Light Reading

Celeno Debuts Home WiFi Software

Mari Silbey

Internet service providers have used bandwidth management techniques for years to control service quality, but consumers have typically had much less control over their own home wireless networks. Now Israeli chipmaker Celeno Communications has introduced the Wi-Fi Experience Manager, a solution that builds on the company's OptimizAIR 2.0 Wi-Fi Access Point technology.

The software runs on the Android and iOS platforms and allows consumers to prioritize bandwidth delivery based on device, SSID, and user activity. The solution is targeted at hardware manufacturers and service providers, which can use Celeno's API to develop branded mobile applications.

Celeno's software platform lets users allocate WiFi bandwidth by user and device.
Celeno's software platform lets users allocate WiFi bandwidth by user and device.

Coming on the heels of a report that Comcast Corp. (Nasdaq: CMCSA, CMCSK) has acquired PowerCloud, maker of the Skydog WiFi router and bandwidth management app, the Celeno news highlights the growing complexity of home WiFi networks. More connected devices mean more demand for valuable bandwidth, increasing the need for bandwidth management platforms. (See Comcast Sweeps Up PowerCloud)

Celeno offers very granular control over bandwidth allocation. For example, a user can give higher bandwidth prioritization to video streaming activities, or prioritize bandwidth access for household members and offer a lower-grade connection for guests. A spokesperson clarified in an email that allocations can even by designated specifically for "applications like Netflix coming through your set-top." Additionally, the spokesperson explained that "the system works dynamically, so if in a certain time of day one of the networks is under-utilized [as in a virtual network designated by a separate SSID on a single WiFi connection], its spare WiFi bandwidth is automatically allocated to other networks."

Light Reading spoke in April with Celeno vice president of marketing Lior Weiss, who said at the time that the company is trying to differentiate itself by offering "intelligent WiFi versus brute force WiFi." Weiss was referring to WiFi chip companies like Broadcom Corp. (Nasdaq: BRCM), which has a solution that supports six 802.11ac streams, and Quantenna Communications Inc. , which recently announced that it is developing a 10-gigabit chip using an 8x8 antenna configuration. (See Quantenna Develops 'World's First' 10G WiFi.)

Currently, Celeno is deployed with more than 75 service providers worldwide, and Weiss said that activity in the US has exceeded activity in Europe for the first time over the last 12 months. According to the company, hardware manufacturer Edimax plans to start shipping Celeno's new technology to multiple accounts. Although Celeno couldn't list Edimax's customers by name, a spokesperson said operators have "expressed immense interest in the technology," and that multiple service providers are "testing the technology and application as we speak." The spokesperson added that "vendors for retail routers are also expressing high interest in the technology."

Celeno investors include Cisco Systems Inc. (Nasdaq: CSCO) and Liberty Global Inc. (Nasdaq: LBTY), as well as Greylock Partners , Pitango Venture Capital , and Vintage Investment Partners.

— Mari Silbey, special to Light Reading

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User Rank: Light Sabre
7/16/2014 | 10:56:50 AM
Re: Wifi Jungle

It will probably have to have an automated mode, some kind of expert AI to make those decisions to optimize it for the consumer.
User Rank: Light Sabre
7/16/2014 | 10:34:12 AM
Re: Wifi Jungle
The product should be helpful to a few I would guess, but the average customer is probably not going to take advantage of allocating bandwidth among devices unless it's got some really easy controls and hand holds the user through the set up.
User Rank: Light Sabre
7/15/2014 | 2:21:33 PM
Re: Home hierarchy
I'd especially like to know if such a router can make Tabcasting for Chromecast work.

While I love my Chromecast when its connected to native casting applications -- and hence getting its stream directly from the Internet -- it works great.

But in tabcasting, the content first enters my computer on a browser, and then is sent back across the Wifi to the Chromecast.   That always causes poor performance that is staggered, and low resolution and I don't understand why since Wifi supposedly has several times the bandwidth of my 10Mpbs broadband connection.  

Even if I were doubling up by bringing the content to my laptop and then sending it back across the router to the Chromecast, it seems like that should be a piece of cake.
User Rank: Blogger
7/15/2014 | 11:43:08 AM
Home hierarchy
One home, three kids, anywhere from 2 to 15 connected devices operating at any given time. (It's like our own little Internet of Things -- although we still have an analog toaster.) Being able to allocate WiFi bandwidth would be very useful. Surely one of the kids will be able to show me how to use this. 
User Rank: Light Sabre
7/15/2014 | 10:32:00 AM
Wifi Jungle
I live in a dense apartment complex so getting a stable Wifi connection consistently at all times of day takes effort because of all the Wifi crosstalk.  I made it a bit better by going from Auto scan to selecting one of the less used, non-default channels, but I never know when someone is going to wake up and start using a 4G iPhone or turn on a microwave oven or use an old fashioned wireless phone and blow me off the Internet.

So, having exhausted the hardcoded configuration methods, I really would like something software driven and perhaps environmentally aware and smart enough to optimize it for me!  
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