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Cable Goes Big With Wi-Fi Roaming

Jeff Baumgartner
LR Cable News Analysis
Jeff Baumgartner

Five major U.S. MSOs have signed Wi-Fi roaming deals that will let their high-speed Internet customers tap into more than 50,000 wireless hotspots.

Those operators -- Bright House Networks , Cablevision Systems Corp. (NYSE: CVC), Comcast Corp. (Nasdaq: CMCSA, CMCSK), Cox Communications Inc. and Time Warner Cable Inc. (NYSE: TWC) -- will also try to simplify access with the creation of a shared, uniform Wi-Fi network identifier: "CableWiFi." The initial deployment of the new roaming architecture has already been completed on Cablevision's Wi-Fi network in New York City and Bright House's in central Florida.

The CableWiFi label will be added to all of the MSO's Wi-Fi hotpots in "the next few months." Further out, the roaming system will let customers auto-connect their devices to the CableWifi hotspots. The operators on Monday also launched a website that maps out where the shared cable hotspots are located.

Light Reading Cable reported last December that several major cable operators were pursuing a common, scalable Wi-Fi roaming architecture that follows some initial work that Cablevision, TW Cable and Comcast undertook in the northeastern U.S. CableLabs , meanwhile, has published a technical specification that enables Wi-Fi roaming between cable operators.

Why this matters
Wi-Fi has become a key wireless strategy for cable operators, and roaming deals such as these will help them increase their reach, and use Wi-Fi to boost the value of their high-speed Internet services.

The use of the uniform CableWiFi Service Set Identifier (SSID) also eliminates cable operators from having to support individual SSIDs, and puts them on a path to a more mobile Wi-Fi network that lets customers move from one hotspot to another without having to log in each time. That, in turn, could pave the way for mobile voice strategies that rely on hybrid Wi-Fi/cellular handsets, and complement the recently struck cellular partnership with Verizon Wireless . (See Verizon Wireless: Cable’s New BFF.)

For more

— Jeff Baumgartner, Site Editor, Light Reading Cable

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User Rank: Blogger
12/5/2012 | 5:32:37 PM
re: Cable Goes Big With Wi-Fi Roaming

The Wi-Fi Alliance has its own standard for Wi-Fi roaming called Passpoint. I wonder how standard all of these standards will end up being. 

User Rank: Light Beer
12/5/2012 | 5:32:36 PM
re: Cable Goes Big With Wi-Fi Roaming

Jeff is right on. The WFA Passpoint/HS2.0 capabilities are being leveraged.

Jeff Baumgartner
Jeff Baumgartner,
User Rank: Light Beer
12/5/2012 | 5:32:36 PM
re: Cable Goes Big With Wi-Fi Roaming
That will be a good question for the cablelabs folks here, though I imagine they are borrowing a lot of that work and adding specific cable hooks.jb
steve q
steve q,
User Rank: Light Sabre
12/5/2012 | 5:32:35 PM
re: Cable Goes Big With Wi-Fi Roaming

You will hope Verizon will look at this a way the cable company are getting together to push Verizon  Fios out of the way. If it was up to me i will just look into Fios as the best and only way Verizon Wireless can make it. The price of the 4g which is the wireless is not the same as Fios and with out that you will not be able to get the tower that are hoping to have the best network with out the fiber cable company are not looking into spending the money so it will be up to Verizon.

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