Qualcomm, Netgear Team for Mesh Wi-FI Smart Speaker

This could be the start of a trend that may accelerate in the 5G era, as the symmetrical distribution of wireless connectivity becomes key to delivering cognitive smart office and home experiences.Qualcomm and Netgear on Aug. 30 introduced a new voice-activated smart-speaker device, called Netgear Orbi Voice, that is similar to Alexa, Siri and Google in that it understands speech and can carry out requests.

But there’s a big difference: This one is part of a Wi-Fi mesh network that actually strengthens itself and becomes more powerful as new plugged-in devices are connected to it.


Mesh Network Includes Plug-In Satellite Devices

“In a mesh Wi-Fi network, whether in an enterprise or home environment, there’s a box connected to the router or gateway to make an ISP (internet service provider) access point,” Ignacio Contreras, Qualcomm Director of IoT Marketing an Analyst Relations, told eWEEK. “You plug in some small satellite devices throughout the office or home so they have a wireless connection among themselves. They have intelligence in them; if one of the devices gets disconnected, the network can detect that and immediately start serving devices using another configuration.

“It’s the same thing with enterprise Wi-Fi; we’re used to that. But those are hundreds-of-thousands-of-dollars systems.”