The sex appeal of your (operator provided) modem/WiFi spigot/gateway is about to go way up

The latest in the things people would forego, if they could instead have solid broadband and WiFi connectivity: Clean underwear. (Technically, in-apartment laundry facilities, as in, washer and dryer, but undeniably, “underwear” makes for a way better headline.) Last year, good WiFi ranked higher than sex, chocolate, and booze

That’s why some operators are putting a heavy design emphasis on that unassuming box, wherever it is (in the garage, in the home Geek-o-Sphere; under the desk, at the work Geek-o-Sphere) that serves as the household broadband spigot. Or, part of it: Right now, most people use a cable modem attached to a WiFi router, the latter usually picked up at retail. 

The trend is the “mambo box” -- stocked to its broadband gills with radios (WiFi, Zigbee, Bluetooth LE), Ethernet ports, DOCSIS (3.0 and 3.1), and SSIDs. A “spigot of life,” really, in terms of design goals and overall, for-the-better intent.

As mentioned previously, it’s comparatively difficult (understatement!) to show the sex appeal of things like dual-band, 2.4/5 GHz WiFi, bonded MoCA 2.0, beam forming antenna arrays, and switchable mid-split support between 42 MHz and 85 MHz (which you now know is an upstream-widening maneuver!)

Here’s how you’ll know that this next wave of broadband gateways is manifesting connectivity sex appeal: When you no longer feel compelled to run a speed test, because Netflix is buffering, or the upstairs laptop is taking forever to load Facebook. 

Or, how about this? Somehow, because of this magical new box, it remembers how to re-connect to every single thing (especially IoT devices, but even that old printer in the guest room) in your digital life -- even if you change routers, or otherwise have cause to change the household SSID/password. (My all-time favorite randomly-discovered SSID, which popped up one afternoon at an AirBnB apartment rental in Philadelphia: “ScrewYouChad.”)

It isn’t “wow, would you look at that!” sexy. More, it’s “wow, I can’t remember the last time I bitched about my connection” sexy. It’s about removing irritants -- that total void of signal in the upstairs bathroom (there’s a reason 19% of people have admitted dropping their phone in the toilet​!); the holiday grumbles with the full house of teenagers, tablets, and YouTube. It solves for WiFi and connectivity superiority, with a design goal of “it should just work.”