashboard which is like their own virtual router. They can see all their connected devices, connectivity levels, and bandwidth usage, while also being able to change their password, deploy their own private in-unit SSID if they so desire, and open and monitor service request tickets . 

The WiFi networks are all owned by Northstar, so they are an asset that has increased the property value of Northstar’s properties. Dojo Networks runs and operates the networks and provides all support to the residents and leasing staff, making the entire system frictionless and trouble free for Northstar and their residents. 




The Results:

Onboarding the residents went very smoothly, and since that time, resident satisfaction has been very high. 

Dojo Networks has worked with NorthStar to integrate their residents’ Property Management System (PMS) into the Elemento portal, so NorthStar property management teams easily monitor network operation, performance, and service tickets at all times. They can also manage network access credentials as tenants move in and out of the property. 

The new network is equipped with full equipment monitoring of all devices, UPS power backup, and cellular redundancy, giving Dojo engineers redundant access to all equipment remotely and the ability to always monitor network performance. Dojo was also able to install new fiber circuits in partnership with a Dojo fiber partner to provide outstanding fiber connection for every building at each property. 

The solution has been a true partnership between NorthStar and Dojo Networks and has been a win for all parties involved, including the residents.  

NorthStar was able to document a positive cashflow from the Managed WiFi+ network, with a positive monthly cashflow of approximately $25,000 and an estimated $1.5 million gain over the next five years. Tenant fees decreased by more than 30%, and their internet access is faster and more reliable.   

Dojo provides 24x7x365 support to all residents. The estimated an annual issue rate under the new network is less than 1%, which is tops in our industry. Dojo Support agents answer all calls in less than 15 seconds and, on average, solve 98% of all trouble tickets in less than 10 minutes.

Please see this video with Eric Berg, President of Northstar Properties, talking about what he was looking for, why he chose Dojo Networks as a partner, and what his experience has been to date.

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