Mobile video is driving demand for Wi-Fi mesh networks, as consumers download, watch and share in every corner of their homes. As the leading maker of chipsets for Wi-Fi mesh networks, Qualcomm saw a need for video optimization on home Wi-Fi networks. The chipmaker says its broadband service provider customers want to be able to distribute video over mesh networks, in which client devices connect directly to one another, to enable users to experience content across multiple screens.
Qualcomm expects its newest Wi-Fi solution to be available through at least one of its service provider partners early next year. The chipmaker is working on two Wi-Fi access point reference designs with Plume, a maker of self-optimizing Wi-Fi software that counts Comcast among its investors. Plume said Comcast plans to deploy the access points next year. In addition, Qualcomm said it is working with several original equipment manufacturers, including Acelink, Alpha Networks, Askey, Hitron, Technicolor and Wistron Neweb Corporation.
Rahul Patel, connectivity GM and SVP at Qualcomm, said cloud-based Wi-Fi enables video optimization as well as control and visibility for network operators. As consumers stream multiple high definition videos simultaneously, network operators will be able to track their usage patterns and the quality of their experiences.
Patel said operators who can offer consumers the same video experience on mobile devices and traditional TV sets will be very well positioned to capture the prized trifecta of video service, internet service and mobile service — the so-called “triple play.”
“We’re getting to a place where the consumer is saying ‘enough is enough. I want the same service I have at home to be on my phone wherever I go.'” Patel said. “When the dust settles it will be one operator or service provider that a customer is going to be dealing with.”
Qualcomm said its video optimization over mesh networking can be used with its chipsets for broadband gateways, set-top boxes and Wi-Fi extenders, as well as with its IPQ401x system-on-chip for mesh network systems. Patel said Qualcomm chipsets are in roughly 90% of the Wi-Fi mesh network routers in homes today, and that equipment for Wi-Fi mesh networks already accounts for more than a third of Wi-Fi gear sold to consumers.