& cplSiteName &

Broadcom Brings Wi-Fi Roaming to the Home

Jeff Baumgartner
LR Cable News Analysis
Jeff Baumgartner
9/7/2012
50%
50%

Broadcom Corp. (Nasdaq: BRCM) has introduced "community" Wi-Fi software that turns wireless Docsis 3.0 cable modem gateways into semi-public hotspots that can be used by roaming data service users.

The software, already being tested by Dutch MSO Ziggo B.V. , enables the home gateways to share Wi-Fi bandwidth between the customer in the home and other authorized customers who are looking for a connection while they're on the move. Broadcom says its community Wi-Fi software is smart enough to authenticate and connect roaming customers without them having to log into the hotspot manually.

The concept mirrors the developments of Fon , which has been working with operators in Europe on this very concept for some years. (See Smartphone Revolution Helps FON Find Acceptance, Belgacom, Fon Roll Out WiFi Network, BT FONs in WiFi Hotspots and Google, Skype Back WiFi Startup.)

The idea has some interesting competitive and operational implications. Cable operators, in response to what's historically been a telco advantage, have been building out their own Wi-Fi networks, and, in some cases, establishing roaming deals with other cable operators. Turning home-installed Docsis 3.0 gateways into community Wi-Fi hubs will help them fill in some significant gaps without having to buy and install additional, dedicated Wi-Fi access points from companies such as Ericsson AB (Nasdaq: ERIC), Ruckus Wireless Inc. (NYSE: RKUS) and Cisco Systems Inc. (Nasdaq: CSCO). (See Cable Goes Big With Wi-Fi Roaming .)

Broadcom has released the software just as cable operators start to introduce data caps and usage-based broadband policies. The system would also ensure that any bits being consumed by a roaming customer would not get applied to the cap of the customer that is leasing the Docsis 3.0 wireless gateway from the cable operator. (See Comcast Turns On Usage-Based Broadband, Mediacom Unleashes Usage-Based Broadband and Usage-Based Broadband Returns to TW Cable .)

Ziggo is the only announced MSO that's using Broadcom's new software, but it should become a "fairly ubiquitous" feature in Docsis 3.0 wireless gateways in the next 12 to 18 months, predicts Jay Kirchoff, Broadcom's VP of marketing for cable broadband.

Why this matters
This community feature is expected to become more prominent as cable operators try to expand their Wi-Fi networks and fill gaps in individual residential neighborhoods. Although a European MSO is among the first to try it out, the five U.S. cable operators that recently struck a Wi-Fi roaming deal -- Comcast Corp. (Nasdaq: CMCSA, CMCSK), Cox Communications Inc. , Bright House Networks , Cablevision Systems Corp. (NYSE: CVC) and Time Warner Cable Inc. (NYSE: TWC) -- are logical candidates for Broadcom's new technology.

And it'll be interesting to see what kind of uptake there is from the MSO community now that smartphones with Wi-Fi connectivity are increasingly ubiquitous, meaning many customers are able to connect to Wi-Fi access points wherever they go.



For more



— Jeff Baumgartner, Site Editor, Light Reading Cable



(7)  | 
Comment  | 
Print  | 
Newest First  |  Oldest First  |  Threaded View        ADD A COMMENT
AESerm
50%
50%
AESerm,
User Rank: Light Beer
12/5/2012 | 5:21:41 PM
re: Broadcom Brings Wi-Fi Roaming to the Home


Any insight on how on operator would design/deploy a roaming network like this? Do all subs get the software? Only a few? Incentives offered to those who accept? 

Jeff Baumgartner
50%
50%
Jeff Baumgartner,
User Rank: Light Beer
12/5/2012 | 5:21:40 PM
re: Broadcom Brings Wi-Fi Roaming to the Home


It would be executed using a firmware upgrade, but BRCM isn't saying much about how the operators would roll this out and if it would be opt-in or just force-fed and activated... one thing I didn't ask but will now was whether this software could be applied to D3 gateways that use Intel silicon, since there are going to be plenty of those out in the field as well. Hope to get some answers from Ziggo as well on how they are doing it and how they are using it in the early going. JB




 
paolo.franzoi
50%
50%
paolo.franzoi,
User Rank: Light Beer
12/5/2012 | 5:21:40 PM
re: Broadcom Brings Wi-Fi Roaming to the Home


How about...Chances that the wrong person is charged with the bandwidth against their cap?


 


seven

Jeff Baumgartner
50%
50%
Jeff Baumgartner,
User Rank: Light Beer
12/5/2012 | 5:21:39 PM
re: Broadcom Brings Wi-Fi Roaming to the Home


Kirchoff also told me that there's no technical reason why this software couldn't be ported to D2.0 gateways, but said there are some performance reasons to avoid that. Most of the faster Wi-Fi chips, like 11n and soon 11ac, are going into D3 products, and the old crusty D2 gateways, the few that are even out there, used 11b, so when you start splitting up that capacity, something like 10Mbit/s aggregate, there's not much left for the homeowner and the person who is roaming.


he also explaind that the software includes some security and separation features that partition the traffic from the homeowner and the roamer, so it looks like two separate networks running on the same hardware. So that interference-avoidance element will play into how the system ensures that the usage of the roamer isn't being applied to the usage cap of the homeowner. JB


 

 


 

yaronwar
50%
50%
yaronwar,
User Rank: Light Beer
12/5/2012 | 5:21:33 PM
re: Broadcom Brings Wi-Fi Roaming to the Home


Few months ago the Israeli telco, Bezeq, started a service like this. Wifi roaming using xDSL modems.


You need to register to the service and allow others to use your modem - then you can roam yourself. They call it the "social network" and ask people to join in a marketing campaign. The roaming is seamless once you registered. Also, you can get up to 1Mb/s when roaming on other's modem.

CraigPlunkett
50%
50%
CraigPlunkett,
User Rank: Moderator
12/5/2012 | 5:21:33 PM
re: Broadcom Brings Wi-Fi Roaming to the Home


There's a whole suite of backend services that need to be implemented by the MSOs that adopt this.  It seems to be a pre-packaged version of what Fon does with BT and its other European MSO partners.  


There's no real business case for pushing this system onto older gateways as the previous comments have pointed out.


The accounting separation of private and other traffic should be a trivial exercise for the MSO if wireless traffic is separated at the SSID level, tunneled through the MSO's and the proper backend accounting is built.  It's the same architecture as CMCSA,CVC,TWC federation done at the residential gateway.


This might be useful for MSO retention in an urban residential area combined with an OptimumWiFi like deployment in public and commercial areas.

patentchoi
50%
50%
patentchoi,
User Rank: Light Beer
12/5/2012 | 5:20:59 PM
re: Broadcom Brings Wi-Fi Roaming to the Home


The technology has potential but it needs some big players to come together to make it a reality. More than the home gateways access-points, the ones at public places will be the ones that can make a huge difference. Besides, coverage on freeways is crucial (especially US market) and that is a much tougher problem to address for wifi.


The deployment progress has been too slow so far, lets hope it gets better.

From The Founder
Light Reading today starts a new voyage as part of a larger Enterprise.
Flash Poll
Live Streaming Video
Charting the CSP's Future
Six different communications service providers join to debate their visions of the future CSP, following a landmark presentation from AT&T on its massive virtualization efforts and a look back on where the telecom industry has been and where it's going from two industry veterans.
LRTV Interviews
Can Cable Climb Upmarket?

12|7|16   |     |   (0) comments


Carol Wilson and Alan Breznick assess cable's prospects for winning more enterprises in a landscape rocked by corporate M&A activity.
Women in Comms Introduction Videos
TalkTalk Exec: Find Your North Star at Work

12|7|16   |   3:38   |   (0) comments


Women need to find their purpose, a professional North Star, and create a personal board for themselves, according to Alex Tempest, director of partners at TalkTalk Business.
LRTV Interviews
Verizon: Beware Unknown Unknowns

12|7|16   |   04:58   |   (0) comments


Chris Novak, director of the Verizon Enterprise Solutions Risk Team, explains that enterprises who don't conduct a thorough audit of their assets often leave some things unprotected because they don't know they exist. Many times these unprotected assets are part of corporate M&A activity but left unshielded they can become a hacker's playground, he tells Light ...
LRTV Interviews
ETSI's CTO Talks NFV, 5G & NGP

12|5|16   |   09:45   |   (0) comments


Adrian Scrase, CTO at standards body ETSI, talks about the various initiatives and specifications developments related to NFV, 5G and NGP (next-generation protocols) that will underpin next-gen networks.
Women in Comms Introduction Videos
Korn Ferry Consultant: How to Find, Cultivate & Be the Best Talent

11|30|16   |   4:10   |   (2) comments


Erin Callaghan, a managing consultant for Korn Ferry Futurestep, shares strategies for companies to improve how they recruit and for women to ensure they don't get lost in the pipeline.
LRTV Custom TV
We Can Make the World More Sustainable

11|29|16   |     |   (0) comments


GeSI is a global e-Sustainability Initiative organization bringing together 40 big multinational companies around the world. According to GeSI's report, information and communication technology can make the world more sustainable. Luis Neves, chairman of GeSI, shared with us his opinion at Ultra-broadband Forum (UBBF2016).
LRTV Custom TV
Finding a New Way to Engage Customers & Drive Revenue

11|29|16   |     |   (0) comments


Mobile revenues are declining. Digicel, a player in the Caribbean telecommunications/entertainment space, has found a new way to engage customers and drive revenue. John Quinn, CTO of Digicel, shared with us its story at Ultra-broadband Forum (UBBF2016)
LRTV Custom TV
Do You Really Need Gigabit Infrastructure?

11|29|16   |     |   (0) comments


Altibox is the biggest fiber-to-the-home (FTTH) player and the largest provider of video and TV in Norway. They started out with zero customers in 2002. Now they have close to half a million households and companies attached to their FTTH business. Nils Arne, CEO of Altibox shared with us their story and insight on 5G at Ultra-broadband Forum (UBBF2016).
LRTV Custom TV
BTís Openreach Strategy & Its Updates in 2016

11|29|16   |     |   (0) comments


A lot of developments at Openreach this year in terms of strategy and planned investments. Peter Bell, CIO of Openreach BT, shared with us the updates of Openreach at Ultra-broadband Forum (UBBF2016).
LRTV Custom TV
ITU: The Broadband Is Our Future

11|29|16   |     |   (0) comments


At Ultra-broadband Forum, Houlin Zhao, Secretary General of ITU, discussed how important it is for countries, companies and everybody to be working together to help to build the broadband and digital economies (UBBF2016).
LRTV Custom TV
Tackling 5G in Dallas

11|28|16   |     |   (0) comments


Here are our highlights of the 5G North America show in Dallas, Texas with Light Reading's Dan Jones.
LRTV Interviews
Cox Prepping for Virtualization Trials

11|14|16   |     |   (0) comments


In this video interview, Cox's Jeff Finkelstein discusses MSO's plans to test managed business services in early 2017 and tackle Distributed Access Architectures.
Upcoming Live Events
December 6-8, 2016, The Westin Excelsior, Rome
May 16-17, 2017, Austin Convention Center, Austin, TX
All Upcoming Live Events
Infographics
Hot Topics
Cable Nodes Becoming a Choke Point
Brian Santo, Senior editor, Test & Measurement / Components, Light Reading, 12/5/2016
WiCipedia: After-School Coding, Salary Probing & Pro-Parenthood Companies
Eryn Leavens, Special Features & Copy Editor, 12/2/2016
Consolidated Snaps Up Fairpoint for $1.5B
Iain Morris, News Editor, 12/5/2016
Altice FTTH Bill Could Hit Almost $9.6B in US
Iain Morris, News Editor, 12/1/2016
Like Us on Facebook
Twitter Feed
BETWEEN THE CEOs - Executive Interviews
Eyal Waldman, CEO of Mellanox Technologies, speaks to Steve Saunders, CEO of Light Reading, for an exclusive interview about the 100 GB cable challenge, cybersecurity and much more.
Join us for an in-depth interview between Steve Saunders of Light Reading and Alexis Black Bjorlin of Intel as they discuss the release of the company's Silicon Photonics platform, its performance, long-term prospects, customer expectations and much more.
Animals with Phones
Live Digital Audio

Even when there's a strong pipeline of female talent in the comms industry, it tends to leak all the way to the top. McKinsey & Company says women experience pipeline leakage at three primary points: being unable to enter, being stuck in the middle or being locked out of the top. Each pipeline pain point presents its own challenges, but also opportunities to stop the leak. Wireless operator Sprint is making a conscious effort to improve its own pipeline from new recruits to the C-suite, and it wants the rest of the industry to do the same. In this Women in Comms radio show, WiC Board Member and Sprint Vice President of Enterprise Sales Nelly Pitocco will give us her take on the industry's pipeline challenges. Pitocco, who joined Sprint in May and has spent 20 years in the comms industry, will also offer solutions, share how Sprint is tackling the challenge within its own organization and take your questions live on air.