Is the future of home internet completely wireless?
The emerging trend of builders pre-wiring homes for wireless access points (WAPs) during construction — a process that promises continuous coverage throughout the house — could gain favor in the luxury building market, according to CE Pro.
Lennar is one builder doing so to guarantee solid Wi-Fi coverage, though its installations do not include much of the previously standard low-voltage cabling. Its homes will instead run Ethernet cables to up to three WAPs. Critics say that could lead to trouble with Wi-Fi interference, slow streams or even security vulnerabilities.
The company is the first to make Wi-Fi pre-wiring standard for its new homes.
Lennar is the first company to use the Austin, TX–based Wi-Fi Alliance's new Wi-Fi Certified Home Design program. That lets the builder offer built-in, ready-to-use Wi-Fi in its new homes alongside utilities like gas and electric. The program helps builders and Wi-Fi installers specialize the network setup based on the home's size and layout.
Lennar isn't alone. Bellevue, WA–based Quadrant Homes is also offering wireless in its new homes. The company offers a selection of feature packages for everything from reducing water consumption to improving indoor air quality. A smart-home products package is the latest addition. The homes are pre-wired with network data and outlet combinations on every floor, with room for future WAPs and extenders.
Builders who pre-wire homes for Wi-Fi could see a significant return on their investment. There is a market for built-in Wi-Fi, particularly among younger buyers, Tom Kerber, director of IoT strategy for Addison, TX–based research firm Parks Associates, told Construction Dive earlier this month. Research from that firm revealed that 47% of homeowners under the age of 35 own a smart product.
Still, critics of wireless-only homes are cautious to rule out hardwiring entirely. In a separate article, CE Pro's founder and editor-at-large, Julie Jacobson, writes that focusing too much on wireless now could leave homes and their owners unable to use new technology, such as high-definition streaming, that functions better with a wired connection. Some products even demand a wired connection in order to function at all.
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