& cplSiteName &

TWC & Charter Embrace Next-Gen WiFi

Alan Breznick
4/18/2014
50%
50%

Although they may not exactly be bosom buddies these days, Time Warner Cable and Charter Communications are both looking to take their budding WiFi services to a new level. In back-to-back announcements this week, Time Warner Cable Inc. (NYSE: TWC) and Charter Communications Inc. revealed they have launched or plan to launch higher-level WiFi services to their broadband customers. Both major US MSOs said they aim to deliver a faster, better WiFi experience to their subscribers as they boost broadband speeds in the home and extend coverage to more hotspots outside.

TW Cable went first, announcing that it is bringing HotSpot 2.0 technology to most of its 33,000 WiFi access points scattered across the nation as part of its launch of the WiFi Alliance's Passpoint program. This more advanced technology will enable TWC to offer enhanced connections to its WiFi users, matching the level and capability of cellular links. It will also allow the second largest US MSO to offer seamless roaming onto other participating WiFi networks.

The new Time Warner Cable WiFi service, known as TWCWiFi-Passpoint, relies on Paspoint's enterprise-grade WPA2 security technology for laptops, smartphones, tablets, and other mobile devices. A large number of mobile devices now come outfitted with this protection, including the iPhone 5, Samsung Galaxy 4, and HTC One phones, to name a few.

With the launch, TWC claims that it now has "the largest Passpoint-enabled network in the country to date." The MSO, which has been aggressively expanding the number of hotspot locations over the past year, offers hotspots in southern California; New York; Austin, Texas; Charlotte, N.C.; Kansas City, Mo.; Myrtle Beach, S.C.; and Hawaii.

Charter then followed up TWC's Passpoint announcement a day later with its own, unrelated WiFi news. The fourth largest US MSO said it will introduce a new, more powerful home WiFi router next month to offer enhanced service to its broadband subscribers.

Specifically, Charter, the first major US MSO to have more broadband subscribers than video subscribers, said it will roll out a "fully managed" dual-band 802.11ac wireless router, starting May 16. The new router, produced by Netgear Inc. (Nasdaq: NTGR), will be based on the latest version of WiFi, often called "Gigabit WiFi."

Just approved by the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers Inc. (IEEE) in January, the 802.11ac spec is designed to support the fastest WiFi speeds possible. Charter said its new router, equipped with that technology, will be able to deliver well over the maximum 100Mbit/s speeds that its highest broadband tier, Internet Ultra, now offers throughout the home.

Charter claims that it's the first broadband provider to introduce such a high-performance router using the new 802.11ac standard. Unlike most other large US MSOs, Charter is offering dedicated home networking routers to its customers, instead of more general-purpose wireless gateways that combine cable modems and routers in one device. (See Charter Goes Own Way on Wi-Fi.)

The twin moves by Time Warner Cable and Charter come as they and other cable operators, large tech players, and consumer electronics makers push for greater WiFi support in Washington. Through a new coalition called WifiForward the companies are lobbying the federal government for more wireless spectrum, stronger WiFi spectrum designations, and streamlined regulations. (See Rival MSOs, Tech Rivals Unite on WiFi.)

— Alan Breznick, Cable/Video Practice Leader, Light Reading

(6)  | 
Comment  | 
Print  | 
Newest First  |  Oldest First  |  Threaded View        ADD A COMMENT
Mitch Wagner
50%
50%
Mitch Wagner,
User Rank: Lightning
4/21/2014 | 6:21:54 PM
Re: next gen
DOShea - "And the cable operators continue to be aggressive--and progressive-- in market segments that telcos could have owned by now if they had the inclination."

Telcos don't seem to be able to expand into adjacent markets. Consider social networking -- telcos should have owned that market well before Facebook. They already knew who everybody called and texted and how often. They have a better knowledge of our so-called "social graph" than we do. 
KBode
50%
50%
KBode,
User Rank: Light Sabre
4/21/2014 | 10:59:09 AM
Re: next gen
Agreed. Funny to remember back on how Verizon had some Wi-Fi ambitions in NYC early on, swapping out pay phones and instead putting hotspots there instead, thenm offering free Wi-Fi to DSL users. Ultimately they gave up on that for some reason when they could have dominated the cityscape with their own Wi-Fi (and ads).
kq4ym
50%
50%
kq4ym,
User Rank: Light Sabre
4/21/2014 | 10:54:38 AM
Re: next gen
But, will the cost to consumers benefit? It's great to get higher speeds and more convenience because of the new tech of the routers/modems but can the providers get the prices down to levels that other countries can? We still seem to be paying dearly for internet services at speeds much lower than the rest of the world. Maybe the next-gen Wifil will provide lower pricing?
DOShea
50%
50%
DOShea,
User Rank: Blogger
4/19/2014 | 9:22:53 PM
Re: next gen
And the cable operators continue to be aggressive--and progressive-- in market segments that telcos could have owned by now if they had the inclination.
Mitch Wagner
50%
50%
Mitch Wagner,
User Rank: Lightning
4/19/2014 | 3:45:52 PM
Re: next gen
This is exciting stuff. I only realized the significance of Passpoint recently. 

It means WiFi becomes invisible to consumers. A consumer turns on her phone and she's connected. Sometimes she'll connect over LTE, 3G, or whatever cellular service is available. Other times it'll be WiFi. The consumer won't know or care. 

Carriers will be able to extend their networks at lower cost. So while the consumer won't notice what kind of network she's connected to, she might well notice that she's getting signal in more places than before, and connectivity is better. 

(Oh, who am I kidding? She won't notice that either. Louis CK was right.)
Ariella
50%
50%
Ariella,
User Rank: Light Sabre
4/18/2014 | 5:47:08 PM
next gen
It's quite a mouthful to pronounce the name "TWCWiFi-Passpoint," but other than that, it sounds fairly promising.
Featured Video
From The Founder
Light Reading founder Steve Saunders grills Cisco's Roland Acra on how he's bringing automation to life inside the data center.
Flash Poll
Upcoming Live Events
March 20-22, 2018, Denver Marriott Tech Center
April 4, 2018, The Westin Dallas Downtown, Dallas
May 14-17, 2018, Austin Convention Center
All Upcoming Live Events
Infographics
SmartNICs aren't just about achieving scale. They also have a major impact in reducing CAPEX and OPEX requirements.
Hot Topics
Net Neutrality Is Not a Rational Debate
Iain Morris, News Editor, 12/4/2017
The Anatomy of Automation: Q&A With Cisco's Roland Acra
Steve Saunders, Founder, Light Reading, 12/7/2017
You Can't Fix OTT Streaming Problems If You Can't See Them
Mike Hollyman, Head of Consulting Engineering, Nokia Deepfield, 12/8/2017
Eurobites: Ericsson Restates Its Financials, Warns of Impairment Charges
Paul Rainford, Assistant Editor, Europe, 12/8/2017
Animals with Phones
We're Gonna Need More Treats Click Here
You spent how much on this thing?!
Live Digital Audio

Understanding the full experience of women in technology requires starting at the collegiate level (or sooner) and studying the technologies women are involved with, company cultures they're part of and personal experiences of individuals.

During this WiC radio show, we will talk with Nicole Engelbert, the director of Research & Analysis for Ovum Technology and a 23-year telecom industry veteran, about her experiences and perspectives on women in tech. Engelbert covers infrastructure, applications and industries for Ovum, but she is also involved in the research firm's higher education team and has helped colleges and universities globally leverage technology as a strategy for improving recruitment, retention and graduation performance.

She will share her unique insight into the collegiate level, where women pursuing engineering and STEM-related degrees is dwindling. Engelbert will also reveal new, original Ovum research on the topics of artificial intelligence, the Internet of Things, security and augmented reality, as well as discuss what each of those technologies might mean for women in our field. As always, we'll also leave plenty of time to answer all your questions live on the air and chat board.

Like Us on Facebook
Twitter Feed