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  1. #1
    Lounger OneDave's Avatar
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    Unhappy Need details of Comcast "xfinitywifi" public wi-fi hotspot I'm hosting

    Installed new Comcast Cisco Modem Model # DPC3939B

    Noticed a new SSID: "xfinitywifi"
    Comcast Support says this is coming from the modem
    for Comcast customers to use.

    ---------------------------------------------------
    Is there a separate radio in the modem for this?
    What protocol is the xfinitywifi using? 802.11n? ac? g?
    What Ghz does it use? 2.4? 5.0?
    What channel (s)?


    What control do I have?
    Turn off xFinityWi-Fi only?
    Turn off 5Ghz only?
    Turn off all Wi-Fi on the modem?


    If I attach another AP, will the xFininty Wi-Fi show up on it?

    Thanks,
    Dave

  2. #2
    jwoods
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    You should be able to see the all the settings you mentioned by entering 10.0.0.1 (I'm assuming you are on cable instead of DSL) in your browser address bar, and going to the wireless section.

    You can change the name of the SSID.

    A lot of wireless routers/modems are set to channel 6, which can be problematic when 500 people in your area are all on channel 6.
    Last edited by jwoods; 2015-06-15 at 02:13.

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    OneDave (2015-06-16)

  4. #3
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    My ISP has the same system and I need to logon to their web site to opt out. The router has no controls for the public wifi.

    cheers, Paul

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    csmart4125 (2015-08-02)

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    Last edited by BruceR; 2015-06-15 at 08:59.

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  8. #5
    5 Star Lounger
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    Great question by the OP. Great answers by the WSF. What's the matter Paul, don't you want to share your bandwidth and Internet connection?

  9. #6
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    I haven't disabled it, just said that was how it's done.

    cheers, Paul

  10. #7
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    Interesting........never seen that before.

    A quote from that first link:
    ====================
    Will this impact the speeds I get at home? Will my Internet slow down when someone connects to my XFINITY WiFi network?
    The broadband connection to the home will be unaffected by the XFINITY WiFi feature. Your in-home WiFi network, as well as XFINITY WiFi, use shared spectrum, and as with any shared medium there can be some impact as more devices share WiFi. We have provisioned the XFINITY WiFi feature to support robust usage, and therefore we anticipate minimal to no impact to the in-home WiFi network.
    ====================

    They seem to contradict themselves in the one answer!

    This sounds like a decisive statement:
    The broadband connection to the home will be unaffected by the XFINITY WiFi feature.

    ...but then they end with:
    we anticipate minimal to no impact to the in-home WiFi network.

    That would _NOT_ fill me with confidence....just saying....


    -brino

  11. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by brino View Post
    They seem to contradict themselves in the one answer!

    This sounds like a decisive statement:
    The broadband connection to the home will be unaffected by the XFINITY WiFi feature.

    ...but then they end with:
    we anticipate minimal to no impact to the in-home WiFi network
    That's not really a contradiction, because the first is talking about the cable connection and the second refers to potential antenna interference.

    I'm more annoyed that Comcast expect to use my electricity to expand their network, even if it's only likely to amount to pennies per year.

  12. #9
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    thank you
    ruger22/45 Mark III rugersr9 glock 19 od
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    NAM VET

  13. #10
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    I use the ISP public wireless on other people's routers all the time and find it very useful - in the middle of a graveyard the other day - so I'm happy to pay for the electricity and possible bandwidth impact.

    cheers, Paul

  14. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by brino View Post
    This sounds like a decisive statement:
    The broadband connection to the home will be unaffected by the XFINITY WiFi feature.

    ...but then they end with:
    we anticipate minimal to no impact to the in-home WiFi network.

    That would _NOT_ fill me with confidence....just saying....


    -brino
    The Xfiniti SSID is configured as a Virtual network (VLAN), on a different subnet than your home LAN. Your network can't see the devices or data on the VLAN nor can the devices on the VLAN see the devices or data on your home LAN. This lets Comcast still allow you to use the full broadband speed that you are paying for, while also allowing the Xfininty network to transfer data. How? The connection to your house is capable of far higher speeds than most people are paying for. Comcast artificially limits the speeds to and from your LAN via the modem, so that they can charge higher rates for faster speeds (yet they still cap the amount of data per month at nearly the same amount in some markets! ). So you can be down/uploading at whatever speed you pay for, while the modem can also be down/uploading on the Xfinitiy VLAN at the same time by using the "extra" capability of the network connection to your house. The data moving across is the Xfinity VLAN supposedly does not count towards your monthly data usage.

    So, Comcast can prevent a loss of speed, but only on the WAN side of the network. What they allude to, but don't fully answer in their FAQ, is what happens on the wireless LAN side of the modem/router. The wireless radio in the modem is shared by all of the devices, regardless of which LAN or VLAN the devices are a part of. So, if you are trying to move a lot of data (to/from the internet, OR just to/from another computer within your LAN) your wireless radio will share its total bandwidth between your devices and any devices connected to the Xfinity VLAN.

    Now for the good news. I suspect that not many people ever even connect to the Xfinity SSID. It requires that you be a Comcast subscriber and you must login with your Comcast user ID and password. I don't see how that would be useful to most people in a typical neighborhood. If I'm at home, already using the 50 Mbps Comcast connection that I pay for, then why would I need to use the Xfinity SSID? I suppose it might be useful for someone that needs to travel with a laptop. Real estate agents could make use of it to keep their mobile data costs reasonable, perhaps logging in to their laptops to look up a property while sitting in a Comcast-served neighborhood (if they also are a Comcast subscriber). Maybe if you live near a park where people hang out with their laptops, then it would be nice for them to use. Otherwise, it just seems like a marketing gimmick.

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    AFAIK, this is part of their drive to have Xfinity WiFi available everywhere. In theory, if you have Xfinity internet service, you could go anywhere there is a Xfinity internet router and have access to the internet.

    That's all well and good for Comcast, but as far as I am concerned, it's like the electric company putting an outlet at the curb outside my house and inviting everyone to drive up use it as they please. I'm sorry, but if you want to allow public access to something that I am paying for, then I want a credit to appear on my bill for that.

    It really doesn't hurt me that it's there and it's not hard to turn off (if you know how) but the sheer arrogance of it all really ticks me off. And it's not like Comcast has been upfront about this and let people know about it. Reminds me of the plans to knock Arthur Dent's* house down that are "on public display in the planning office" as long as you consider locked in a basement closet behind a filing cabinet "public".

    *"Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy", if you must ask.

  17. #13
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    If you are feeling altruistic enough to share your wireless bandwith with in-range users (e.g. traveling salesmen, google streets trucks, the kids next door circumventing parental controls, folks who can't afford internet service), I might suggest checking out:
    https://openwireless.org/

    Of course if you don't mind donating it to your ISP to use as they see fit, it appears Comcast opts you in automatically.

  18. #14
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    What's the issue, it doesn't cost you anything and you can use the service when you are out and about?

    cheers, Paul

  19. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by HarryH3 View Post
    Now for the good news. I suspect that not many people ever even connect to the Xfinity SSID. It requires that you be a Comcast subscriber and you must login with your Comcast user ID and password. I don't see how that would be useful to most people in a typical neighborhood. If I'm at home, already using the 50 Mbps Comcast connection that I pay for, then why would I need to use the Xfinity SSID? I suppose it might be useful for someone that needs to travel with a laptop. Real estate agents could make use of it to keep their mobile data costs reasonable, perhaps logging in to their laptops to look up a property while sitting in a Comcast-served neighborhood (if they also are a Comcast subscriber). Maybe if you live near a park where people hang out with their laptops, then it would be nice for them to use. Otherwise, it just seems like a marketing gimmick.
    I agree that usage will be limited. If someone is checking their email, virtually nothing. Even that hypothetical real estate agent would be brief and probably unlikely. They need reliable data connections for their work. They can't chance relying on finding an xfinity shared hotspot.

    This is a very common system in Europe, though typically used in a different way. The public wifi channel is meant for cell phone users, not computers. It's for those of us with no data plans or limited data. It dramatically increases the number of locations where we can get wifi.

    In France my cell phone provider is Free.fr. I pay $2.20/month (no typo) for 120 minutes of local and international outgoing calls. (Extra minutes are very cheap.) Receiving calls or accessing voice mail doesn't use minutes. I also get a token amount of data.

    I also get free wifi access to the public channel of all Free.fr internet routers throughout France. The SIM card from Free.fr makes the connection encrypted (like a VPN) and does the login. I can't imagine I make a noticeable blip in the usage of any one shared router. I don't stream movies on my phone, or at least not standing out in front of someone's home or apartment building where I might be checking my email or a map.

    It sounds like xfinity's system would work similarly but it's tied to your internet provider (xfinity) and not to your cell phone provider. Since I'm not in an xfinity-served area, I couldn't use it.

    I should add that the European systems only work with cell phones that have compatible circuitry and software. All iphones do. Android phones typically have the circuitry but the Android operating system hadn't implemented EAP-SIM (Extensible Authentication Protocol) last time I checked.

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