Charter Communications said it is now making available a Wi-Fi router from NetGear designed to support recent usage patterns that include more people in a household connecting more devices simultaneously.
Charter WiFi is available to new and current customers who subscribe to either the company’s Plus (30 Mbps) or Ultra (100 Mbps) Internet speed tiers.
A Charter spokesman said that Charter partnered with NetGear to develop a solution that utilizes high-performance hardware from Netgear and Charter-specific software/firmware. The current equipment uses Netgear’s WNDR3800 hardware. “Because our goal is to provide the best Wi-Fi experience to our customers, Charter will update the hardware over time as new Wi-Fi technologies become relevant,” she said.
The system incorporates higher powered radios to provide better range, and it also features dual band concurrent operation to enable customers to take advantage of the less congested 5 GHz frequency band while simultaneously operating a network on the 2.4GHz band to ensure older devices that are not 5 GHz capable can still connect.
Charter claims to be the only internet service provider (ISP) amongst its competitors that provides customers with a dual band concurrent Wi-Fi solution.
During testing in both Charter's Labs and independent testing in a third-party test facility, this router proved to consistently provide high performance, delivering up to 30 Mbps even 120 feet from the router, the company said.
There is a one-time $39.99 activation fee and then a $3 monthly fee. A standard professional installation fee of $29.99 for all services installed during the service visit also applies. The Charter spokesman said the company is working on a self-install version that should be ready by the end of the year.
The service is available to most of the company’s footprint, minus its Mountain States region – the former Bresnan systems, which was briefly owned by Cablevision and now part of Charter. Charter’s Mountain Region currently has a similar product called WiFi@Home, but the Charter spokesperson said the company expects to make the new Wi-Fi service available in the Mountain States region in 2014.
Rich DiGeronimo, Charter senior vice president, product and strategy, said, "Faster speeds required a better router. We selected this router after extensive testing against a variety of high-performance Wi-Fi equipment. We're confident this solution provides an optimal Wi-Fi experience to our customers. Of course, as Wi-Fi technology rapidly evolves, our goal will remain to deliver the best in-home Wi-Fi experience available.”