A successful MDU broadband installation is an opportunity for you to stand out from the crowd. By understanding your customer’s needs, carefully planning your interior installation and using the best quality equipment, you’ll provide a service your customers will recommend again and again.
Step 1: Understand Your Customer’s Needs
MDU residents want the best possible Internet connection, but they don’t want the disruption of an installation. MDU residents not only need an Internet connection capable of meeting today’s demands, they need to be able to meet the needs of the technology that is just around the corner. With the advent of 4K TV’s and the higher bandwidth required to supply the signal, it’s become increasingly important to future-proof an installation as much as possible.
We discussed in our last blog how high-speed internet increases property values. With the popularity of Internet services such as streaming TV, Internet phone, online gaming, not to mention smart home features, the need for increased bandwidth means upgrading the broadband in MDUs.
Even if your client is not a heavy bandwidth user, chances are they will be one day. It’s up to you to make sure that they have everything they need when they join that exciting new streaming service.
Step 2: Plan Ahead
The majority of MDUs are not designed for cable installing, and each building is different. It is now common for fiber to be delivered to a utility area inside the building, and copper wire used for distribution to individual units. Delivery to individual units is the aspect of the job that requires a planned approach.
The first thing you want to evaluate is the size of the building. This will determine your approach. Small MDUs with 12 or fewer units often have external entrances and can be handled much in the same manner as single-family dwellings.
Medium and large MDUs are a whole different story, and cost can be a huge factor. Your first decision will be whether you want to plan to set up the whole building or only a portion. If you’ve only been called by the renters in a single unit, this can be a tough choice. But it’s also an opportunity. Reach out to other residents in the building. Offer incentives to switch to your service. Even if you don’t get immediate results, plan your first installation as if it is the first of many.
You need to plan routes before your installation date so that you can arrive prepared. Whenever possible, inspect the building prior to installation. The important factors with route planning are crosstalk and conduit congestion.
Crosstalk occurs when the signal on parallel conductors interfere with one another. Crosstalk in copper cabling will decrease your customer’s bandwidth. Evaluate your route options in terms of crosstalk potential. If you can install all cable at least 12 inches away from other cables, you have no crosstalk concerns. If that is not going to be possible, you’ll need to choose your cable accordingly.
Broadband usually enters the building along the same routes as other utilities. In older buildings, these conduits can be congested. Make sure your routes are clear, and if they are not, make sure you have permission to drill new pathways where necessary.
Step 3: Choose The Right Equipment
Your customers don’t want an installation to be disruptive, which means noisy blowing machines are out. You’re better off opting for a push/pull hand installation anyway, since this also works best for shared routes. This requires quality risers and raceways, and narrow, flexible cables.
If crosstalk is going to be an issue, you want shielded category six cable, which is a little thicker than Cat5e cable, but the crosstalk protection is worth the extra space the cable takes up.
Always consider the aesthetics when selecting anything that will be visible to your customer. Choose the right mounting systems and enclosures for structured wiring, and inside the unit, install wall plates that are scalable and leave a small footprint.
Future-Proof Your Business
Your business will benefit when you install a network that meets your customer’s future needs. Follow these simple steps and you are guaranteed to be providing network solutions to their friends and neighbors for years.