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KodaCloud provides Wi-Fi management, access points for monthly fee

Startup KodaCloud is providing access points and Wi-Fi management for a monthly fee. The service is aimed at small and medium-sized businesses.

Startup KodaCloud Inc. has launched a Wi-Fi subscription service that includes 802.11ac access points and a cloud-based...

management system that uses machine learning to spot and correct performance problems.

The Campbell, Calif., company, which debuted its Wi-Fi management service this week, is initially targeting small and medium-sized businesses that do not need higher-level network services, such as security gateways or load balancing. KodaCloud hopes to provide such services through partners in the future to sell to larger companies.

Meanwhile, the company is focusing on businesses that depend only on an internet service provider for network connectivity. Those organizations, such as a small hotel, likely want a fully managed Wi-Fi network, which is what KodaCloud provides at an average cost of $25 to $30 a month per access point (AP).

Wireless LAN vendors have provided cloud-based Wi-Fi management for several years. KodaCloud is hoping to build a business around companies that want their provider to take responsibility for the whole Wi-Fi network -- hardware, software, maintenance and management.

"They are targeting a customer without IT capacity that wants to avoid Capex and is comfortable with a public cloud service," said Nolan Greene, an analyst at IDC. "Their value proposition is certainly specific, targeted and differentiated, and in tune with why customers value cloud-managed WLAN."

KodaCloud automates network management

KodaCloud has lowered the cost of providing its service by automating network adjustments to deal with the connectivity problems that can frustrate mobile device users. The system knows the connectivity parameters of each device on the network and, based on policies stored in the cloud, will take corrective action when needed.

KodaCloud uses machine learning to create policies to correct problems that fall outside the norm. If the Wi-Fi management system fails, then the problem is sent to a support person to fix. The automated system handles roughly 90% of all connectivity issues, according to the vendor.

Roughly 100 managed service providers offer KodaCloud's service. About 50 organizations, totaling 500 access points, use the service.

KodaCloud, which has 25 employees, raised $10 million last year from its first round of funding. Investors include Comcast Ventures, Celtic House Venture Partners and Voyager Capital.

KodaCloud is the second startup in four months to introduce a cloud-based Wi-Fi management service. Mist, based in Mountain View, Calif., rolled out in June a system that combines big data and machine learning to track user behavior and ensure network performance.

Mist has tailored its service to retailers, universities and other enterprises that have a need for Bluetooth Low Energy beacons. The company has embedded a virtualized version of the technology in its 80211.ac Wave 2 APs. The vBLE beacon lets organizations deploy wayfinding, promotional and informational services more rapidly by eliminating the need to buy separate, battery-powered beacons.

Mist and KodaCloud market their services primarily through managed service providers. Mist, however, sells its APs for $1,385 apiece and charges $150 to $225 a year per AP for the service.

Next Steps

Troubleshooting Android Wi-Fi connection problems

Incorporating hybrid technologies in an enterprise Wi-Fi network

Key functional elements of Wi-Fi Aware

Dig Deeper on Wireless LAN Implementation

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How well does cloud-based network management perform in your organization?
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How does this compare with what the major carriers are offering? Would love to see a comparison in terms of security, speeds, pricing, ease of use, etc. 

--Karen Bannan for IDG and AT&T
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