UTStarcom Seeks Piece Of Cable WiFi Market

Targets High-Scale WiFi Platform At North America

Looking to snag a piece of the growing cable WiFi market in North America, UTStarcom said it has introduced a carrier-class platform for the region led off by a WiFi access controller that, it claims, is capable of supporting more than 120,000 access points and 1.3 million subs via a single chassis.

UTStarcom’s platform, from its Wi-Fi Multi-Service Gateway MSG Plus series, can also work in concernt with the company’s line of 802.11a/b/g/n/ac outdoor access points.  

Serving as the “brain” of a WiFi network, UTStarcom’s WiFi controller is designed to help MSOs and other carriers apply policies and manage a multitude of WiFi access points.

UTStarcom is entering the North American market as cable operators and other carriers look to face the challenges associated with highly-scaled WiFi deployments, Aman Sehgal, regional head, sales and business development for North America at UTStarcom, said.

Through an agreement with Japan’s Softbank, UTStarcom’s platform already supports more than 470,000 public WiFi access points. Sehgal said, noting that the system is currently working with access points from three different suppliers.

In the U.S., where UTStarcom will match up against companies such as Ruckus Wireless, Ericsson and Cisco Systems, among others, MSO members of the “Cable WiFi” roaming consortium (Comcast, Cablevision Systems, Cox Communications, Bright House Networks and Time Warner Cable) have deployed more than 300,000 WiFi hotspots so far. Comcast, Cablevision Systems and other MSOs have also begun to open up secondary SSID signals in home-side gateways -- sometimes called "homespots" -- that provide access to authenticated cable modem subs while they are on the go. Comcast this week offered some advice on its corporate blog on how customers can get the most out of their home WiFi networks.  

In support of its new focus on North America, opened an office in San Jose earlier in June that houses functions such as R&D, sales and marketing and a product testing lab.

In North America, cable is UTStarcom’s “number one push,” though it will also focus on other parts of the carrier sector in the region, said Seghal, who previously served as head of global sales at BelAir Networks, the WiFi specialist acquired by Ericsson in 2012.