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CableLabs Licenses Wi-Fi Hotspot Finder for MSOs

CableLabs has licensed Wi-Fi application software designed to point users to the best possible hotspot -- co-developed with Cablevision Systems and other MSOs -- to mobile apps developer mPortal for further distribution to the cable industry.

The application measures the quality of the connection that subscribers have on cable Wi-Fi networks and helps operators direct their customers to the optimal locations to connect.

Under CableLabs’ licensing deal for the Wi-Fi application with mPortal, the software developer will package the application technology with its Wi-Fi product suite. Customers of McLean, Va.-based mPortal, founded in 2000, include Comcast, Cox Communications, Time Warner Cable, Verizon Wireless, ESPN and AOL.

Last summer, five cable operators – Comcast, Time Warner Cable, Cox Communications, Cablevision and Bright House Networks -- launched the Cable WiFi initiative. Under that program, each of the MSOs provides their respective broadband subs access to any of the operators’ Wi-Fi networks, with the goal of delivering more value to high-speed Internet customers who may be tempted to simply switch to 4G wireless services.

According to Timothy Farrell, Cablevision's vice president of broadband product management, Cablevision has been working with CableLabs since 2011 to co-develop the Wi-Fi software.

"As a leader in cable Wi-Fi deployments, Cablevision partnered with CableLabs to co-innovate application technologies that measure and improve our customers' experience on the Optimum WiFi network," Farrell said in a statement.

CableLabs president and CEO Phil McKinney said that through the mPortal deal, the cable industry has “successfully transferred the project to vendors for further product commercialization. We are determined to assist our members to be the Wi-Fi service provider of choice in their markets."

Separately, Time Warner Cable is using a Wi-Fi optimization technology from Israeli startup WeFi that automatically identifies the best possible Wi-Fi signal available in a given area and then connects a user’s mobile device. That’s designed to let TWC’s broadband subscribers tap into Wi-Fi hotspots across the U.S., including those operated by its four MSO brethren.

Among other features, the CableLabs Wi-Fi application software provides mapping of Wi-Fi locations and can show details on the performance level and quality of local access points. It also includes Wi-Fi testing services to determine the quality of experience and available bandwidth of the customer's current Wi-Fi service.