You’ve looked at the pool and checked out the square footage on an apartment you love – job done, right? Wrong. If you love downloading, streaming or surfing the Internet, then having access to Wi-Fi is essential. Unfortunately, everything from location to building materials can make using Wi-Fi difficult. So how can you ensure that the Wi-Fi for your new apartment is going to be top-notch?
Depending on your location or who your community allows, you might be limited on your choices for providers. For example, if Wi-Fi or Internet is included with your rent, your building will generally have a contract in place with a company that you will have to use. Additionally, not all cable and Internet providers are available in all areas. Find out if your apartment community has any restrictions, or if they have a list of suggested providers.
It's crucial to do a little research on your own. After all, information can sometimes be outdated or there may be new providers in the area. One of the best ways to discover what’s available to you is to simply plug in your potential new zip code into Internet Providers by ZIP. From there, you’ll be able to see a full list of providers, contact information and even speeds and data plans offered.
It’s likely that you’ll have your smart phone or tablet with you when you’re apartment hunting. Take advantage of the opportunity to walk through the apartment building AND complex and see how your cell service data plan picks up, or if there are any black spots in your apartment or community.
Be sure to walk to any other areas where you’re sure to want to use your devices, such as the common areas, pool, gym and even the parking spaces. See how reception is there. Additionally, try using a service like Measurement Lab to get a feel for how Internet and Wi-Fi providers in the area are performing.
If you’re looking at an apartment in an historic structure, be sure you test from the inside. Plaster walls can kill a cell signal. Some rooms may have a stronger signal than others. This is crucial if you plan to work from home.
Ask people you see who their provider is, and how their service is. If it’s bad, try to get more details. Is it just bad in their particular building? Where is their building? A lower elevation can make a big difference. If the building you’re considering is in a higher or lower spot than theirs, that can matter. If they’re in the building you want, don’t go into denial if they say their service is bad or spotty: ask to see other buildings.
When it comes to having apartment Internet service, it’s best to research before you sign your name on the dotted line. Wi-Fi black spots in your apartment can become increasingly annoying over time.
Related: America's most tech-hungry cities
Are you an Internet junkie? Have you tested services before you moved in to your apartment? Tell us your stories on social!