Turkish WiFi pioneer, AirTies Wireless, launched a piece of software this week designed to eat into the millions of broadband service calls around the world. It calls it Remote View, and it allows engineers initially, but later both consumers and helpdesks, to understand what’s going wrong with a WiFi network and instantly fix it.
Remote View effectively monitors in-home WiFi performance from anywhere in the world, showing their different WiFi usage patterns and devices and how much bandwidth is flowing through them all. The system is available for field trials immediately.
This could be of interest to mobile operators as well as home WiFi providers. A recent study conducted by Procera Networks found that subscribers blame their mobile operator for poor data experience on their handsets, even when they are on WiFi and even when that is in the home. More than half of users have switched operator, or are planning to, as a result, even though they may be on WiFi for 80% of the time; and only 15% of European respondents, and 10% in North America, rated their mobile video experience as good.
Procera said: “The survey indicates that subscribers’ disregard which technology is delivering the service, seeing their operator as responsible overall. It shows that true convergence is a reality for the user – further consolidation of mobile and fixed/WiFi networks will be a key strategy in securing the quality of experience that an operator delivers to their subscribers.”
After a few years of looking into WiFi performance problems such as ‘bad apple’ and ‘sticky client’, AirTies says it has finally cracked the entire equation. Chairman Bulent Celebi told us: “We are now achieving over 90% of the theoretical maximums that WiFi is supposed to achieve. This represents something like eight times the previous average performance.”
It’s a big claim, but Celebi, and his entire team, have made it their life’s work to understand WiFi. Celebi maintains that WiFi had gone as far as it can down the hardware path and now it is the turn of software – particularly to manage the MIMO beamforming multiuser technology that is already being built into chips, and to do it more intelligently.
The breakthrough being claimed today is based on a series of advances. Celebi originally tried to model WiFi performance by sniffing the air around a typical WiFi home, and mapping what was happening. The new product is based on improvements to those original visual maps, along with in-depth reporting on data usage per-device, both in real time and over time.
In July AirTies came out with Client Steering, which, in a multi-access point WiFi environment, can force a client to connect to the most appropriate AP. This aimed to solve the ‘sticky client’ WiFi problem, which is an extension of the better known ‘bad apple’ problem. A sticky client is a device which is talking to an AP that is using beamforming and positive signal reinforcement to create an artificial beam from multiple antennas. The client thinks it has a really good connection and it cannot sense a better one from another AP. However, if it moves further from that AP, it often reaches a point where it would never choose that AP if it tried to re-attach.
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