Comcast’s WiFi Pro Launches

Carl Weinschenk

Comcast’s WiFi Pro, a managed Wi-Fi service that supports both employees and guests at business locations, has begun operations. The service features adjustable bandwidth allocation, filter settings and guest access rules.

Mari Silbey at Lightreading suggests that WiFi Pro could be a sign that business services – a category in which cable operators have had middling success – could be gaining more emphasis:

The cable industry is relying on the growth of business services to combat video declines and increasing broadband market saturation. The move into managed WiFi offerings is a natural extension of cable operators' existing WiFi hotspot efforts, and for Comcast, it's a must-have as the company begins its push into the large enterprise sector.

Silbey points out that Comcast is trying to band with other operators to go after commercial business. That suggests that WiFi Pro could end up as a service offered beyond Comcast’s borders by other operators.

Big Companies Jump into OCP

Verizon, AT&T, Deutsche Telekom, SK Telecom and Equinix have joined the Open Compute Project (OCP). The Facebook-led initiative enables end-user companies to design “their own, no-frills hardware” such as servers, network and storage gear, writes James Niccolai at Computerworld. The idea is that the members can design precisely what they need, without differentiation that is not needed and adding disproportionately to the price tag.

The story describes OCP as a way companies could deal with a landscape in which innovation is great, demand is accelerating, and networking concepts are shifting as the cloud, software-defined networks and network functions virtualization (SDN and NFV) and other approaches change users’ needs. These shifts are driving big end users to seek control, so one approach is OCP, which has already designed two switches for cloud and enterprise use.

Bye Bye Java

The browser world has had no shortage of milestones recently, including the end of support for many versions of Internet Explorer. Another was passed this week as Oracle said that it will retire the Java browser plugin. It won’t be missed.

The Verge offered context:

Google removed the technology needed for Java applets in September, and Microsoft's latest Windows 10 operating system shipped with its Edge browser six months ago without support for plugins like Java. Mozilla has announced plans to remove support for plugins like Silverlight and Java in Firefox by the end of the year. Oracle is now planning to deprecate the Java browser plugin in its JDK 9 release due in September.

The Verge piece conceded that it is not easy to say when Java will fully fade away. Oracle’s move, of course, is a big step in that direction.

Apple Pay Coming to BoA, Wells Fargo ATMs

Bank of America and Wells Fargo are working with Apple to integrate Apple Pay into their automated teller machines (ATMs).

The move is still in the speculative stage. Josh Constine at TechCrunch said that engineers at both companies are on multi-month assignments creating the systems. He describes an exchange with Jonathan Velline, Wells Fargo’s head of ATMs, in which a tacit acknowledgement of the plan was made.

Constine presented the concept as an enhancer to security. Such a system may reduce fraud. A fingerprint scanner could be included and Apple Pay passcodes are more secure than those generally used by debit cards. Card skimming would be addressed:

These devices fit over the front of ATMs as a fake facade, and then steal the information from cards inserted into them. Switching to NFC and mobile phones would prevent this since there would be no card involved.

First to Five (G, That Is)

Stockholm, Sweden and Tallinn, Estonia will be the first cities in which 5G networks will be offered.

TeliaSonera and Ericsson said that they will roll out services in both cities in 2018. NetworkWorld provides a list of what a 5G network will offer. Experts say that 5G won’t truly be available until 2020, however. It remains to be seen if the services offered by the companies will be true 5G or simply better than today’s LTE networks – with the high-profile moniker attached.

Carl Weinschenk covers telecom for IT Business Edge. He writes about wireless technology, disaster recovery/business continuity, cellular services, the Internet of Things, machine-to-machine communications and other emerging technologies and platforms. He also covers net neutrality and related regulatory issues. Weinschenk has written about the phone companies, cable operators and related companies for decades and is senior editor of Broadband Technology Report. He can be reached at and via twitter at @DailyMusicBrk.


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