A new article from Light Reading claims there’s more to consider about cable’s home-based Wi-Fi hotspots than most people know. Under the industry’s Community Wi-Fi initiative, U.S. cable companies are expanding their Wi-Fi footprint by activating wireless home routers for use as public, shared hotspots. Guest users are separated from home users, and traffic is managed and accounted for very differently. Even so, Community Wi-Fi is still based on shared spectrum, so the use of a public SSID on a home router can still cause performance problems for the private hotspot subscriber.
The article notes that it’s difficult to predict what will happen as community hotspot networks continue to grow and more consumers make use of them. In densely populated areas, or in locations that are next to places like parks or swimming pools, network congestion could become a problem. Previously, the only way for a guest user to access a subscriber’s Wi-Fi at home was if the owner kept that Wi-Fi connection open and unencrypted. Now, from a bandwidth perspective—although not a security one—a subscriber’s wireless connection is open by default in many home hotspot deployments.