Internet service provider Common Networks is launching a peer-to-peer last mile WiFi service targeted at the suburban residential market. The company says it uses software-defined networking (SDN) to manage the network’s peer-to-peer architecture and resolve tricky routing issues.
The company, which was started by four former Square employees, has launched its service in Alameda, Calif., and has some introductory users. However, CEO Zack Brock wouldn’t reveal how many. “Our first set of customers are up and running,” Brock said. “We are ramping up to get as many as possible.”
Brock says the company puts about four antennas on a residential roof and then uses off-the-shelf routing components from companies such as Ubiquiti Networks and Mimosa Networks. In addition, Common uses the Linux kernel plus its own proprietary software to manage the client server and peer-to-peer architecture.
Common’s software communicates with its end user devices to see which users are online and uploads that data to the cloud. Based upon that information, the company then routes traffic to avoid bottlenecks. Common uses fiber for backhaul but is able to manage those costs by buying from tier 2 and tier 3 providers in a market.
The company says it can deliver broadband speeds of more than 50 Mb/s for $50 per month with no contract. New users in Alameda, Calif., can get six months of service for free.
Brock says that the more users the company has, the more robust the network becomes because it has more options for routing traffic. “We keep a close watch on our capacity, and will make sure we don’t oversell a market,” he added.