Does it work? Is it safe? Is it the right solution?
Wi-Fi has become a generic term often indicating access to the internet. For smart phones, tablets, and other wireless devices a wireless method of connection. An Internet connection from a major carrier is converted into a wireless source so it can be received by dozens or hundreds of people simultaneously on the same Wi-Fi network. While this may work fine for checking emails or looking up recipes on the Internet, a public or group building Wi-Fi connection is not always the right solution, especially in senior living when personal information security is involved.
Coverage is often spotty. To reduce installation cost often not enough access points were installed. Both older and newer buildings are constructed to with stand hurricanes and tornadoes but these thick walls and floors block signal. Many existing Wi-Fi systems used 2.4Ghz equipment. As faster speeds and more throughput is needed today, 5Ghz equipment is the new norm, however this higher frequency has reduced coverage area so even more access points are required.
Would doing sensitive banking transactions be recommended in a football stadium, coffee shop or hotel lobby? Absolutely not! This information could easily be accessed by those who “may not have the best intentions”. This is a major source of identity fraud, credit card hacks, and unauthorized purchases. For the same reason sharing a common public Wi-Fi network in a senior living building is also not secure. Whereas an elderly neighbor may not be the one hacking in to an account, that same signal provides access to both visitors and unauthorized people in common areas, exterior corridors, parking lots and more.
Updating older Wi-Fi systems to 5Ghz is one improvement and Senior TV can assist. In most situations, additional access points are needed to provide adequate coverage. New wiring is needed from each access point back to the central point or nearest witch. There are distance limitations. Even after spending considerable funds to install these systems the same problems remain—no security or private network.
Seniors can now benefit from voice actuated devices such as Amazon Alexa when all of their connected devices to play music, answer questions, turn on lights, change temperature and change channels on the TV within an apartment on the same network. But what happens when multiple apartments all share the same Wi-Fi network? With the rapid proliferation of in-home smart devices, a group Wi-Fi system can block these new advantages. Changing a channel on the TV screen with SeniorTV can be as easy as saying “Find a Clint Eastwood movie” if the right devices are on the same network. That is the same reason a residential Chromecast or Roku stick will not work in a hotel on their Wi-Fi network.
The answer for internet security and smart device integration is easy. Each unit needs its own “PAN” (Personal Area Network) with its own password and ability to connect all devices within an apartment.
SeniorTV has perfected a simple, low cost solution for senior communities whereby no additional wiring is needed, each resident has his/her own personal area network, and delivery speeds are exceptional without distance limitations. Entire campuses with hundreds of users are quickly installed in days with little infrastructure cost. Using the same technology as major cable companies, a private internet connection is delivered to each apartment on the same coaxial cable already being used to supply television channels. Senior communities can not only save 50-70% on their cable bill, they can also provide robust and secure internet within their apartments while still having basic Wi-Fi in common areas such as the pool, dining room, courtyard.
Each unit has its own cable modem with a hardwired jack for a laptop or desk computer plus secure Wi-Fi just for use in that unit to connect smart phones, notebook computers, tablets, and other smart devices. Internet service can be provided a la carte only to select residents or on a bulk basis to every apartment with the cost less than $10.00 per month. Many lifestyle communities resell internet at a discounted price to residents at less than 50% that of the local cable company and generate a new source of revenue.
Most IT professionals and LTC executives understand Wi-Fi is a misunderstood term with many variations. The least expensive and near instant solution for today’s needs and tomorrow’s expectations is a combination of using a dedicated DOCSIS cable modem with Wi-Fi within an apartment for security and smart technology combined with 5Ghz Wi-Fi service in common areas. For more information contact www.seniortv.com.
About the author
Rick Briggs is President and founder of Senior TV and 30-year veteran providing cable TV and internet to senior communities. SeniorTV is the nation’s leading supplier to LTC and forefront with new technology.