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Users Bear Power Costs of New Comcast Open Wi-Fi Hotspots
by Karl Bode 05:40PM Monday Aug 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, updated 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.

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), and Comcast will push more bandwidth your direction to compensate for additional strain on your line.

A few months back, connection-bonding outfit Speedify issued a report highlighting how Comcast's sharing routers would cost users around $23 per year in additional power costs (not much individually, but significant at scale). Comcast contested the findings, sending the company a newer Cisco router (DPC3939B) to test. To hear Speedify tell it, the additional power consumption actually got worse with the new hardware Comcast provided:
The idle power is as high as the peak power from the old devices that I complained about last time. Meanwhile, the new router under Xfinity public WiFi load only translates to about $8 extra in electricity costs per year, which no longer seems like much next to the $20-28 per year it’s pulling while idle. The bottom-line is that the new box uses more electricity than a traditional router, but it’s worth noting that the new router is a combination of all the separate hardware components you used to need to get online.
The report also laments that the new units are, as you'd expect with new hardware, somewhat buggy. Your thoughts? Do you mind the small additional costs in order to expand Comcast's network of public Wi-Fi hotspots?

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reply to PlusOne

Re: Power

Well, running a few servers in several datacenters around the country versus running millions of hotspots is kinda a different scale, huh? Also, the Netflix servers help Comcast's value proposition. The hotspots don't help the customer ( though they do help Comcast)

Quakertown, PA

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reply to jobias

Re: 2v4?

Business equipment that provided it had a extra wifi access point added to the setup. When its a residential account all is done with the modem gateway combo unit. The average residential account is never going to power down the gateway anyway. They dont really mention that in the test. They ran the test with a extra piece of equipment in the equation. Something we as residential customers dont have. This really is a apple and orange comparison for residential customers.

As a residential customer the difference would be what power your modem is using passing traffic compared to what it uses sitting idle when your not on it. I would be surprised if its actually 25 cents a month and that would be if anyone actually logged onto it. Easy way to tell is get a meter and check. Than figure the 10 minutes or so someone may have logged onto it. Anyone that actually believes this causes your electric bill to go up 18 dollars. I have a bridge to sell you.

Heres a guy that take sit to the extreme »www.dicks-website.eu/modem/enind ··· dex.html Considering my modems power supply output uses a 12 volt 7amp output thats the most power that can be used. That means i can power 7 modems for less than a 70 watt light bulb. You do the math. And again that only even comes into effect if someone actually logs onto it. Look at the power supply to your gateway and than try to imagine that little thing trying to push out 18 dollars worth of electric. Like i said if you want to buy into this bullshit i have a few bridges that are really cheap.