Managed WiFi may be the next major frontier for cable business services, and Arris wants to stake its claim early.
At the NCTC Independent Show today in Boston, Arris Group Inc. (Nasdaq: ARRS) announced the debut of a hosted WiFi service for communications service providers. The new offering is an extension of the managed WiFi solution it announced in May, but the hosted version is designed specifically for service providers that want to minimize operational complexity and avoid up-front capital expense.
Arris is working with several partners for its carrier WiFi solutions. These include Aptilo Networks AB for the company's service management platform, Benu Networks LLC for its wireless access gateway and Ruckus Wireless Inc. for WiFi access points and control systems.
The managed WiFi offering also includes professional services options for wireless network design and deployment and systems integration. Arris says operators can use the solutions to target key industry verticals, including small and midsized businesses, multiple dwelling units and public hotspots.
"Arris's WiFi solutions enable operators of all sizes to tap into this growing market with a carrier-class deployment," Dan Whalen, senior vice president and general manager of global services for Arris, said in a statement. "Our new hosted solution ensures that the underlying technology scales as our customers' WiFi service delivery businesses continue to grow."
Cable companies have been very vocal about efforts to extend their own public hotspot networks in recent years, but they've been quieter about WiFi services for the commercial sector. In a sign that may be about to change, Cox Communications Inc. Senior Vice President for Business Services Stephen Rowley said last month that his company plans to expand into managed WiFi and voice offerings to complement the managed router services it typically offers today. Shortly after that statement, Cox announced a new customer deal with the New Tropicana Resort in Las Vegas; an agreement that includes managed wired and wireless Internet services. (See Cox: Cable Will Band Together Out of Market and Cox Deploys Managed WiFi Service in Vegas Resort.)
— Mari Silbey, Senior Editor, Cable/Video, Light Reading