While cable companies continue on their march to roll out more Wi-Fi, the practice of sharing a customer's home hotspots with other customers in the neighborhood remains controversial.
Comcast (NASDAQ: CMCSA), for one, became the subject of a class action suit filed by two Northern California residents who claim the cable company's shared Wi-Fi routers use too much electrical power, violate their privacy and slow their network. Comcast says its home hotspots don't impede network performance or undermine security.
Weiss (Source: Celeno)
Israel-based Celeno Communications, a provider of high-performance Wi-Fi chips and software, says it is talking to cable operators about its technology that promises to better manage Wi-Fi usage.
Typically, there are two ways to approach it, according to Lior Weiss, vice president of marketing at Celeno. One way is to manage it at the router level, but that doesn't really solve the problem, he told FierceWirelessTech. The other way is to monitor it in the air, which is the technique Celeno is pitching.
"What happens in the air is where the big challenge is," he said. If a customer is standing at a bus stop trying to watch a YouTube clip and the signal is poor, that will stress out the access point, resulting in other clients in the home being "starved," he said.
"I believe in order to do it right and avoid any possible way to affect the home network, you have to monitor what's happening in the air," he said. It just so happens that Celeno's Optimizer technology does just that. The company is talking to a lot of cable companies both in Europe and the United States, and the technology is in tests and trials, although he declined to name any of the operators.
Celeno says its OptimizAir 2.0 enables the provisioning and dynamic allocation of Wi-Fi capacity to different virtual networks (SSID), services, and even different client devices, including highly demanding 4K video devices, all served by the same Wi-Fi Access Point.
The result is an optimized and more efficient Wi-Fi network that can ensure the highest quality of service no matter how many Wi-Fi enabled devices are competing for bandwidth.
The company, founded in 2005, early in its history was focused on service providers and its revenues have been generated pretty much exclusively from the service provider community, with its chips landing in home networking products. A lot of demand has been driven by telcos delivering IPTV solutions that needed to have home networking technology in order to distribute video to multiple set-top boxes in the home using Wi-Fi.
Wi-Fi is often thought of as a data offload technology, but with regard to video, "I think this perception is changing and changing rapidly," Weiss said. Some of the biggest telcos are actually delivering video over Wi-Fi today, like Deutsche Telekom's Entertain IPTV service in Germany that delivers video to multiple set-top boxes in the home.
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