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Summary

AT&T has added a new device to its home broadband portfolio: the AT&T Smart Wi-Fi Extender. Unlike third-party Wi-Fi extenders, this device will work with the existing AT&T gateway to extend the home network through mesh W-Fi technology. By offering a single managed home-networking platform for only $35 per access point, AT&T will improve the broadband QoE for consumers.

AT&T brings advanced home networking to its customers at a fraction of the cost

AT&T has enhanced its home network capability this week by launching its Smart Wi-Fi Extender. The extender was developed by AirTies, a Wi-Fi vendor that also provides chip-agnostic software that can be deployed on third-party devices to create a single mesh network. This enables AT&T to integrate the new Smart Wi-Fi Extender into its existing home network portfolio and expand the network throughout the home. Users will not only receive a fully managed home network, but get it at a fraction of the cost of purchasing a retail solution such as Google Wi-Fi or Netgear's Orbi. As well as new hardware, AT&T will provide its customers with a Smart Home Manager application which can be used to control and manage the home network.

As outlined in upcoming Ovum research into developing business strategies for smart Wi-Fi gateways, not all consumers will benefit from installing Wi-Fi extenders. However, broadband providers must be able to enhance the broadband experience for all customers. AT&T aims to achieve this by equipping its latest routers with smart W-Fi technology which uses band steering to seamlessly manage home Wi-Fi networks and connected devices as standard. Like all broadband players, AT&T must provide the right advice and guidance to ensure customers have the optimum solution for their home set-up.

AT&T is not the first to adopt such a strategy around Wi-Fi: Swisscom has been very successful in deploying a similar initiative in its own home market. This highlights how large broadband service providers are starting to view the home network as a significant point of differentiation and way to improve customer stickiness.

Appendix

Further reading

2018 Predictions: Consumer & Entertainment Services, CES003-000063 (December 2017)

The Importance of the Home Network for Delivering High-Quality Digital Applications, TE0003-001005 (March 2017)

"Comcast simplifies the smart home by putting Xfinity at the core," CES006-000007 (January 2018)

"StarHub partners with Google to offer advanced home Wi-Fi," TE0003-001055 (August 2017)

Author

Michael Philpott, Senior Practice Leader, Consumer Services

michael.philpott@ovum.com

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