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The expansion of footprints is on the mind of many internet service companies. For those who offer wireless services, the focus is all about the number of access points. And at least one company has discovered that using Wi-Fi gateways installed in the homes of its customers can actually create millions of access points, paving the way for even more customers to come on board and purchase services in the near future. This is good news, as this would take access points beyond that available via those in central business districts. However, some concern has already been expressed regarding the new gateways providing opportunities for hackers to gain entry to home computers.
The possible new accessibility to other devices that may be connected wirelessly to these gateways was another concern. However, Comcast, the company who is planning the residential Wi-Fi gateway installation says there is nothing to fear. This is because its gateways will provide more access points by broadcasting a second signal, which will be different than the securely-configured Wi-Fi access that customers currently use in their homes. In addition to Comcast, other companies have announced that combined, their Wi-Fi network has exceeded 150,000 hotspots in major cities in the United States.
Comcast’s network effort was announced at this year’s Cable Show. It marked a first for the company, as it was the first multiple system operator (MSO) to apply such a strategy that involved the installation of gateways. But in other parts of the world, this is nothing new. For example, in Europe, this trend is already wildly popular, with one major cable internet service provider getting ready to create over one million gateways using cable modems. This Netherlands provider, namely Ziggo is planning to create somewhat-public hotspots with the cable gateways it creates. But Comcast won’t be offering its hotspots to the general public – at least not initially Instead, the company will only provide a Wi-Fi signal to its existing customers.
The company’s market trial began last year, when Comcast launched small experiments in parts of New Jersey and Pennsylvania, as well as in Washington D.C.’s metro area and Northern Virginia. The exciting results are what spawned the Wi-Fi gateway announcement. The new initiative offers a way for customers to continue to be able to get online when they are away from home.
With the demand for more and better content that’s more quickly accessible than ever before, ISPs need to be able to keep up. And Comcast’s senior vice president of business development said that this latest Wi-Fi initiative goes right along with the company’s strategy of offering the best online experiences to customers. The ability for customers to be able to get online via internet service providers when they aren’t at home, and be able to do so securely is one of the top goals of many companies.
Comcast’s ability to split the private and public Wi-Fi networks is due to its use of new gateway firmware which, in addition to providing a partition between home and Wi-Fi service will also not affect the speed of the broadband used by the customer in the home.