& cplSiteName &

ZipKey Tech Promises Auto-WiFi Set-Up

Mari Silbey

LAS VEGAS -- CES 2017 -- WiFi company Cirrent is debuting its ZipKey technology for automatic network provisioning at CES, and the company already has some powerful partners on board, including Comcast, D-Link, Emberlight, LockState and smanos.

Cirrent 's promise? Users who buy a ZipKey-enabled device will be able to connect that product instantly and securely to their home WiFi network without manual configuration.

If the idea of instant WiFi provisioning sounds familiar, that's because Comcast Corp. (Nasdaq: CMCSA, CMCSK) introduced a service with similar capabilities yesterday. (See Comcast Unveils Smart Home Platform.)

Comcast is relying on its own technology for zero-touch set-up of its WiFi extenders and wireless set-tops, but the cable operator also wants to work with third parties to make sure as many other devices as possible can be on-boarded seamlessly to its subscribers' home networks. Cirrent is one of those third parties, and the partnership means that ZipKey-enabled products will automatically work with 15 million Comcast home hotspots at launch.

Initially, Cirrent's partners in the consumer electronics industry have committed to embedding the technology in their products starting this year. Those products include WiFi speakers, smart door locks, connected light bulbs and more.

Want to know more about cable wireless technologies? Check out our cable WiFi channel here on Light Reading.

While Cirrent's technology is integrated with Comcast's managed cloud service for consumers, and the company is seeking partnerships with additional ISPs, the startup's primary focus is on the CE companies it can attract into the ZipKey ecosystem. Cirrent says new products can be enabled with a firmware update and won't require any changes to the hardware to become ZipKey-compatible.

Once products are ZipKey-enabled, Cirrent introduces two service components that make the technology particularly interesting. First, beyond zero-touch provisioning, the ZipKey technology adds a significant security element by establishing a private link between a device and a user's broadband account. ZipKey devices never have to communicate over the public Internet, which means they're far less vulnerable to security breaches.

Second, because ZipKey products are tied directly to a broadband service, the technology creates new provisioning and service flexibility for network operators. For example, it would be possible in the future to use software with ZipKey devices to control how much bandwidth is delivered to a product and even how new services might be introduced and added to an existing billing profile.

"You could also have products roam," says Rob Conant, CEO of Cirrent. "It's no longer tied to your home. It's tied to your account. You could also provision additional services into those products. [For example,] I want this product to be part of my home security service provided by my Internet service provider, or I want this TV service to be provisioned into this product also. It opens up a ton of new capabilities."

In addition to Comcast's home routers, Cirrent says ZipKey products will work with equipment from several other ISPs that have already integrated the ZipKey technology. Cirrent hasn't yet named those additional partners, but the company reports that ZipKey-enabled hotspots reach more than 67 million homes across the US and Europe.

— Mari Silbey, Senior Editor, Cable/Video, Light Reading

(1)  | 
Comment  | 
Print  | 
Newest First  |  Oldest First  |  Threaded View        ADD A COMMENT
Mitch Wagner
Mitch Wagner,
User Rank: Lightning
1/5/2017 | 2:29:13 PM
Potentially useful

Potentially a very useful service. People find it difficult to set up WiFi home networks, which have become essential to participating in the digital economy. Service providers that make that job easier create a platform to sell new services to consumers. 

Featured Video
From The Founder
Ngena's global 'network of networks' solves a problem that the telecom vendors promised us would never exist. That doesn't mean its new service isn't a really good idea.
Flash Poll
Upcoming Live Events
March 28, 2018, Kansas City Convention Center
April 4, 2018, The Westin Dallas Downtown, Dallas
April 9, 2018, Las Vegas Convention Center
May 14-16, 2018, Austin Convention Center
May 14, 2018, Brazos Hall, Austin, Texas
September 24-26, 2018, Westin Westminster, Denver
October 9, 2018, The Westin Times Square, New York
October 23, 2018, Georgia World Congress Centre, Atlanta, GA
November 7-8, 2018, London, United Kingdom
November 8, 2018, The Montcalm by Marble Arch, London
November 15, 2018, The Westin Times Square, New York
December 4-6, 2018, Lisbon, Portugal
All Upcoming Live Events
Hot Topics
Dell CTO: Public Cloud Is 'Way More Expensive Than Buying From Us'
Mitch Wagner, Mitch Wagner, Editor, Enterprise Cloud, Light Reading, 3/19/2018
IBM Faces Age Discrimination Accusations
Mitch Wagner, Mitch Wagner, Editor, Enterprise Cloud, Light Reading, 3/22/2018
Eurobites: Cambridge Analytica Feels the Heat
Paul Rainford, Assistant Editor, Europe, 3/20/2018
HR: Cable Dominates US Broadband
Carol Wilson, Editor-at-large, 3/21/2018
Animals with Phones
Live Digital Audio

A CSP's digital transformation involves so much more than technology. Crucial – and often most challenging – is the cultural transformation that goes along with it. As Sigma's Chief Technology Officer, Catherine Michel has extensive experience with technology as she leads the company's entire product portfolio and strategy. But she's also no stranger to merging technology and culture, having taken a company — Tribold — from inception to acquisition (by Sigma in 2013), and she continues to advise service providers on how to drive their own transformations. This impressive female leader and vocal advocate for other women in the industry will join Women in Comms for a live radio show to discuss all things digital transformation, including the cultural transformation that goes along with it.

Like Us on Facebook
Twitter Feed