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The annual cable show is going on in the U.S. capital this week. Hot topics include compression chips, TelcoTV, and getting rid of free public Wifi. On Monday, Comcast made two WiFi announcements that will expand their network, explains C/Net.

The first is the launch of a new home-based, neighborhood hot-spot initiative, in which subscribers will host Wi-Fi hot spots that other Comcast customers can use as part of their monthly broadband service.

Comcast subscribers using the newest wireless gateways can broadcast an additional Xfinity Wi-Fi signal which other Comcast customers can access.

The public signal is completely different from the signal that subscribers have in their home. If customers subscribes to a 50Mbps broadband service, they will have full access to that speed and capacity, without any interference or degradation in service from the public Wi-Fi portion, according to Comcast. The public can access the same gateway device securely, as Comcast Xfinity broadband customer, using Hotspot 2.0 technology.

If visitors are not Comcast subs, they can get free access to the networks on two separate occasions. But after that they will have to pay for usage.

Cablevision, Comcast, Time Warner Cable, Cox Communications, and Bright House Networks now have access to more than 150,000 indoor and outdoor Wi-Fi hot spots in more than a dozen major cities across the country, by merging their WiFi access.

Comcast says public Wi-Fi hot spots in Washington, D.C., Chicago and Atlanta are now a part of this Cable Wi-Fi Alliance. Comcast and its CableWiFi Alliance partners say they have added tens of thousands of new access points.

Xfinity WiFi is now available in nearly 3,800 hotspots in the District of Columbia. It’s also set up hot spots near Washington DC, in Bethesda, Chevy Chase and Silver Spring in Maryland; and Arlington, Alexandria, and Woodbridge in Virginia. That, in turn, could pave the way for mobile voice strategies that rely on hybrid Wi-Fi/cellular handsets, and complements the cellular partnership with Verizon Wireless.

The nationwide hotspot network has tripled in size since it was first announced last year, and is now said to be one of the largest Wi-Fi networks in the country.

Subscribers of any of these broadband providers can look for the “CableWiFi” network on their mobile devices. Then they can sign into the network using credentials that identify them as a broadband customer, and they are connected to the Wi-Fi network. After they have used the network once, those credentials can be saved on the device to automatically authenticate the next time they are in a CableWiFi hot spot.

At last week’s Small Cell Summit half a dozen companies formed a small cell wireless backhaul ecosystem around Cisco’s unified RAN backhaul, which is a vendor-neutral support for any access technology. The companies include Blinq, DragonWave, Fastback Networks, NEC, Radwin, Siklu and Cisco. Cisco says, “For Wi-Fi and smell [sic] cell solutions, we are working to help operators build and monetize indoor and outdoor Wi-Fi.”

Comcast’s proposal comes on the heels of the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) making a similar, but broader, suggestion.

Peter Eckersley, the EFF’s Technology Projects Director, said “The gradual disappearance of open wireless networks is a tragedy of the commons.” This “progressive locking of wireless networks is harmful—for convenience, for privacy and for efficient use of the electromagnetic spectrum.” The EFF’s proposal was that people, after checking with their ISP’s Terms of Service (ToS) and Acceptable Usage Policies (AUP), should share their bandwidth with the Wi-Fi service set identifier (SSID) “openwireless.org.” In the EFF scheme, this connection can be shared with anyone.

With the development of 802.11n, one WiFi network can now hog ALL the available channels on the unlicensed 2.4 GHz band, effectively eliminating nearby “free” competition in a mall or other public place. Ruckus says beamforming is a solution.

Related Dailywireless articles include; Kickstarter for Fiber Nets?, Time Warner Cable to Double WiFi Hotspots in 2013, AT&T: 40,000 Small Cells, Microsoft Sponsors Free WiFi in NYC & SF, Chicago Announces Free WiFi in Parks, Hotspot 2.0, Cellular/WiFi Roaming Gets Real, Street light Provides Wi-Fi, Cell Coverage, Hotspot 2.0, Intel: Basestation in the Cloud, Clearwire: On the Hot Zone, Sprint to use LightRadio for Small Cells, LTE iPhone: Game Changer?,

One Response to “Comcast Creates Hotspot 2.0 National Network”

This concept of using personal wifi routers as public hot spots is common in Europe, specifically Proximus and Telenet in Belgium. It appears to work well–without any negative impact to security, speeds or volume–to the private client.

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