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Telstra, Netgear Claim Cable WiFi Gateway First

Mari Silbey

With the home WiFi market heating up, Australian operator Telstra and equipment supplier Netgear have partnered to deliver what they claim is the world's first commercial deployment of an 802.11ac DOCSIS 3.0 gateway by a service provider.

Telstra Corp. Ltd. (ASX: TLS; NZK: TLS) has started installing the new customer premises equipment in conjunction with its high-speed Telstra Gateway Max service. The dual-band gateway from Netgear Inc. (Nasdaq: NTGR) includes beamforming technology for focusing wireless signals and has the potential to offer WiFi speeds of up to 1.9 Gbit/s.

The race to deploy more advanced wireless technology is happening for several reasons. For one thing, consumers are connecting more devices over WiFi and running higher-bandwidth applications on in-home networks. For another, cable operators are increasingly using subscriber access points as nodes in larger public WiFi networks. In the US, for example, Comcast Corp. (Nasdaq: CMCSA, CMCSK) has been aggressive with this approach, and is working to use home-based access points to extend its public WiFi network to 8 million hotspots across the country. (See Comcast Whips Up More WiFi.)

Telstra also appears to be planning to use subscriber home gateways for a larger WiFi network. In a statement, Telstra Director Alan Crouch said that the new Netgear gateways are "the first in a range that will be compatible with the Telstra WiFi Network. If you have one of these new gateways, you'll be able to update the software next year to join the Telstra WiFi community.”

Telstra is scheduled to launch its nationwide network in early 2015. The company is also partnering with Fon Wireless Ltd. to offer subscribers access to additional WiFi hotspots around the globe.

Greater WiFi capacity is also important to cable operators for the growing business services market and in-home TV networking. The Netgear gateway doesn't support traditional TV, but several other vendors have announced gateways that do, including Arris Group Inc. (Nasdaq: ARRS), which has a wireless video gateway planned for deployment with Comcast. In a new Heavy Reading Cable Insider report, analyst Craig Leddy concludes that these gateways will help cable companies retain subscribers, upsell higher-speed Internet services, and introduce more cloud-based applications. (See Cable's WiFi Video Attack.)

For more of Light Reading's coverage of cable WiFi developments, visit our cable WiFi content channel.

On the silicon front, there are a number of companies competing to deliver advanced chipsets for wireless gateways, including Broadcom Corp. (Nasdaq: BRCM), Quantenna Communications Inc. and Celeno Communications . Quantenna announced integration with the Intel Corp. (Nasdaq: INTC) Puma video gateway platform earlier this year. The Netgear box includes an Intel Puma processor. (See Asus, Quantenna Bring Gigabit WiFi Home and Quantenna Quickens Intel Gateways.)

Other features in the Netgear gateway include four gigabit Ethernet ports, in addition to a gigabit WAN port, a USB port, DLNA support, numerous security features, the Netgear genie application for home network management, Push 'N' Connect one-step installation and parental controls.

— Mari Silbey, special to Light Reading

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User Rank: Lightning
9/22/2014 | 2:28:27 AM
Re: Too fast.
Netgear products are touted to to be easy to deploy and hence we need to see how the deployment picks up to decide on the outcome of this product.
User Rank: Light Sabre
8/17/2014 | 3:58:26 AM
Re: Too fast.
@msilbey: That always is the case with all wireless radio technologies. Actual bandwidth experienced by a user inside his home is much less than claims boasted from lab test results.
User Rank: Blogger
8/14/2014 | 11:16:32 AM
Re: Too fast.
Unfortunately 1.9 Gbps is only the top potential speed for 802.11ac. As Netgear caveats, "Actual data throughput and wireless coverage will vary."
User Rank: Light Sabre
8/13/2014 | 11:10:36 PM
Too fast.
1.9 gbps is a lot of speed for a home WiFi. Many corporates operate on much lesser bandwidths. It will be very interesting to see how this develops. This blog surely requires a followup blog once some deployment happens and we see some results.
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