We have been talking about the mesh WiFi networking software from residential equipment maker Airties for about four years. Finally an operator, SingTel in Singapore, has put it into action, at least as a trial.
WiFi network performance in homes is often impaired by many seemingly benign factors. WiFi dead zones can be attributed to router placement, home layouts, wall and floor thickness, furniture and interference from neighboring networks and AirTies has explained in the past how its meshing system can eliminate much of this.
The idea is that 2-3 access points work as one single linked SSID, passing links to one another as those devices move around or away from the home, to get the best performance. This can be done across both 2.4 GHz and 5 GHz signals, using the 5 GHz signal both for self-backhaul between the APs, as well as for talking to clients.
The system can even fall back to a second powerline backhaul, if it calculates that the APs need all their capacity for access traffic – although chairman Bulent Celeni explained last week at the TV Connect event in London that this wasn’t part of the SingTel trial.
SingTel is conducting the trial to explore how well the AirTies mesh improves home wireless performance. “With this trial, customers will be able to experience robust wireless connectivity for their TV and broadband services, regardless of how complicated their home configurations are,” said Goh Seow Eng, managing director for the operator’s home division.
The trial will run in selected homes from mid-April to the end of May 2015. The service is expected to be available for commercial use in July 2015, the company said.
Meanwhile AirTies took the opportunity of TV Connect to launch the Air 7410X UHD IP set-top box with the mesh built-in. The set-top is based on the Broadcom 7252S system-on-chip, and can receive multiple 4Kp60 video streams and supports HEVC and VP9 codecs. In order to create the mesh there are two models of remote access points, which can be self-installed, adding perhaps $50 to $100 to the consumer upfront equipment cost, but giving rock-solid WiFi throughout the home, as more and more devices go online.
The Air 4920 access point and mesh node have both a 3×3 802.11ac and 2×2 802.11n for dual-mode working. The Air 7410X can be a fully functional node of an AirTies Mesh network streaming 50+ Mbits of video to multiple TV’s throughout the entire home, said AirTies.
Celebi told Faultline: “In the US AT&T and Direct TV are beginning to install WiFi-only set-tops and home gateways, which don’t even have fixed line access technologies like MoCA built into them, and we are seeing this more and more. If it has the AirTies mesh in it, it is that much more resilient.”