Wifi is becoming increasingly important to home users . As a result, there are a lot of wifi-related threads on Geekzone . I've seen quite a few threads that seem to involve some kind of variation on:
(a) my ISP-supplied router is rubbish, since I cannot get a signal in my shed/garage/outhouse/lead-lined basement/faraday-cage kitchen or throughout my large, thoroughly insulated, 4 split level, house;
(b) I bought a lot of wifi repeaters because of (a), but my wifi is still rubbish;
(c) I bought a super duper 57-antenna toting, MOAR POWER, epic gamerz optimised, router because of (a). How do I set it up for my ISP?
[Tongue in cheek. No offence intended. I've been one of these people too.]
I'm wondering if anyone (ISP or otherwise) has given thought to some kind of wifi-as-a-service/managed wifi type product. Or perhaps (for ISPs) rather than differentiating themselves on offering the cheapest possible router to deliver their services, offering a decent router that still offers remote management capabilities/full ISP support. Tongue in cheek again, but given some ISPs still like to offer the fastest/bestest/gamerist interwebs, I would have thought that offering the fastest/bestest/gamerist wifi would have been appealing. This could be a full blown AP installation and cabling service, or perhaps just working with a mesh networking provider.
In addition to raw coverage, there are a number of other geek features that I would have thought a savvy-provider could bring to mass market via an app or remote management facility. Things that seem like witchcraft to my less-technology inclined friends but are hard/less desirable with $99 routers include:
- roaming around the house without manually forcing network changes (cough, roaming around the house at all)
- a separate, clean browsing enforced, wifi network for the kids, while maintaining a non-clean browsing network for the adults (solely for performance reasons, of course)
- a separate, timer enabled/privilege revoking, wifi network for the kids
- a separate guest network
- allocating bandwith available between networks or services so the adults can "work" even amidst children/guest bandwith hogging
I know there are some providers offering installation-only services, but I've seen some ridiculous prices and specifications (one friend was specced 6 ports on a patch panel, paired with a $700 (seven hundred dollars!) 24 port managed switch). From what I can tell, after-installation support is mostly visiting at headlines rates. I was kind of thinking a more compelling offer would be $X per month, with a lock in based on the number of units installed maybe (e.g. three WAPs = 3 year term at $X per month). I realise that would be much more appealing paired with an ISP broadband plan. Management would be by user friendly app/gui, with remote access to the managed support provider when required.
I've seen some similar service offerings in the commercial area overseas and here, but not retail.
This is just me thinking aloud. I have zero plans and no interest in doing anything along these lines myself. However, I'd be stoked if someone did bring it to market since it would mean I can wriggle off the hook for friends/family IT support queries in the future.