Given all of the Wi-Fi related news over the past few months, an interesting press release came over the transom this morning. Benu Networks announced today that a “major North American MSO” had deployed its technology for community Wi-Fi deployments.
Benu added more mystery to release by saying that it was in lab trials with two more North American service providers.
To date, Comcast and Cablevision are the only two large North American MSOs that have formally announced community Wi-Fi deployments that use subscribers’ in-home routers to provide a second SSID for public Wi-Fi services. Comcast, which recently said it was targeting 8 million hotspots by year’s end, rolled out its community Wi-Fi service last year while Cablevision provided more details on its community Wi-Fi efforts in its first quarter earnings call and at The Cable Show last month.
Overseas, Liberty Global’s UPC Netherlands opened up second SSIDs on customers’ home EMTAs last year.
I have to admit that Benu Networks didn’t ring any bells when I saw the name this morning, but its investors include Comcast and Arris, the latter of which has its own Wi-Fi product line for cable operators. Neither Comcast nor Cablevision replied by deadline this morning in regards to whether they’re using technology from Benu.
In today’s release, Benu said its community Wi-Fi offering future proofed the operator’s network “to support a virtual CPE application where the home network is bridged to the operators cloud for enhanced broadband service delivery in a tightly coupled managed over-the-top (OTT) architecture.”
Founded in 2010, Benu said it was “revolutionizing carrier Wi-Fi and HetNet deployments for fixed and mobile broadband operators worldwide.” Benu’s products were designed to simplify large-scale networks by moving the intelligence and complexity from access networks to the Packet Core leveraging SDN/NFV.
The company, which is based Billerica, Massachusetts, features an impressive roster of executives, including founder and CEO Dave Callan, who was previously CEO of CMTS vendor RiverDelta Networks before it was bought by Motorola. In September Benu Networks said it had raised $26.6 million in a second round of funding that included existing investors Spark Capital and Comcast Ventures.
With the addition of 802.11ac and more spectrum from the Federal Communications Commission, Wi-Fi services—including in-home connectivity, community, carrier and metro Wi-Fi— are red hot among large cable operators and their subscribers.