Cable operators ally to chase cloud-based Wi-Fi, as Los Angeles resurrects its citywide plan

Cable operators are leaning towards cloud-managed Wi-Fi as a way to efficiently meet the needs of enterprises that require robust wireless connectivity.

According to a Zacks Research note, large businesses are the primary target of an alliance of Comcast (NASDAQ: CMCSA), Time Warner Cable (NYSE: TWC), Charter Communications (NASDAQ: CHTR), Google (NASDAQ: GOOG), Microsoft (NASDAQ: MSFT) and the CEA, which have banded together as WifiForward with the goal of freeing up spectrum to more efficiently manage wireless services across adjoining networks.

A cloud-managed Wi-Fi network such as the one being proposed by WifiForward is "the most efficient technology for" enterprises because if offers "central manageability, smaller physical footprint and linear scalability," the Zacks piece noted.

Of course, the allied companies have good reason to pool their resources to chase this business. Recent findings by International Data Corp. (IDC) suggest that cloud-managed infrastructure and managed services revenue will hit $653 million this year and climb to $2.5 billion by 2018.

"Enterprises are seeing the big picture and definitely considering cloud-managed Wi-Fi for their remote sites when upgrading their networks," Rohit Mehra, vice president of network infrastructure at IDC said in a press release. "These upgraded network architectures can accommodate unique needs around bring-your-own-device (BYOD), scalability, application visibility and management."

Network simplification, an offshoot of managed Wi-Fi, is an important factor for enterprises with leaner IT staffs, IDC added.

Cable operators aren't the only ones chasing Wi-Fi. The City of Los Angeles wants to speed things along by reviving the old city-wide Wi-Fi network plan.

"We want to partner in the private sector to create high-speed access for every home in Los Angeles," Los Angeles City Councilman Bob Blumenfield said during a news conference in which the city released a request for information for "people or companies interested in helping the city build a high-speed network," Android Authority reported.

For more:
- Zacks has this research note
- see this press release
- Android Authority has this story

Related articles:
Internet usage is doubling every two years, says EMC; Boston builds free public Wi-Fi network
Comcast Wi-Fi hotspots reach 1M milestone
Report: Comcast thinking of launching a Wi-Fi-centric wireless service
Comcast, NCTA cheer FCC 5 GHz Wi-Fi order
CableLabs eyes augmented reality Wi-Fi maps

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