Community WiFi offloads data onto cable boxes

September 07, 2012 // By Nick Flaherty
Broadcom has added Community WiFi software to its latest cable set top box chip to allow network operators to set up WiFi hotspots without adding additional infrastructure.

The company is porting the software to all its DOCSIS 3.0 cable modem and gateway platforms to turn residential Wi-Fi modems and gateways into hot spots and give cable subscribers quick Wi-Fi connections on the go.
The software is currently in lab and field but Broadcom intends for it to be available as an upgrade to all DOCSIS3.0 boxes. While there have been objections to operators using consumer-funded equipment to provide wider community WiFi offload services, cable boxes are owned by the operator, avoiding this issue.
"Broadcom's technology provided us with an essential building block in our approach to supply customers with Wi-Fi beyond their homes. We are currently running a pilot to gain experience with larger groups of customers in a realistic urban setting," said Paul Hendriks, Chief Technology Officer at Dutch cable and broadband operator Ziggo
The software supports multi-mode connect to operator hot spot infrastructure and the enhanced authorization and accounting messaging necessary for the boxes to be part of a wider network. It also includes complete session creation, termination, redundancy and keepalive, as well as enhanced box and DOCSIS/EuroDOCSIS configuration file control
"This technology enables cable operators to quickly expand their service offering to include wireless hot spots, allowing subscribers to remotely access the services previously only available inside their homes," said Jay Kirchoff, Broadcom Vice President of Marketing at trade organisation Cable Broadband. "We see this strengthening operator's competitiveness."
www.broadcom.com