INTX 2016: Ericsson, Comcast Rev Up WiFi On Wheels

Comcast is first customer of WiFi van from Ericsson that can support up to 2,500 people
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In an effort to help cable operators and other partners bring wireless connectivity to a greater range of venues, Ericsson (booth 341) is using this week’s show to roll out WiFi On Wheels, an offering that features Ford Transit 350 cargo vans outfitted with six access points.

Ericsson estimates that each van supplies enough capacity to serve about 2,500 people attending an event.

The vendor said it worked with Comcast to bring the offering to life, as the MSO plans to use the vans to support a range of community activities, sporting events and for emergency response initiatives. Notably, the WiFi On Wheels platform enables service without the constraint of site construction and a coverage radius of up to 500 feet.

According to Ericsson the van specs include including 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.

“Driving innovation means not only bringing the best technology, but also enabling it to be used in new ways. This new rapid deployment solution will mean fast dispatch and hassle-free setup for Comcast, so they can bring coverage to new hard to reach locations,” Angel Ruiz, president and CEO of Ericsson North America, said in a statement.

“Comcast manages the world’s largest WiFi network and we continue to look for innovative ways to provide consumers with access to XFINITY WiFi in even more places,” added Eric Schaefer, senior vice president and general manager, communications, data and mobility at Comcast.

With outdoor, business and in-home wireless gateways factored in, Comcast’s WiFi network spans about 14 million hotspots.