Setting up a Wi-Fi network at your community's pool or clubhouse can an inexpensive way to improve the experience in your community. Whether it's a social group meeting or just someone checking on work near the pool, a reliable way to get online is really handy. If you're setting up a Wi-Fi network for your amenities, here are some things to consider.
Location, Location, Location
Take a look at the size of your amenity area when thinking about setting up a Wi-Fi network. Chances are, you have a lot of ground to cover, so you need to decide who should be able to get on. If you want everyone watching the tennis match to have a great connection, then your signal in the clubhouse might suffer. Think about the people who need to get on the internet most; they're probably renting the clubhouse. If your neighbors are bringing their laptop computers to an event, they want to be able to use them, so focus on having a good signal inside the clubhouse first.
One thing to consider is just how far your Wi-Fi might go. You don't want your HOA or Condo paying for internet that the residents who live next to the amenities are using at home. How do you cover the clubhouse, not cover the neighbors, not block the signal with too many wall, and get as much of the pool and tennis courts as you can, all once? Obviously, you might not get everything working perfectly, but you can strike a balance. If you really want to be sure that nobody is leeching off of your network, see if you can disable the network after clubhouse reservations until the pool opens in the morning. For example, you may be able to set your network to turn off from 12:00 midnight to 7:00 am.
Security, Passwords, and Parental Controls
You want to make it easy for your residents to listen to music on their headphones or download a new to eBook to read at the pool, but how can you be sure that nobody is using your Wi-Fi for anything illegal? Similarly, how can you help keep your homeowners safe when identity theft seems to be so rampant?
Be sure want to be sure that you set a Password on your Wi-Fi network. You can send the Password out to your community, and post it in your clubhouse for renters to use when they host an event. Ideally, you want a volunteer or someone from your management company to change that Wi-Fi Password on a regular basis. It ensures that you still are only allowing your residents on it, and you can even leave out members who aren't in good standing as one more bit of motivation to get payments in on time.
If your Wi-Fi network has any options for parental controls, make sure to use them! There's no reason for anyone to be using your community's internet for anything that isn't family-friendly, and you certainly don't want a parent questioning the Board when their child finds something online that they shouldn't. This simple step makes sure the amenity Wi-Fi is convenient for homeowners, and not a headache for volunteers.
Don't Become the Neighborhood Tech Support
So, you've set up your community's new Wi-Fi network, turned on all of the security, and let the members know how they can get on. What happens if someone can't figure out how to get on? Be sure the membership knows that neither the Board nor the Management are serving as tech support. With countless models of phones out there with all kinds of options that can be set up, you'll never be able to get every single device working on your network. If a resident or their guest can't get on the Wi-Fi network with the name and password, then all you want to do is just make sure that the network is still up and running.
Let us know how you've made use of Wi-Fi in your community to make your amenities better!