Turkish WiFi specialist AirTies continues its invasion of US WiFi with a win at Atlantic Broadband, the US cable subsidiary of Canada’s Cogeco, which offers TV, internet, and phone services to 246,000 homes in 5 US regions, which bills itself as the 9th largest cable operator in the US.
This is the third AirTies US deal after it landed Midco a year ago and Frontier Communications in July to use its WiFi Mesh architecture across its 2.5 million broadband customers.
Remember it is the advanced mesh from AirTies which forms the basis of Sky UK’s Sky Q communications, and the company has given hints of major deals in the US at some point with Tier 1 players.
But it looks to us like ideas which Tier1 players are considering have been gripped keenly by Atlantic Broadband. By monitoring traffic speeds on WiFi in each home, home broadband customers can look at visualizations of WiFi streams in a home, and where one is causing problems move it to another Access Point in the mesh (client steering) even if that’s in a different piece of spectrum (2.4 GHz or 5.0 GHz).
Back in January Comcast launched its in-house solution for its own WiFi, stating at CES that 10 million of its customers will these kinds of abilities in the first half of 2017, a number expected to rise to 15 million by the end of 2017.
It allows anyone who has an Xfinity Wireless Gateway to download an app that can “peek” into how the WiFi in the home is doing and be able to cut off devices or put WiFi to sleep for the night.
The service is a cloud based platform, managed by a smartphone app, which allows people to add devices, pause device use during dinnertime, pair WiFi extenders to boost signal strength and use voice controls to see who’s on the network.
AirTies demonstrated these abilities for the first time at TV Connect last year in May, for use by either an operator’s field service, client services or the end user and it has talked to us about it for about 4 years. It was shown operating at the theoretical maximum WiFi speeds in the real world.
Since then Arris, SoftAtHome and Google have all come out with multiple AP systems (some mesh, some not) which give far better coverage in the home, and more importantly this type of end user control. Nokia has announcement something like it this week.
Unlike traditional WiFi, which relies on a single WiFi Access Point (AP) on a home router, Atlantic Broadband will use multiple Mesh APs to create an intelligent WiFi network with faster connection speeds and more consistent performance, using the Air 4920 from AirTies which includes Client Steering to ensure devices continually connect to the best available AP and the best frequency bands (2.4GHz or 5GHz).
Atlantic Broadband will also use AirTies’ Remote View software, a cloud-based performance monitoring platform used by field support and network engineering teams to optimize WiFi.
“At Atlantic Broadband, we’re committed to providing superior in-home experiences and offering our customers the best possible suite of Internet and TV services,” said David Isenberg, President and Chief Revenue Officer, Atlantic Broadband. “Given AirTies’ proven technology and unmatched deployment experience, we’re confident its WiFi Mesh solution will help significantly enhance the reliability and performance of WiFi coverage throughout our customers’ homes and businesses.”
This doesn’t sound as if the full power of AirTies product line has been unleashed – in the Sky Q product an alternative powerline backhaul is also used in case the WiFi 5 GHz self-backhaul becomes compromised.
A recent survey of 1,050 respondents in the U.S. and UK, with multiple WiFi users per home, commissioned by AirTies and conducted by Qualtrics, found that the majority of consumers would consider upgrading their Internet service plans, or paying extra, for a premium WiFi experience that improves performance throughout the entire home. In addition, 78% of consumers said they would prefer if their ISPs provided them with their in-home WiFi networking gear, versus purchasing it themselves.
In the meantime, the far larger Cable One, billing itself as the 7th largest cable operator in the US, also announced a new premium WiFi service, called WiFi ONE. We understand that the router has been supplied by Actiontec, and uses a 4×4 MU-MIMO chip, which comes with the option of MoCA connected extenders.
This means individual homes can purchase a second WiFi repeater which freshens up the WiFi signal in other rooms. This goes with its new 100 Mbps to 1 Gbps broadband product line.
Cable ONE has also just acquired NewWave Communications for $735 million which will see it grow from 650,000 homes to around 1.2 million. Both Atlantic’s and Cable ONE’s new WiFi systems are engineer installed we are told, though we understand that the AirTies Mesh is self-configuring and was designed to be end user installed.