Cable Tech

Arris, Quantenna Snag U-verse WiFi Deal

AT&T is rolling out new video access points in all of its U-verse markets for video customers who want to watch TV over a WiFi-connected set-top, using a combination of Arris hardware and a 4x4 802.11n chipset from Quantenna.

AT&T Inc. (NYSE: T), which initially used a Cisco Systems Inc. access point and a Broadcom Corp. chipset, started testing the Arris Group Inc. (Nasdaq: ARRS) VAP2500 access points in select markets in April. AT&T began ramping up full-scale deployments in early August.

When AT&T launched its wireless set-top service two years ago, the company started with the Cisco access point and the Broadcom chipset. However, there have always been limitations to the number of wireless set-tops that U-verse could support in a single home.

"The VAP2500 gives us better reach and performance," says an AT&T spokesperson. "And in the future, it will give us the capability to increase the number of wireless receivers per customer home."

The U-verse deployment is particularly good news for Quantenna Communications Inc. , which has raised a serious amount of cash -- more than $169 million as of 2012 -- in an effort to gain traction with its video-over-WiFi chipsets. At the Consumer Electronics Show last January, the company announced that it had completed integration with Mediaroom, the middleware platform that powers U-verse. (See Video-Over-Wi-Fi Start-Up Bags $79M More.)

Separately, Quantenna announced in June that its most advanced chipset has been incorporated into Intel Corp. (Nasdaq: INTC)'s Puma video gateway platform. The Quantenna QSR1000 is an 802.11ac Wave 2 product that can deliver multiple wireless streams simultaneously to different client devices. In total, the QSR1000 can support a throughput rate of 1.7 Gbit/s. (See Quantenna Quickens Intel Gateways.)

Overall, it's been a good summer for Quantenna. The prospect of targeting AT&T's 5 million plus U-verse TV customers should make it a fine fall as well.

— Mari Silbey, special to Light Reading Cable

albreznick 9/16/2013 | 12:19:11 PM
Re: A pretty big deal Has AT&T put out any numbers to back up their claims? What could they be seeing that nobody else has?
derac7020 9/12/2013 | 11:27:34 AM
Re: A pretty big deal ac will be like n was in the past.   The clients really control the action and until laptops. tablets and phones start to incorporate ac it will be another wizzbang technology.   Some laptops are offering ac now [Apple for one] but a lot of the older APs [cable, DSL and FiOS routers] only support b/g/n [if that].   You'd be amazed how many b/g routers are still being deployed.   Most clients only support 2 n streams for 130mb connection rates despite n having much higher potential connection speeds.   The same will happen with ac.   Other than dedicated devices [STBs for example] most devices will use 2 antennas so ac will be similarily restricted.
msilbey 9/12/2013 | 9:30:24 AM
Re: A pretty big deal Alan- I don't think they see anything much to gain at this point. AT&T says it's getting good customer response, but the wireless capability isn't something I've seen consumers clamoring for. If customers start getting noisy then cable will probably look at investing the money, but until then, it's just another expense. That's my guess anyway. 
msilbey 9/12/2013 | 9:28:36 AM
Re: A pretty big deal jtombes- Yeah, the Quantenna guys are very serious, and they are steadily working their way into every major player's hardware.

Arris announcement this morning at IBC on a set-top and wireless bridge with ac.
jtombes 9/11/2013 | 11:12:59 PM
Re: A pretty big deal The Quantenna guys aren't fooling around when they talk about wanting to 'replace wires in the home.' One point here is 4x4 - in past they've rated that even higher than 'ac' as far as attaining reliability. Looks like 4x4 with 'n' works well enough for AT&T. Anyone deploying with 'ac' yet?
albreznick 9/11/2013 | 3:55:12 PM
Re: A pretty big deal That's a good question, Carol. I'm not sure whyy the cable operators have not targeted this space yet. What do you think, Mari? Is is lack of wireless bandwidth? Or are they just so focused on MoCA connections around the home? 
Carol Wilson 9/11/2013 | 2:10:21 PM
Re: A pretty big deal Interesting - yes, AT&T is definitely marketing the heck out of the wireless receiver. I wonder if any of the cable guys will respond competitively. 
msilbey 9/11/2013 | 2:08:35 PM
Re: A pretty big deal Carol- definitely not in the U.S., but at&t has apparently has gotten great customer response on the wireless offering. It just hasn't been a priority for cable.
Carol Wilson 9/11/2013 | 1:08:57 PM
A pretty big deal Given how extensively AT&T is pushing its wireless receivers in their ads, this is a major deal. Obviously reach and number of receivers is a significant part of what they see as a major advantage for U-verse. 

Mari - are cable companies offering competing services? Are they likely to?
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