How Private Mobile Network Unlocks Smart Amenities Market for MDUs

Learn how private mobile networks can be utilized by MDU building owners to quickly and cost-effectively support “smart” living solutions and delight their residents.


Construction of multifamily dwelling units (MDUs) is booming. New revenue opportunities have emerged as building owners incorporate smart amenities into their plans, attracting and retaining high-value tenants who will pay more for smart-equipped units. Plus, operational costs are lowered through smart management efficiencies and reduced energy and maintenance costs for MDU owners. Dedicated, reliable high-speed data connectivity is vital for MDUs to take advantage of smart technologies, and this requirement can be one of the most challenging and expensive undertakings for MDUs, specially built in the 1990s or before, to fulfill.

Two areas can present broadband connectivity challenges to MDU owners:


Creating a dedicated broadband infrastructure within MDU units that connect MDU-provided smart devices and amenities, as well as throughout the MDU community or building.


Access to fiber backhaul that terminates at the MDU community.

Wireline options are expensive to lay, both for new construction and specially to retrofit existing MDUs. Average costs to install fiber optic cable into MDU units can be up to $6 per foot, resulting in $15,000 to $30,000 for a 100–200-unit MDU. Compounding complexity, network infrastructure supporting MDU-provided smart amenities must be separate from connectivity, contracted individually by residents with their internet service providers (ISPs) of choice. And continuing to upgrade wiring or cabling to keep up with ever-expanding speed and bandwidth demands puts tremendous future cost pressures on MDU owners.

At the same time, rural areas present growth potential for MDU developments as affordable housing alternatives to much higher-priced urban regions. However, rural areas have been left behind in broadband connectivity because of the sheer distance and cost of laying fiber optic cables. This is creating a significant ‘digital divide’ that disadvantages rural communities and their economic growth opportunities.

Alef provides an alternative to traditional fiber, public cellular, and Wi-Fi-based connectivity solutions. Its Private Mobile Network connects smart amenities through a cost-effective, reliable, secure, low-latency wireless network. Now, MDU owners can easily retrofit older structures with smart amenities, and greenfield developments have a scalable and readily available option that replaces or extends the reach of installed fiber.

Alef ‘s Private Mobile Network-as-a-Service (PMNaaS) solution utilizes key advancements in 4G and 5G cellular technology and fixed wireless access (FWA) as an ideal wireless solution to bring Smart MDU technologies to life. The Alef PMNaaS is a cloud-based edge network that, within days, can connect IoT devices in residential units, MDU common spaces, and even outdoor areas like parking lots without digging trenches to lay fiber.

Utilizing freely available Citizens Broadband Radio Service (CBRS) shared spectrum and a distributed edge infrastructure, Alef’s PMNaaS removes the cost of deploying a full-stack network. It is highly customizable for any smart MDU deployment via its programmable APIs. It unlocks opportunities for PropTech integrators and service providers to quickly deploy secure and reliable wireless networks at MDUs that were otherwise inaccessible. MDU owners and property managers can now attract and retain higher-rent tenants by offering state-of-the-art amenities such as smart homes, intelligent gate access control, 24×7 video surveillance, EV charging, Wi-Fi hotspots in common areas, and more without waiting to deploy costly fiber and network infrastructure to every residential unit.

Littlebird, a technology platform provider for residential communities, has integrated Alef’s solution for private mobile connectivity to control their smart home automation and smart access control devices across their portfolio of properties in many U.S. locations.

Whether you have a greenfield or brownfield MDU development, learn more about how Alef Edge can turn your MDU into a Smart MDU in a matter of weeks. Download our solution brief,  Accelerating Smart Amenities Opportunities for MDUs with Private Mobile Networks. Or contact a solution specialist.


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