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Friday, May 19, 2017

Broadcom looks to mesh WiFi supplier AirTies

By Nick Flaherty

Broadcom has teamed up with software provider AirTies to develop mesh technology for WiFi that could help extend networks throughout the smart home.

One of the major problems with the roll out of the smart home and Internet of Things is the limited, and variable, connectivity in-home. AirTies already supplies companies such as Vodafone and Sky with technology that connects up devices seamlessly.

The two companies are collaborating on managed Wi-Fi Mesh systems designed to satisfy the performance, coverage, management and mass deployment requirements of today's forward-looking operators and Internet Service Providers (ISPs). Unlike traditional Wi-Fi, which relies on a single Wi-Fi Access Point (AP) embedded in a home gateway/router, managed Wi-Fi Mesh networks use the gateway/router and multiple APs to deliver improved whole-home Internet coverage and provide advanced performance monitoring capabilities.

"Operators around the world are rethinking their approach to in-home Wi-Fi, and many are looking to Mesh networking as their future," said Gregory Fischer, senior vice president and general manager for Broadband Carrier Access at Broadcom. "As a pioneer of advanced Wi-Fi solutions to leading broadband operators around the globe, we're proud to work with AirTies on a collaborative roadmap that brings our joint abilities to this growing market. Broadcom is committed to helping service providers deliver the best in-home Wi-Fi experiences possible."

"It's clear to AirTies and Broadcom that consumers have rising expectations for fast and consistent Internet performance throughout every corner of their homes, on all of their devices – and they expect their service providers to deliver," said Philippe Alcaras, CEO of AirTies. "Broadcom is a recognized world-leader in Wi-Fi chipsets and technology, and by teaming up for the long run, we can help operators seize new opportunities to improve customer satisfaction, drive incremental revenue, and differentiate with new classes of premium Wi-Fi services, with the guarantee of integrating all critical innovation in the future."

The key point is that AirTies' Wi-Fi Mesh compatibility will be a default feature in all of Broadcom's wireless platforms like router, DSL, GPON, DOCSIS and Video Decoding CPE platforms such as residential gateways or set-top boxes as part of the new Wi-Fi driver software available this month (May 2017). This turns the gateways and wireless set-top boxes into an additional Mesh Wi-Fi access point, reducing the costs needed for additional APs in the home.

This will allow smart devices to connect via WiFi more reliably throughout the home (using devices such as the low power Microchip WiFi Homekit).   

For homes requiring additional APs, AirTies supplies dual band concurrent APs built on various Broadcom chipsets/CPUs such as the BCM4366E, BCM4360, BCM43217, and BCM47081. These compact APs include Client and Band Steering technology to ensure devices always connect to the best available AP and frequency band, whether 2.4GHz or 5GHz based on real-time network usage. The APs also provide Channel Management, which improves performance in high interference Wi-Fi environments. To provide a fully managed experience, operators can also use AirTies' Remote View software, a cloud-based performance monitoring platform used by field support and network engineering teams to optimise in-home Wi-Fi and gain valuable real-time insights.

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