Charter To Offer High-Octane In-Home WiFi

Looking to ratchet up its in-home wireless capabilities, Charter Communications said it will off a managed dual-band 802.11ac WiFi router to broadband customers starting May 16.

The new router, built by Netgear (model R6300 v2, but outfitted with a Charter-specific version of firmware), will be based on the latest generation of WiFi, 802.11ac, which was ratified by the IEEE in January and sometimes referred to as “Gigabit WiFi” due to  max throughputs it targets. Charter is one of several service providers that have backed WiFiForward, a coalition that successfully pressed the government to free up more unlicensed spectrum in the 5GHz band toward the use of WiFi.  

Charter, which claims that it will be the first ISP in its markets to offer a high-octane 802.11ac wireless router, said the addition will ensure that the home network doesn’t bottleneck the 100 Mbps max speeds offered by its Internet Ultra tier.

According to a Charter spokesman, the MSO has been selling the WiFi router option for $5 per month, plus a one-time fee of $39.99, for at least four months. Charter introduced a Netgear-made 802.11n router last July for $3 per month, plus the same one-time $39.99 activation fee. Charter’s managed in-home WiFi offering also comes with 24x7 dedicated technical support and a no-cost replacement policy.

“In most situations, the end customer experience is either limited by the maximum wired speed of the Internet connection, or the capabilities of the wireless router. With the combination of Charter’s fast wired Internet speeds and the new dual-band 802.11ac high performance router, customers will be able to unleash the full power of Charter Internet with superior speeds throughout the home,” Jim Blackley, Charter’s EVP of engineering, said in a statement.

When it comes to in-home WiFi, Charter is taking a different tack than some of its peers, deciding to offer a separate WiFi router rather than using gateways that build in the DOCSIS 3.0 modem and the routing piece.