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Comcast Turns Houston Users Routers Into Public Hotspots
by Karl Bode 06:02PM Wednesday Jun 11 2014
In June of last year Comcast announced that the company was launching a new, Fon-like effort that involved new router firmware that turns your gateway into a publicly-accessible hotspot. More specifically, update routers would now offer two signals: one being yours, and the other being a "xfinitywifi" SSID signal providing free Wi-Fi to other Comcast users in your general area.

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Fortunately, users can disable this functionality if they don't want to share their bandwidth with strangers, but Comcast says this functionality is enabled by default.

The public usage also thankfully doesn't count against your Comcast usage cap (if you have one in your market), but it will obviously consume some of your bandwidth (though Comcast claims they push a little extra bandwidth when the feature is active so it all balances out).

The effort has been seeing scattered deployment on a market-by-market basis, and in a few instances the new functionality has confused the hell out of some Comcast users, who didn't know they'd suddenly be offering free Wi-Fi to others.

This week the functionality appears to be getting turned on for Houston customers. Much like the national deployment Houston's launch appears staggered, with Comcast enabling the functionality 50,000 Houston users at a time through the rest of the month. Other Comcast markets will see the update as the year rolls on.

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Wakefield, MA
·Verizon FiOS

3 recommendations

reply to dickie541

Re: How about some compensation, Comcast?

Sir the security geniuses at comcast already thought of that ! They put a comcast logo on the login page... Oh wait... that doesn't make it secure ?

Way too many security concerns about this. I might just as a joke actually do that and capture login info. It's not illegal it's my network not comcasts.
"It's always funny until someone gets hurt......and then it's absolutely friggin' hysterical!"



2 recommendations

Usage caps bypassed

I have mixed feelings about this, but there may be an upside to all those who are concerned about caps on their home service. Since usage on this xfinity wifi network doesn't count against the resident's measured usage (in areas that have it), does that mean you can then connect your home wifi devices like your streaming player to this wifi network and then essentially have unlimited streaming?

Or once you log into an xfinity wifi point, does that usage get pegged against your home modem account?

Comcast's xfinitywifi authentication seems to be based on MAC address and probably a RADIUS server, so you'd have to get your streaming player's MAC address authorized, but that's pretty simple to do.



10 recommendations

reply to Bob61571

Re: How about some compensation, Comcast?

said by Bob61571:

I would disable this, IF I were a Comcast customer. AND, if Comcast asked me about it, I would attempt to bargain for some type of compensation. Seems only right to me.

Or instead, have some fun. I don't have a Comcast router, but my router has the ability to create vistitor SSIDs. So I created one called xfinitywifi and applied WPA2 security to it so no one could log on. My router log has shown users trying to connect but getting rejected for security failures.

Dallas, PA

3 recommendations

No rental fee

I've been impressed with xfinitywifi so far. They should remove the rental fee as an incentive to keep this feature on, though. It feels a bit shady piggybacking on equipment customers are paying for. Then again, this is a cableco we're talking about.