When our teams set out to design Xfinity xFi, we wanted to create a new and personalized Wi-Fi experience that gave customers unprecedented visibility and control over one of the most important technologies in their home. To deliver on that vision, we knew we’d need to draw on lessons from our own transformation into a software-driven technology company.
Over the past several years, our engineering teams have shifted toward an Agile and DevOps model of software development, in which small cross-functional teams work in high-intensity product sprints to build new products, as well as new features and functionality. With xFi touching every aspect of the home Wi-Fi network experience, we needed to build it from the ground up, which meant we were sprinting a lot.
Teams of designers, software developers, user experience experts, and security pros from across the country worked to build the systems that power xFi. Multi-disciplinary teams based in Philadelphia (client and middleware engineering), Silicon Valley (product team and core engineering), and New York (user experience design) worked seamlessly together using conference calls, video calls, and Slack to stay connected in real time.
First, we had to build customized firmware for both our xFi Gateways. Thankfully, this process was greatly aided by work we’ve done in recent years to transition our gateways to open-source RDK-B firmware (RDK-B stands for Reference Design Kit-Broadband). That decision meant our RDK engineers in Silicon Valley were able to build xFi functionality into the RDK-B firmware stack in our gateways and make it available to 10 million customers on launch day.