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Comcast has acquired PowerCloud Systems, a spinoff from PARC that developed cloud-based WiFi management, reports TechCrunch, reportedly for under $50 million.

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:

Infrastructure providers are also enabling small businesses and organizations to “roll their own” Hotspot 2.0 network:

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.

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

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