CableLabs Introduces Dual Channel Wi-Fi

Consortium says second downstream channel alleviates congestion on home networks
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CableLabs, which has outlined a multi-decade plan to one day evolve HFC networks to 10 Gbps transoms, thinks it has a way for the home Wi-Fi network to keep up, too.

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The cable industry technology consortium today is introducing what it calls Dual Channel Wi-Fi to its members.

Outlined in a CableLabs blog post, the technology adds a secondary downstream channel in the home network, allowing bandwidth hogging applications like video to be taken off the primary upstream/downstream channel and alleviating congestion.

According to Belai Hamzeh, senior chief technology officer for CableLabs, on both the router and the device need to be enabled with Dual Channel Wi-Fi technology to fully use the technology. But legacy devices benefit in being able to connect to an overall less congested Wi-Fi network.

Hamzeh said that a “significant number” of cable operator-supplied access equipment in U.S. homes can be enabled with Dual Channel Wi-Fi via a simple software upgrade.

He added that 15% of customer service calls for U.S. cable operators are Wi-Fi related, resulting in $600 million of annual costs.

CableLabs said it’s working with Edgewater Wireless, a participant in the inaugural UpRamp Fiterator cohort, to develop Dual Channel implementation for OpenWRT platforms. CableLabs has also developed the code for RDK-B and RDK-V platforms.

CableLabs is positioning Dual Channel Wi-Fi as a compliment to what it calls “10G-ready technology”—a set of tools that also includes Full Duplex DOCSiS, PNH, x-Haul and vRAN, PON, DOCSiS 3.1, P2P Coherent Optics and Los Latency DOCSIS.

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