Ottawa’s Edgewater Wireless looks to disrupt Wi-Fi industry with dual-channel platform

multi-lane wifi
Edgewater Wireless CEO Andrew Skafel says dual-channel Wi-Fi is "the transition from the equivalent of a single-lane road to a multi-lane highway.” Stock image for representation purposes only.

An Ottawa tech firm has tapped the cable industry’s R&D arm to develop a new open-source platform with the potential to disrupt how we access Wi-Fi.

On Wednesday, Edgewater Wireless (TSX-V:YFI) and its partner CableLabs unveiled “dual channel” Wi-Fi, an open-source platform that expands the capabilities of wireless connectivity. While traditional Wi-Fi access points send and receive data through a single channel, the dual channel approach reserves a single lane for downloads – an innovation that Edgewater CEO Andrew Skafel believes could revolutionize Wi-Fi in the home.

“Imagine no more dropouts, no more lag, seamless connections for video applications or gaming,” he says. “This is really the start of what could become the next standard in Wi-Fi.”

Skafel says the rise of online gaming and over-the-top streaming services such as Netflix has put more stress than was ever intended on traditional Wi-Fi access points, which were first introduced some 20 years ago. Adding dedicated download channels for services with high-bandwidth demands is a more efficient use of Wi-Fi spectrum, he explains, and can essentially reduce data pileups.

“What we're talking about here is the transition from the equivalent of a single-lane road to a multi-lane highway.”

The foundational code to enable dual channel in Wi-Fi access points, tablets, televisions and gaming systems is open source, so Edgewater won’t have exclusive reins over the connectivity innovation.

On the other hand, Skafel says that the company will have an edge working with OEM providers and even semiconductor chip makers as one of the primary developers of the dual-channel platform.

“We can add dedicated data channels to more devices than anyone else on the market today,” he says.

Edgewater’s partner in the endeavour, CableLabs, is the cable industry’s non-profit R&D arm, which seeks to help its members commercialize new innovations. Edgewater first started working with the industry giant back in 2016 as part of its accelerator program and has since been in close collaboration working on new tech such as dual-channel.

Plugging into the R&D power of the entire cable industry has been an undeniable boon for Edgewater, Skafel says.

“When we completed the program, the CEO of CableLabs said to us, ‘Welcome to the family.’”