Comcast's dual-signal gateway for businesses will expand its Wi-Fi footprint

Comcast (NASDAQ: CMCSA) is providing its business customers with something many of its residential customers already have--a dual-signal gateway--and simultaneously boosting its own public Wi-Fi footprint.

Comcast Business dual-SSID modem

Comcast Business dual-SSID modem from Cisco.

Comcast Business announced that it has launched the nation's first business-grade wireless gateway service with an integrated modem from Cisco that includes both private and public Wi-Fi SSIDs. The Business Wireless Gateway's private wireless signal serves a company's own back-office needs while the public signal, which is part of the Xfinity WiFi footprint, is available for use by customers or visitors to the business.

"We are making the Business Wireless Gateway available nationwide because research has proven time and again that Wi-Fi is a game changer for brick and mortar based small businesses," said John Guillaume, vice president of product development, Comcast Business. "Many different types of customers--coffee shops, law firms, real estate offices, gyms, libraries and more--want to attract and retain visitors to their location and give employees the tools they need to be more productive. Wi-Fi can be critical on both fronts, and this device can help make that easy to manage."

The gateway and business Wi-Fi service are included with most Comcast Business Internet plans. Comcast Business technicians will set up the private and public Wi-Fi networks.

A Comcast webpage informs the MSO's business customers that they will benefit from deploying the new dual-signal device because it will enable them to offer their own clientele a value-added amenity in the form of a public hotspot, and the business will be listed on Comcast's national Business WiFi hotspot locator as well. The webpage adds that customers and visitors who use a business' public hotspot service can conserve usage on their cellular data plans when they offload data to the Comcast Business WiFi hotspot.

Matt Davis, director of consumer and small business telecom services at IDC, noted Comcast's approach can alleviate security concerns of small- to medium-size businesses that want to offer public Wi-Fi access. "Customers are not accessing the same Wi-Fi network that your employees are," he said.

Comcast announced almost one year ago that it would deploy Cisco gateways capable of broadcasting a second, public Wi-Fi signal to residential customers in order to create "neighborhood hotspots" and expand the footprint of its Xfinity Wi-Fi network. Comcast has said 54 percent of Xfinity neighborhood Wi-Fi usage already travels over the second SSID of these devices.

Cablevision (NYSE: CVC) also recently announced that it is installing dual-SSID gateways to turn home Wi-Fi networks into public hotspots.

Comcast's Wi-Fi network only encompasses about 1 million hotspots currently, but that number is expected to skyrocket to a whopping 8 million by year's end, with the cable MSO promising to operate hotspots in 19 of the country's 30 largest cities.

For more:
- see this Comcast Business release  
- see this Comcast Business webpage

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