Internet service providers have used bandwidth management techniques for years to control service quality, but consumers have typically had much less control over their own home wireless networks. Now Israeli chipmaker Celeno Communications has introduced the Wi-Fi Experience Manager, a solution that builds on the company's OptimizAIR 2.0 Wi-Fi Access Point technology.
The software runs on the Android and iOS platforms and allows consumers to prioritize bandwidth delivery based on device, SSID, and user activity. The solution is targeted at hardware manufacturers and service providers, which can use Celeno's API to develop branded mobile applications.
Coming on the heels of a report that Comcast Corp. (Nasdaq: CMCSA, CMCSK) has acquired PowerCloud, maker of the Skydog WiFi router and bandwidth management app, the Celeno news highlights the growing complexity of home WiFi networks. More connected devices mean more demand for valuable bandwidth, increasing the need for bandwidth management platforms. (See Comcast Sweeps Up PowerCloud)
Celeno offers very granular control over bandwidth allocation. For example, a user can give higher bandwidth prioritization to video streaming activities, or prioritize bandwidth access for household members and offer a lower-grade connection for guests. A spokesperson clarified in an email that allocations can even by designated specifically for "applications like Netflix coming through your set-top." Additionally, the spokesperson explained that "the system works dynamically, so if in a certain time of day one of the networks is under-utilized [as in a virtual network designated by a separate SSID on a single WiFi connection], its spare WiFi bandwidth is automatically allocated to other networks."
Light Reading spoke in April with Celeno vice president of marketing Lior Weiss, who said at the time that the company is trying to differentiate itself by offering "intelligent WiFi versus brute force WiFi." Weiss was referring to WiFi chip companies like Broadcom Corp. (Nasdaq: BRCM), which has a solution that supports six 802.11ac streams, and Quantenna Communications Inc. , which recently announced that it is developing a 10-gigabit chip using an 8x8 antenna configuration. (See Quantenna Develops 'World's First' 10G WiFi.)
Currently, Celeno is deployed with more than 75 service providers worldwide, and Weiss said that activity in the US has exceeded activity in Europe for the first time over the last 12 months. According to the company, hardware manufacturer Edimax plans to start shipping Celeno's new technology to multiple accounts. Although Celeno couldn't list Edimax's customers by name, a spokesperson said operators have "expressed immense interest in the technology," and that multiple service providers are "testing the technology and application as we speak." The spokesperson added that "vendors for retail routers are also expressing high interest in the technology."
— Mari Silbey, special to Light Reading