Cape-Town based start-up wants to better public Wi-Fi system by providing tools to the service as well as monitoring the performance of the hotspots.
The start-up, called Asimmetric, has experts in the telecommunications industry and has financial support from angel investors. It has also secured a contract with a large South African Wi-Fi network operator; details have not been revealed.
The company’s solution is already installed in shopping malls, hospitals, hotels and restaurants in Johannesburg, Cape Town and Durban.
“Wi-Fi providers lack the tools to understand how users experience their networks,” says Asimmetric co-founder David Wilson. “Users can get stuck, unable to connect, login, access Facebook or stream YouTube, and the Wi-Fi provider doesn’t realise there’s even a problem.”
Founded by David Wilson, Ross Douglas, Michael Champanis and Fouad Zreik, Asimmetric have spent the past couple of years designing and building both the hardware and the software to provide detailed remote reporting, including analytics, about Wi-Fi hotspots to operators.
They have developed the “Bot”, a piece of hardware that is installed at a Wi-Fi hotspot. The Bot monitors the hotspot and uses services such as YouTube and Facebook, mimicking the actions of a human user.
The solution can even detect interference from other networks, allowing support engineers to troubleshoot workarounds remotely.The software evaluates the Wi-Fi user experience in real time on a series of dashboards, and alerts the provider to any issues. It also offers analytics to help diagnose problems.
“There are something like 50m public Wi-Fi hotspots worldwide; there’ll be 340m by 2018,” says Wilson. “Less than 15% of those hotspots are carrier grade today; more than 70% will be carrier grade by 2018. There will be huge demand for Wi-Fi offering an excellent quality of experience.”