In this interview, Mitch Ashley, Kyrio’s President and General Manager, and Andrew Skafel, Edgewater Wireless’ CEO talk trends at Mobile World Congress 2017 in Barcelona Spain.
One prominent trend at the show is the need for operators to provide high-capacity Wi-Fi in the home in the upcoming years. As more and more IoT devices (think smart lightbulbs, refrigerators, and thermostats) get introduced into the home, there’s an increased demand for delivering a successful user experience. High-density Wi-Fi is traditionally talked about in terms of stadiums and concert venues, but now it is clear that providing high-density Wi-Fi is now expanding to the home.
Watch the interview below and learn why the home is being considered the new frontier for high-capacity, high-density Wi-Fi. If you’d like to learn more about how Kyrio Testing Services helped Edgewater Wireless accelerate their product to market, be sure to watch our webinar replay, Real World Performance Testing for High Density Environments.
Mitch Ashley: I’m Mitch Ashley. I’m here at Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, Spain. If you know anything about wireless you know that Mobile World Congress is the epicenter of everything happening in wireless technology and for the whole industry. I’m joined today by Andrew Skafel. Andrew, welcome!
Andrew Skafel: Good to see you, Mitch.
MA: Glad have you on board for a short interview here. As I’ve scoured the floor it only took a few minutes to figure out a key couple of trends that’s happening at Mobile World Congress. The first is IoT: it is everywhere. You can’t step left or right without somebody talking to you about their new strategy, product, or some direction they are taking with IoT. Of course we all know 5G is important to the future of our industry and where that is headed; we’re all excited about that. And of course a core technology to continue to build the industry upon is Wi-Fi. We’re all about delivering the best customer experience that we can deliver through Wi-Fi. And certainly something important to my company, Kyrio, which Andrew is a customer of. And we spend a great deal of time working with device manufacturers, network providers, all about how do we apply the best technology into our networks so we get the greatest customer experience from that. What kind of things did you pick up from the show?
AS: You know for us, really playing on that IoT theme and densification of wireless networks. There’s just such a phenomenal need for capacity that operators will be faced within the upcoming years. It’s really the theme that’s coming through for me at the show this year.
MA: I’m not surprised of course to see you at Mobile World Congress. Talk about a little bit why Edgewater Wireless is here with you today.
AS: For us being in the epicenter of the mobile industry, it’s a great place for us to network, build the brand, and, most importantly, we’re launching a new product here at Mobile World Congress this year.
MA: I’m very interested to hear about that. Before we do, talk about some of the Wi-Fi trends that you see happening not just here but but beyond.
AS: You know I think what we’re seeing in Wi-Fi is just a phenomenal need for capacity. Due to wirelessly or hyper connected homes and we’re seeing wireless lightbulbs, we’ve seen thermostats, we’re seeing refrigerators, all needing capacity. There’s just such a phenomenal growth in demand for Wi-Fi.
MA: So you talk about high capacity Wi-Fi, usually we think of stadiums, concert venues, those types of things. You’re saying the home is the new frontier for high-capacity, high-density Wi-Fi?
AS: Absolutely! You know, for us, we always thought the very same thing: the math simply works in a stadium. But now with all the wirelessly connected devices in the home, the home is really the next frontier in density.
MA: So talk a little about, I mean, there’s other technologies that are available, right, on the market today? Things like mesh networks. Of course you could deploy a more denser concentration of access points to get more coverage. How do those technologies fit in?
AS: You know there’s some really cool new technologies. Mesh is a great technology for adding coverage but it doesn’t necessarily address the capacity issue. The capacity issue in order to do that right you need to really innovate on the air interface and address the capacity right where it’s needed on the air interface.
MA: I understand you have a new product that you are launching here at Mobile World Congress and the new brand also.
AS: We’re really excited to be here. You know we’re launching a new brand called AERA: really focused on high density Wi-Fi solutions for the indoors. And we’re launching a new product. We actually got a sample here. This is our new product. This is the world’s only six-channel access point. Highest capacity access point that we have. Dual-frequency, 2.4 and 5 Ghz offering multiple concurrent channels in each frequency.
MA: Ok so I wanna hear more about this bad boy and what’s under the hood before we do that talk a little bit why you introduced the new brand and how does that relate to the Edgewater Wireless brand?
AS: For us, the new brand AERA is a real way to carve out our niche in the indoor high density space and gives us a springboard for Wi-Fi 3. Our multi-channel brand.
MA: Wi-Fi 3, a new brand?
AS: AERA is the new brand, Wi-Fi 3 is the power behind it.
MA: Gotcha, good clarification. So talk a little bit about what’s inside. What’s some of the new technology that you built into this product?
AS: So really cool stuff inside here. we have I dual-frequency 2.4 and 5 Ghz. We’re running multiple concurrent channels in 2.4 and 5 Ghz so we’re the only folks we can do multiple concurrent channels from a single radio. It gives us the real leg up and capacity and the density challenges facing operators today.
MA: You mentioned concurrent channel, that’s different tri-band, two-band radios?
AS: Exactly, what we’re doing is doing multiple concurrent channels from a single radio. Not separate radios so this is A really really difficult engineering challenge to solve.
MA: But I have to admit I had an unfair peek of this because we’ve done a lot of testing on this product for you as our customer. Talk a little bit about some of the testing that we did and maybe how that helps shape the direction of the product.
AS: Gosh, Mitch, you really beat the heck out of us in a labs, in a good way. It allowed us to learn about what we do best and you know how to position the product better. For example, we spent a great deal of time in the anechoic chamber and really understanding the total radiated power of the radios, where they performed best, and, most importantly, where they fit it in terms of the market segment perspective. It really came out as a stronger tighter product for us in the end.
MA: Interesting! You know, I always think of the anechoic chamber is kinda the dyno: we put the engine on to really know what this thing will do. But we also tested in our test house, talk a little bit about how that sort of real-world conditions improved your product.
AS: That’s a really exciting space for us to be in that test house. It really replicates what happens in the real world. You know It’s one thing to do something in a chamber but it’s wireless and it behaves totally differently in the real world. So taking that from the chamber to the real world allowed us to understand our sweet spot and really come away with a stronger position for us.
MA: Great, we sure enjoyed working with your technology. Talk a little bit, what’s holds in the future for Edgewater?
AS: For Edgewater, It’s really about increasing channel density. So over the upcoming weeks and years, you’ll see us increasing the channel density and really driving our position within that the high-density Wi-Fi space.
MA: I hope we didn’t beat you up too bad, you’ll come back and let us test that for you.
MA: That would be great and good luck! Congratulations on the new product and the brand launch. We wish you all the best!
AS: Thank you, Mitch!