Tenants Tune Into Free Wi-Fi

The owners the America Plaza office building in San Diego believe they’re the first to offer free wireless Internet access to tenants, guests and visitors.

“We have moved from the concept of ‘Hot Spot’ to ‘Hot Building,'” Matt Spathas, of SENTRE Partners said. “Our tenants thought free Wi-Fi was cool in the public places, but they really wanted it in their office space.”

Spathas said Wi-Fi will give his company an edge over competitors. Occupancy rates in downtown San Diego still hover around 90 percent despite the economy.

The project was completed in two months for approximately $300,000 — $130,000 for switches; $110,000 for fiber-optic cabling, pull boxes and patch panels; $40,000 for installation; and $20,000 for wireless access points, Spathas said.

Because the costs of the wireless access points is relatively minor, SENTRE does not boost lease rates. SENTRE received advice from Intel, Corning and Cisco Systems. Wireless Facilities handled network installation and Bandwidth Now the network provisioning.

Wi-Fi access in America Plaza covers all 34 floors and all four levels of the underground parking garage. Anyone with a laptop, PDA or web tablet will be able to get onto the Internet.

Tenants can also access wired connectivity at speeds up to 100 Mbps for $250 per month. That’s approximately 60 times faster and 80 percent cheaper a T-1.

But the wireless network isn’t only for tenants. SENTRE will use it as a building management network. Tenant will be able to place work orders using the wireless infrastructure that will be sent to staff carrying Web tablets and Pocket PCs.

The network will also be used for security cameras and Voice-over Internet protocol systems.

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