Improving the in-home Wi-Fi experience has become ‘table stakes’ in the competitive broadband marketplace. Service providers of all shapes and sizes are focused on improving home Wi-Fi performance, or face the wrath of their subscribers and the added operational costs it produces.
AT&T is no different and the introduction of the AT&T Smart Wi-Fi Extender is their latest strategy. The Wi-Fi extender is produced by AirTies and is supposed to boost coverage by an additional 1,000 square feet using mesh technology.
“The Smart Wi-Fi Extender not only boosts your coverage by up to 1,000 sq. ft. and reduces network congestion, but it also automatically selects the best and fastest available connection for each of your in-home devices,” says AT&T’s Stephen Vincent, assistant vice president, In-Home Broadband, Wired Voice and Broadband Products in a blog post. “And unlike 3rd party solutions that cost hundreds of dollars, AT&T customers can get the same technology for a fraction of the price.”
AT&T is selling the Wi-Fi extender for $35. In addition, AT&T is also pushing their AT&T Smart Home Manager, an app that AT&T markets as a ‘Wi-Fi concierge.’ The app can manage a subscribers Wi-Fi connection and monitor the devices attached to it, as well as add guests.
AT&T’s new Wi-Fi extender is only compatible with certain Wi-Fi gateways, primarily the models that are featured on their FTTN delivered broadband, formerly known as U-verse.
Broadband carriers like AT&T are getting hit from multiple sides on Wi-Fi. Competitors like Comcast are also heavily investing in better home Wi-Fi performance. Comcast’s xFi platform is not only a mesh Wi-Fi extender for better in-home Wi-Fi, but is also being positioned as a complete home IoT management platform. And all carriers are facing competition on the retail front with a variety of whole home Wi-Fi solutions that aim to capitalize on the frustrations caused by poor in-home Wi-Fi performance.
Vendors like AirTies are rushing solutions out the door to meet this carrier appetite for better Wi-Fi product portfolios. Broadband access vendor Calix is looking to empower their carrier customers with a similar platform to xFi, including mesh Wi-Fi capability and a new IoT operating system.