It seems everyone is on the hunt for better in-home Wi-Fi experiences, and AT&T is no exception. The operator is introducing a new AT&T Smart Wi-Fi Extender for a stronger and more consistent Wi-Fi signal throughout the home using mesh technology.
The product, which is available online for $35, enables the user to experience a seamless connection anywhere in the home, whether they're streaming, downloading, surfing or something else, without a dropped connection, according to a blog post by Stephen Vincent, assistant vice president of in-home broadband, wired voice and broadband products at AT&T.
The Smart Wi-Fi Extender, manufactured by AirTies, boosts coverage by up to 1,000 square feet and automatically selects the best and fastest available connection for each in-home device.
AT&T is also pushing its AT&T Smart Home Manager app as a new kind of Wi-Fi concierge. It can be used to personalize a Wi-Fi network, in addition to showing who’s connected to the network at any given time and chat with customer service without having to make a call. It’s available in the Google Play or Apple App Store.
While companies like Plume and Eero are selling direct to consumers, AirTies sells its products to carriers that in turn sell to their customers. Orange, for example, announced last year that it would use AirTies to deliver better in-home Wi-Fi solutions to subscribers in France and Poland. Other AirTies’ customers include Singtel, Vodafone, Swisscom, Frontier, Atlantic Broadband and Midco.
A survey—commissioned by AirTies—last year showed that 78% of consumers across the U.S. and U.K. would prefer if their ISPs provided them with their in-home Wi-Fi networking gear, versus purchasing it themselves. The survey also found 43% of consumers reported having areas in their home or apartment where internet service does not work, and that 54% have called their ISP to complain about their home internet or Wi-Fi.
Late last year, AirTies announced an expanded North American presence with the opening of a new R&D center in Austin, Texas, which includes a new test home that replicates real-world usage of in-home Wi-Fi to support customers in North America.
Meanwhile, others like Comcast also are adding features to their home Wi-Fi portfolio. The cable company offers the Xfinity WiFi app for enhanced security and for better Wi-Fi connections, and it recently announced a major availability expansion of its home automation services, enabling the nearly 15 million users of its xFi Gateway and xFi Advanced Gateway to use the controls at no additional cost.