Following a preview at INTX in Boston, Comcast said it has begun to deploy a portable broadband platform, called Xfinity WiFi on Wheels, that was developed in partnership with Ericsson.
The platform, tailored to bring WiFi connectivity to venues such as concerts and festivals as well as emergency response situations, is a customized Ford T-350 van equipped with six Ericsson WiFi access points perched on a 40-foot tall mast.
“The Wi-Fi has a 500-foot range and can support up to 3,000 users, potentially reaching speeds five times faster than cellular,” Eric Schaefer, Comcast’s SVP of wireless product management, noted in this blog post.
He said Comcast conducted a practice run at the Wizard World Comic Con in Philadelphia, noting that the platform provided users with access to WiFi speeds of more than 50 Mbps.
Comcast has since taken its act on the road, stopping by the New Haven Arts and Ideas Festival in June, but have it back in Philadelphia in time for next week’s Democratic National Convention.
Ericsson noted earlier this year that the van specs include multiple network access connections, non-line-of-sight (NLOS) microwave backhaul, onboard backup power and modular deployment elements that enable Comcast to deploy and get them operational in a matter of minutes.
Here’s a video showing some of the early deployment activity: