Nokia expands home networking reach with mesh Wi-Fi product

Coming in June, Nokia's mesh networking products for the home will be sold through carriers

Nokia wants to help carriers upgrade their mobile networks to 5G -- but it also wants to give home Wi-Fi a boost, President and CEO Rajeev Suri revealed Sunday.

The networking equipment vendor will soon release a range of mesh Wi-Fi products, including gateways and associated "beacons" intended to improve in-home connectivity.

Suri showed off one of the beacons at a news conference in Barcelona on the eve of Mobile World Congress.

Housed in a sleek white case, it is intended to support high-bandwidth applications such as streaming VR (virtual reality) or remote video monitoring of the elderly.

"It's far better than those nasty black boxes that typically get hidden in a closet," he said.

The beacons use machine learning to optimize connections for different devices. Nokia says they can detect 17 different sources of interference, including Bluetooth speakers, cordless phones and microwave ovens, and route around them using dynamic path selection.

Nokia has been dipping in and out of the consumer market for years, first selling its smartphone business to Microsoft, then buying Withings, a French maker of connected health devices, before selling the remains of its smartphone business to HMD, which still operates under the Nokia brand.

But Nokia's home Wi-Fi devices won't be offered directly to consumers when they go on sale in June: They'll be sold via service providers as part of Nokia's end-to-end networking portfolio, and will integrate with its smart home gateways. Nokia already has 47 million home gateways installed worldwide.

Nokia's mesh networking devices are self-organizing and self-healing, and are able to re-route in under half a second if a network node fails or is disconnected, the company says. That ability to spot problems and resolve them before the customer has time to complain is important for service providers: 30 percent of support calls from their customers are related to poorly performing Wi-Fi, Suri said.

rajeev suri nokia unium Nokia

Nokia President and CEO Rajeev Suri announced the company's plan to acquire mesh networking specialist Unium at a news conference in Barcelona on Feb. 25, 2018.

Suri also announced that Nokia is buying U.S. mesh networking specialist Unium, the company behind some of the software smarts in Nokia's new products.

When technology companies make acquisitions like this, they often struggle to integrate the expertise they have bought into their ongoing product range. Not so Nokia, which has been working with Unium for some time. It will demonstrate its integration of Unium's software on its stand at Mobile World Congress in Barcelona this week, and expects to close the acquisition by the end of March.

Join the newsletter!


Sign up to gain exclusive access to email subscriptions, event invitations, competitions, giveaways, and much more.

Membership is free, and your security and privacy remain protected. View our privacy policy before signing up.

Error: Please check your email address.

Tags MWC 2018

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.
Peter Sayer

Peter Sayer

IDG News Service
Show Comments

Brand Post

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles


PCW Evaluation Team

Jack Jeffries


As the Maserati or BMW of laptops, it would fit perfectly in the hands of a professional needing firepower under the hood, sophistication and class on the surface, and gaming prowess (sports mode if you will) in between.

Taylor Carr


The MSI PS63 is an amazing laptop and I would definitely consider buying one in the future.

Christopher Low

Brother RJ-4230B

This small mobile printer is exactly what I need for invoicing and other jobs such as sending fellow tradesman details or step-by-step instructions that I can easily print off from my phone or the Web.

Aysha Strobbe

Microsoft Office 365/HP Spectre x360

Microsoft Office continues to make a student’s life that little bit easier by offering reliable, easy to use, time-saving functionality, while continuing to develop new features that further enhance what is already a formidable collection of applications

Michael Hargreaves

Microsoft Office 365/Dell XPS 15 2-in-1

I’d recommend a Dell XPS 15 2-in-1 and the new Windows 10 to anyone who needs to get serious work done (before you kick back on your couch with your favourite Netflix show.)

Maryellen Rose George

Brother PT-P750W

It’s useful for office tasks as well as pragmatic labelling of equipment and storage – just don’t get too excited and label everything in sight!

Featured Content

Product Launch Showcase

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?