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Telefónica to improve home networks with Wi-Fi investment

The operator has invested in Quantenna to help improve its IPTV deployments

Telefónica has made an equity investment in Wi-Fi chip maker Quantenna Communications, whose technology it will use to deploy IPTV services in the home, the operator said on Monday.

As network operators roll out fiber services capable of delivering speeds up to 100M bps (bits per second) to a growing number of homes, there is a looming bottleneck because of the limited capabilities of current wireless technologies, according to Telefónica. But Quantenna's technology will allow the operator to bridge that gap, and technology will be a core component of Telefónica's IPTV deployments, it said, without elaborating on when those would happen.

Quantenna was founded in 2006, and is based in Fremont, California. The linchpin in its Wi-Fi architecture is MIMO (Multiple Input Multiple Output), which uses multiple antennas to send and receive data. Quantenna uses a 4x4 configuration to achieve real-world speeds at about 300M bps (bits per second), it said.

Quantenna also uses beamforming and mesh networking to improve network reliability. Beamforming controls how each data stream travels, and using mesh networking the signal can be extended to hard-to-reach locations in a home.

Telefónica is far from the only operator interested in Quantenna's chipsets. They have been used in field trials with over 30 carriers, according to the company's website. Swisscom, which is also among the investors, was the first major provider to deploy a HD video-over-Wi-Fi service, it said.

The investment in Quantenna was made by Telefónica Digital's venture capital arm. Digital is a newly created unit of Telefónica that will develop entertainment, financial, machine-to-machine, cloud and e-health related services.


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