RDK gets more powerful Wi-Fi tech thanks to Comcast and OpenSync contribution

Comcast and companies associated with OpenSync have contributed a new, more powerful Wi-Fi software manager for the RDK-B stack to help manage broadband gateways, Wi-Fi access points and Wi-Fi extenders.

Jeff Baumgartner, Senior Editor

March 29, 2023

3 Min Read
RDK gets more powerful Wi-Fi tech thanks to Comcast and OpenSync contribution

The Reference Design Kit (RDK) is about to get better at Wi-Fi.

Companies associated with OpenSync, an open-source framework for managed Wi-Fi that originated with Plume and Samsung, and Comcast have come together to contribute a more powerful Wi-Fi software manager to RDK-B, a preintegrated software stack for a range of broadband devices that include residential gateways, access points and Wi-Fi extenders.

Figure 1: (Source: RDK Management) (Source: RDK Management)

RDK, which also supports iterations for video devices and select IoT products, is run by a joint venture of Comcast, Charter Communications and Liberty Global. As of last fall, RDK software had been deployed to more than 100 million devices worldwide.

The contribution represents a new piece of software for the RDK-B stack. As a contribution to that stack, which can support DOCSIS, GPON, DSL and fixed wireless access (FWA) devices, there is no additional cost for the addition of the new Wi-Fi management technology, an RDK Management official confirmed.

The piece contributed by Comcast and the OpenSync community will replace a more generic and less versatile RDK Wi-Fi software manager component that's been part of RDK-B since inception, according to RDK Management. This latest move will open up opportunities for operators using RDK-B to deploy either OpenSync or EasyMesh-based platforms, based on their preferences and deployment plans.

Default Wi-Fi Manager

Airties, a supplier of managed Wi-Fi tech, contributed EasyMesh to RDK-B in 2022. That contribution enables RDK to work with EasyMesh-certified devices. The use of OpenSync or Wi-Fi Easy Mesh gives operators a common way to manage features such as band steering, device telemetry and interoperability with cloud-based Wi-Fi management systems via the common RDK message bus (RBus).

The newly contributed component will now serve as the default Wi-Fi Manager component for RDK-B and will be maintained by RDK Management moving forward.

The door remains open for other companies to suggest and donate complementary components or propose new code contributions that can be evaluated by the RDK community, an RDK Management official explained.

"The contribution of the new Wi-Fi management software will provide a powerful set of tools to the RDK community and support cloud-based Wi-Fi connectivity services for the broadband devices used by Comcast, Sky and our syndication partners," Labeeb Ismail, SVP of global devices software for Comcast and UK-based Sky, said in a statement.

The OpenSync component becomes part of RDK-B as broadband operators around the world continue to put more focus on visibility in the home network and managed Wi-Fi capabilities that are either core to their respective broadband products or sold as a premium.

US companies deploying RDK include Atlantic Broadband, Comcast, Cox Communications, Mediacom Communications and WideOpenWest. Service providers outside the US include BCN (India), Claro (Brazil), Deutsche Telekom (Germany), KabelPlus (Austria), J:COM (Japan), Liberty Global (Europe), Rogers Communications, Shaw Communications and Videotron (Canada), Megacable Melita (Malta), NOS (Portugal), Nuuday and Stofa (Denmark), SFR/Altice Europe, Sky (UK, part of Comcast), Telecom Argentina, Toya and Vectra (Poland), Vodafone (Europe), VOO (Belgium), VTR (Chile), and Ziggo (Netherlands).

Update: This story was corrected and updated to note that the OpenSync community and Comcast donated the new Wi-Fi software manager component, which is compatible with OpenSync, to the RDK-B stack itself. The story previously noted that OpenSync itself was being contributed to RDK-B.

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— Jeff Baumgartner, Senior Editor, Light Reading

About the Author(s)

Jeff Baumgartner

Senior Editor, Light Reading

Jeff Baumgartner is a Senior Editor for Light Reading and is responsible for the day-to-day news coverage and analysis of the cable and video sectors. Follow him on X and LinkedIn.

Baumgartner also served as Site Editor for Light Reading Cable from 2007-2013. In between his two stints at Light Reading, he led tech coverage for Multichannel News and was a regular contributor to Broadcasting + Cable. Baumgartner was named to the 2018 class of the Cable TV Pioneers.

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