If you’re a broadband carrier, you know the double edged sword of WiFi. Devices powered by WiFi drive tremendous demand for broadband service, while also creating an avalanche of customer service complaints. A new Calix WiFi approach will add mesh WiFi capabilities to their popular GigaCenter broadband gateways, in the hopes of dealing with these competing realities.
Poor performing in-home WiFi networks create significant customer service and customer experience challenges. To make matters worse, these problems often stem from customer-installed and managed WiFi networks. This problem has the potential to get worse, as consumer-class mesh WiFi solutions are on the rise, with companies like Google and eero targeting consumers with consumer-managed WiFi solutions.
Calix joins a long list of companies looking to address this problem for carriers. This new Calix WiFi solution offers a carrier-class mesh WiFi approach, utilizing the GigaCenter and 804mesh satellite WiFi repeaters.
The goal is to arm Calix customers with a mesh WiFi solution, that both solves the WiFi experience issue in the home, while also providing a WiFi monetization opportunity through a potential managed WiFi service. Carriers control the set-up and management, ensuring optimal WiFi performance in customers’ homes. At a minimum, these enhancements should reduce customer service expenses, as theoretically fewer customers will call in complaining about poor Internet performance.
A firmware upgrade is required with the GigaCenter platform to add this Calix WiFi capability. The 804mesh satellite repeaters are designed for customer self-installs, according to Calix. Pricing for the service was not revealed, although Calix vice president of systems products Shane Eleniak references costs in the press release as being “[a]s little as pennies per day.”
Calix customer ALLO, a Nebraska fiber broadband-based competitive provider, has selected the Calix WiFi solution, according to Calix.
“Providing a managed Wi-Fi service is key to that service portfolio, as our subscribers’ wireless experience is becoming more important in their daily lives, “ said Brad Moline, ALLO President in a Calix press release. “GigaCenters combined with 804Mesh satellites and Calix Cloud will enable ALLO to efficiently serve our subscribers’ Wi-Fi demands in larger homes with more devices, and even in their outdoor spaces.”
According to the ALLO website, their enhanced WiFi offering, branded GigExtender, is offered for an additional $8 per month.
“Eliminate wireless dead spots, extend your wireless range to the corner bedroom in the basement or the garage or back patio and enjoy twice the fiber benefit from ALLO,” a FAQ about GigExtender on the ALLO website explains. “Please note, the GigExtender is only available to customers utilizing the ALLO provided GigaCenter router.”