CableLabs has joined the prpl Foundation to collaborate on implementing seamless Wi-Fi connectivity for mobile devices. The prpl Foundation is an open source community focused on carrier-grade software for broadband customer premises equipment as specified by operator members.

The foundation expects the collaboration to put CableLabs’ Mobile Wi-Fi technology one step closer to full adoption as an open-source implementation in the prplMesh Wi-Fi software stack. The latter is an open-source implementation of the Wi-Fi Alliance’s Wi-Fi CERTIFIED EasyMesh® open industry standard protocol for Wi-Fi mesh networks.

Wi-Fi users tend to encounter poor performance when their smartphones and other mobile devices connect to a less-than-optimal Wi-Fi access point even though better access points are available. This results in poor user experience, with users often abandoning their Wi-Fi connection in favor of cellular service.

To address this problem, CableLabs developed Mobile Wi-Fi, designed to manage a collection of Wi-Fi access points to enable a roaming mobile device to connect to the best available access point. This enables a collection of otherwise independent access points to act as a single contiguous network, much like a cellular network, with devices being handed off seamlessly from one access point to another.

“With the latest Mobile Wi-Fi technology, there is no longer a need for a mobile device to form a new Wi-Fi connection when it moves from one access point to another,” said Steve Arendt of CableLabs, in a prepared statement about the CableLabs prpl collaboration. “Instead, a device will keep the same Wi-Fi connection to its own unique virtual network, which will follow the user as they move about a house, street or neighborhood.”

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