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For consumers, internet means Wi-Fi and that’s the technology of choice for their entertainment & work to security & convenience at home. In the quest to solve the home Wi-Fi connectivity problem, consumer spending on acquiring new Wi-Fi routers is on the up and Wi-Fi router manufacturers are enjoying a healthy profit, as witnessed in numbers posted by Netgear, which is USA’s largest supplier.
It’s not just traditional players but an array of new entrants – Google, Eero, Luma, Plume – that have joined the race to solve the residential Wi-Fi challenge. Mesh networks have been all the buzz in router technology this year to provide Whole Home Wi-Fi systems which are replacing single routers with aesthetically well-designed, multiple routers to give consumers complete coverage. Problem solved, right? Not really.
The new Wi-Fi systems are expensive (a pack of 3 Eero costs $499) but let’s keep cost aside for now – the bigger issue is that the home Wi-Fi engineer (a.k.a. Dad, Mom, tech savvy family member, etc.) still has no respite! There are too many options to choose from to determine which mesh system is better. Self-install, which is a key feature marketed for all the new Wi-Fi systems, makes life slightly easier. But having to guess how many routers are needed, where the best spots are to install them, and then ensure all devices and appliances have a good quality signal – not only on day one but every single day – is what makes this process frustrating even after buying a top end Wi-Fi system. And what happens when stuff does not work? The home Wi-Fi engineer will look for a new Wi-Fi router or Wi-Fi system.
BestBuy is known for selling your favorite personal and smart home devices, but is now stepping up its game: for an additional $99 per year fee , it will manage and setup your home W-Fi service.
So you buy the new expensive whole home Wi-Fi system to ensure you get Wi-Fi coverage across your house, then you add BestBuy’s newly announced Wi-Fi Setup & Support so that you get professionals to install and troubleshoot when you have a problem. The bigger challenge here besides the huge cost is that BestBuy can only solve a part of the problem as they do not control or manage the internet link to your house; for most Wi-Fi problems, a visit is needed as there is very little service providers can do remotely as they do not control the hardware or software on the new Wi-Fi systems. All they’re really doing is adding a professional service so that the home “Wi-Fi engineer” is not left hanging alone after spending a fortune.
This is where I believe ISPs are in the best position to solve home Wi-Fi problems. They not only deliver the broadband to your house but can also create a custom Wi-Fi service for you based on your need, and can manage the end-to-end infrastructure for an affordable monthly fee. Ultimately consumers care not about what and how many Wi-Fi routers go into their house, but what they, their families and their connected home need is a worry-free, always-on Wi-Fi driven internet.