We have been reporting on AirTies for six years. The company has STB products for in-home distribution of content exploiting its mesh Wi-Fi technology. The latest Air 7410X is sampling now and will be the first OTT UltraHD system using Wi-Fi. The box can support UltraHD streaming and is based on a Broadcom chip. The package is very small, but has a lot of ventilation as the amount of heat generated is significant. Part of AirTies “secret sauce” in supporting UltraHD in such a small box is in managing the different components in the system and powering them down when they are not needed.
AirTies has recently made some significant design wins away from its Turkish base, and a large part of this is that the company’s architecture can supply 100Mb/sec of Wi-Fi bandwidth throughout the home. Chairman and co-Founder, Bülent Çelebi, pointed out that as many as 77% of TV viewers are also using their mobile devices at the same time, so providers have to ensure good Wi-Fi.
At the moment, the company has 3 x 3 aerials in its STBs, using 802.11ac to support 100Mb/s, but Çelebi said that the providers he is talking to expect to be supporting gigabit speeds to the home as a matter of routine in the next three years or so, and they want to provide that speed throughout the home. Aerials are likely to go up to 8 x 8 and because of the range restrictions for 802.11ac, it is possible that the technology will eventually get to the point where a dongle is in a power plug, with one in every room, in a mesh configuration. The company will also look at using powerline and arbitrate between the Wi-Fi and powerline data streams.
Çelebi told us that, increasingly, operators are looking to de-couple the Wi-Fi from the rest of its box because Wi-Fi demands are changing faster than the video. There are operators that have installed bases of 802.11g (let alone .11n or .11ac) numbering in the millions. Delivering OTT content by wireless from this base is a big challenge.