AT&T has evidently tapped AirTies to bring whole-home WiFi capabilities to a sizable portion of its broadband subscriber base.
AT&T doesn’t identify AirTies by name in this blog post about the new in-home WiFi mesh product, but an image of the WiFi extender on offer is clearly made by AirTies.
AT&T is initially selling the “Smart Wi-Fi Extender” online for $34.99 (with two-day shipping), down from a stated original price of $99. Per AT&T, the Smart Wi-Fi Extender on offer is designed for use with its BGW or 5268 WiFi Gateway.
The new WiFi extender, when used in the mesh setup, “boosts your coverage by up to 1,000 sq. ft.” while also reducing network congestion and auto-selecting the fastest avaialbity connection for each device that hangs off the in-home WiFi network, Stephen Vincent, assistant VP, in-home-broadband, wired voice and broadband products at AT&T, explained in the post.
Vincent also used the post to introduce the AT&T Smart Home Manager that, among its features, lets users personalize their WiFi network name and password, invite guests to the user’s in-home WiFi network and chat with customer service. AT&T is offering versions of the Smart Home Manager app for iOS and Android mobile devices.
It’s not immediately clear what role AirTies is playing with that app, but the vendor has previously said that is offers a program that enables ISP partners to sub-license its technology to their broadband gateway suppliers.
UPDATE: An AT&T official confirmed that the company's new mesh platform uses AirTies software, noting that it's compatible with AT&T's latest line of WiFi gateways. While those gateways are available to customers across multiple speed tiers, the new WiFi extenders and new mesh platform is not available to AT&T's DSL subscribers.
The AT&T tie-up marks a significant win for AirTies, which opened an R&D center in Austin, Texas, late last year, and has agreements in place with several other broadband service providers, including Atlantic Broadband, Frontier Communications, Midco, Orange, Singtel, Sky, Swisscom, Vodafone and Waoo, among others.
Other WiFi technology vendors are also taking advantage of this trend, as ISPs and other service providers develop and launch premium whole-home WiFi products.
Plume, for example, is heavily involved with new ‘xFI Pod” products that Comcast has introduced in a few markets. Eero, meanwhile, has complemented its retail strategy with one focused on service providers that recently was parleyed into a deal with BlueRidge Communications. Last fall, Canada’s Westman Communications was the first operator to announce a rollout of Hitron Technologies’s new whole-home WiFi product set.
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