Skydog, their cloud-managed Wi-Fi router was a scaled-down version of their cloud-based networking solution that PowerCloud sells to small and medium-sized enterprise customers. Skydog’s hardware consisted of a dual-band 802.11n Wi-Fi router with a 2-by-2 antenna array. Once you’ve registered your home network in the cloud, you can divide your network into distinct zones (public or private, for example), and define different policies for each zone and for each user.
The Kickstarter-funded Skydog router watches over your network, sends alerts and improves connectivity, performance and security.
“This would be a good move for Comcast as it instruments the home, first with connections, then with sensors, then with the apps that help a customer understand how everything is moving through their pipes, their home, their electrical wires,” James McQuivey, an analyst at Forrester Research, says about the acquisition.
PowerCloud can manage multiple sites from a single webpage — no matter how many APs they have, or where they’re located. The combination of the inexpensive Ubquiti access points with PowerCloud’s Cloud Command is considerably less expensive than the combination of Meraki Access Points and Meraki’s Cloud Controller.
In June, Comcast said its Xfinity WiFi footprint had expanded to about 3 million hotspots nationwide, getting it closer toward a goal of expanding that footprint to 8 million hotspots by the end of 2014.
If Comcast’s strategy is to take over the lower 5GHz band with “free” public WiFi (for Comcast subscribers), perhaps PowerCloud Systems would be a good way to go about it.
Hotspot 2.0 is a new set of protocols to enable cellular-like roaming. A variety of partnerships are developing nationwide and world-wide, including:
- The “CableWiFi” network identifier (SSID) allows devices to auto-connect to a “CableWiFi” hotspot when in range. Comcast alone will install eight million Xfinity WiFi hotspots by the end of the year available in public locations across the country, from shopping centers, commuter stations, parks and sporting venues. Xfinity Homes will now contain two SSIDs, enabling consumer cable WiFi boxes to “share” their WiFi, helping the MSOs compete with mobile carriers.
- Facebook Wi-Fi is a partnership between Cisco and Facebook that allows Wi-Fi users to log into access points, using Facebook credentials. Facebook said it had 819 million monthly mobile users (73%) out of its total 1.15 billion users in Q2 2013. It’s primarily driven by advertising revenue.
- Europe’s Fon WiFi community. Uses a $59 Fonera WiFi router. Fon claims to have the largest Wi-Fi network in the world, with over eight million hotspots as at July 2013.
- Boingo launched “Passpoint Secure” networks at more than 20 airports throughout the United States using the Cisco Hotspot 2.0 network. Cisco, AT&T and Accuris partnered to bring a Hotspot 2.0 network to MWC 2014 this year.
- iPass has launched a cloud-based Business Traveler Service 2.0, marking iPass’ transformation into a cloud company utilizing a Software-as-a-Service delivery model, coupled with an app based approach. The service is available at 3,000 airports, 22 airlines, hotels and public areas worldwide. A single log-in enables users to obtain automatic access and authentication on smartphones, tablets and laptops in over 120 countries.
- Google is considering deploying Wi-Fi networks in cities covered by Google Fiber. The disclosure is made in a document Google is circulating to 34 cities that are the next candidates to receive Google Fiber in 2015.
- Google is apparently planning to offer subsidized, commercial-grade Wi-Fi hardware to small and medium-sized businesses, reports TechCrunch, including doctors’ offices, restaurants, and gyms. A Hotspot 2.0 feature would streamline signing in. The hardware would be the only cost involved, and use the businesses’ existing Internet connections, unlike the Google-provided Wi-Fi networks running at Starbucks.
Infrastructure providers are also enabling small businesses and organizations to “roll their own” Hotspot 2.0 network:
- Cloud4Wi released a new software development kit (SDK) to enable third-party developers to design apps for its Wi-Fi marketplace platform, to deliver greater network value to organizations with Wi-Fi.
- Ruckus Wireless has announced their virtual SmartCell Gateway (vSCG) as a followup to the Smart WiFi Access Management Service (SAMS) it unveiled in March for small and midsized businesses. It’s designed for mobile and cable network operators, managed service providers, and large enterprises that want to move their WLAN management to the cloud.
- The Aerohive Cloud Services Platform is a globally distributed, cloud-based infrastructure for Aerohive developed Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) applications. Although not strictly Hotspot 2.0, its new 802.11AC access point, the three-stream AP 230 is priced at $799.
Multi-User MIMO promises to handle large crowds better then Wave 1 802.11ac products since the different users can use different streams at the same time. Public Hotspots serving large crowds will benefit with MU-MIMO but enterprise and carrier-grade gear could be a year away, say industry observers.
You can kiss the lower 5GHz band goodbye for any truly “free” municipal network.
The FCC has increased Wi-Fi power in the lower 5 GHz band at 5.15-5.25 GHz, making Comcast and mobile phone operators happy since they can make use of 802.11ac networks, both indoors and out, even utilizing all four channels for up to 1 Gbps wireless networking.
These FCC U-NII technical modifications are separate from another proposal currently under study by the FCC and NTIA that would add another 195 MHz of spectrum under U-NII rules in two new bands, U-NII 2B (5.350 – 5.470 GHz) and U-NII 4 (5.850 – 5.925 GHz).
Commercial entities, including cable operators, cellular operators, and independent companies seem destined to blanket every dense urban area in the country with high-power 5 GHz service – “free” if you’re already a subscriber on their subscription network
Related Dailywireless articles include; Ruckus Announces Cloud-Based WiFi Services, Cloud4Wi: Cloud-Managed, Geo-enabled Hotspots, Ad-Sponsored WiFi Initiatives from Gowex & Facebook, FCC increases Wi-Fi power in the lower 5 GHz band at 5.15-5.25 GHz, Comcast Creates Hotspot 2.0 National Network,Cloud4Wi Annouces Cloud-Controlled WiFi , PowerCloud: Cloud-based WiFi: $100 a Pop , WiFi & Hotspot 2.0 at MWC, Hotspot 2.0 Moves Out, NYC & Cable Provide Hotspot 2.0 Service, Cities of San Jose and Santa Clara Get Free WiFi, Free Google WiFi for NYC Chelsea Neighborhood,Cloud-based WiFi: $100 a Pop , Meraki Cloud Managed Security