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Old 12-07-2014, 04:36 PM   #1
lessd
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Comcast is forceing users of Comcast WiFi modem to create a public wifi hotspot

I just read this article and it does not make me happy.
I put this out, as all TiVo users use the internet (I would guess), and Comcast is providing their own modem/router/WiFi in a single box, I use my own purchased modem with phone connection and WiFi router. But many others use the convenience of the Comcast total system.


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So again, my ability to turn WiFi off via the “Users & Preferences” page did not exist. Calling the 800 number and going to internet support gave me someone who only suggested trying to disable & re-enabe bridge mode (which didn’t eliminate ‘xfinitywifi’). He then suggested I (get this!) read up on the Comcast customer forums on their website as “there are constantly updates to the firmware in our modems and this is probably just an update that has an issue at the moment.”
When I told him that wasn’t acceptable, he transferred me to the WiFi department (who actually seemed to be both U.S. based & knowledgeable!) This rep empathized with me and admitted that although I have the WiFi set to ‘off’ and I have my gateway in bridge mode, he could apparently see that xfinitiywifi was active on my account. THIS DEPARTMENT SEEMS TO BE THE ONLY ONE ABLE TO DISABLE THE XFINITYWIFI ON GATEWAYS AT THE MOMENT. Their direct # is 855-308-9453 (I’m glad I asked the clueless tier 1 tech for it before being transferred) I can confirm that this person was able to ultimately able to fix the issue.

The only solution, according to forum members, is to “buy your own modem/router,” a solution that seems quite simple. Sadly, however, there are also complaints of Comcast failing to remove router rental fees even after multiple requests. While most users are obviously fine with Comcast sharing their bandwidth, this Kafkaesque experience for those who dare think a bit different looks quite frustrating.

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Old 12-07-2014, 04:50 PM   #2
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Yes, been going on a while.

http://arstechnica.com/information-t...wi-fi-hotspot/
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Old 12-07-2014, 04:55 PM   #3
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This is ancient, no?
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Old 12-07-2014, 05:01 PM   #4
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This is ancient, no?
Yes over a year.
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Old 12-07-2014, 05:02 PM   #5
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To turn off..
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Originally Posted by comcast
We encourage all subscribers to keep this feature enabled as it allows more people to enjoy the benefits of XFINITY WiFi around the neighborhood. You will always have the ability to disable the XFINITY WiFi feature on your Wireless Gateway by calling 1-800-XFINITY. You can also visit My Account at https://customer.comcast.com/, click on “Users & Preferences”, and then select “Manage XFINITY WiFi.”

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Old 12-07-2014, 05:25 PM   #6
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Sounds like those who think they get a free DVR from their cableco. Free wifi router? Ha.
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Old 12-07-2014, 06:52 PM   #7
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Sounds like those who think they get a free DVR from their cableco. Free wifi router? Ha.

It is free. Just not for the paying customers.
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Old 12-07-2014, 07:08 PM   #8
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This is ancient, no?
It's both ancient and new. It's ancient that they're doing this.

But there has been a recent kerfluffle over users turning it off, and comcast turning it back on, comcast hiding/moving/disabling the ability to turn it off, and then CSR's being nasty to customers who want it off. And this has made another round in the press again.

So it's kinda new, but also old.
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Old 12-07-2014, 08:24 PM   #9
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It's not quite a "public" hotspot since you have to be a Comcast customer to log onto it. But I get WiFi over much of my dog-walking route thanks to it, so there's that (I have my own modem and router).
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Old 12-07-2014, 09:49 PM   #10
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So now Comcast owns the airwaves in your home. Got it.
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Old 12-07-2014, 10:42 PM   #11
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So now Comcast owns the airwaves in your home. Got it.
No.. Comcast owns the modem and is choosing to use it in what *I* and many others feel is a very inappropriate manner.

Solution? own your own modem.
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Old 12-08-2014, 07:04 AM   #12
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I have never understood why so many feel the wifi hot spots are a problem. I often use the xfinitywifi hot spots when out an about and have no problem if some passer by uses the one my box generates. It costs me near nothing (far less than the value of the wifi elsewhere) and does not use any of my bandwidth or effect any of my devices in any way. There is no security risk to my network.

Never understood why folks are so upset with this shared service. The Comcast provided Cisco box still does everything I have paid for and if it stops, they have the cost of replacement.
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Old 12-08-2014, 07:17 AM   #13
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I've never used xfinitywifi - isn't it ripe for being a honeypot?
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Old 12-08-2014, 08:44 AM   #14
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I've never used xfinitywifi - isn't it ripe for being a honeypot?
This Computerworld article agrees, although most of their rationale seems to be, "We don't know what they're doing, it might be Very Bad."
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Old 12-08-2014, 09:07 AM   #15
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BTW, AT&T hotspots (McDonald's etc.) pose the same risk to the wireless user.
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Old 12-08-2014, 10:56 AM   #16
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Does xfinitywifi use by guests count against your monthly data allotment?

I turned off xfinitywifi on my iPhone. Nothing like my iPhone connecting to it and it be a poor connection or needing me to validate I'm a Comcast customer and thus not sending an iMessage. Would rather just stay on LTE.
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Old 12-08-2014, 11:23 AM   #17
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Does xfinitywifi use by guests count against your monthly data allotment?
In those areas that have data caps, no, it does not. Nor does it effect the speed of your connection when its in use. IE the pipe is bigger than what you are allocated by your subscription, the xfinitywifi hotspot uses capacity in addition to your subscription.
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Old 12-08-2014, 11:37 AM   #18
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In those areas that have data caps, no, it does not. Nor does it effect the speed of your connection when its in use. IE the pipe is bigger than what you are allocated by your subscription, the xfinitywifi hotspot uses capacity in addition to your subscription.
That seems like a claim that needs a big gigantic "citation needed."

The idea that your modem is ALWAYS faster than you allocated speed and the modem can smartly allocate additional speed over your actual paid cap to JUST the xfinitywifi hotspot connection seems like a really fancy piece of engineering for such a mediocre feature.

What you're saying is certainly not IMPOSSIBLE, but seems unlikely and I'd need to see a source to believe it.

Link speculates:

Quote:
Some DOCSIS 3.0 modems have 4 channels in each direction, others have 8 downstream channels (from the Internet to you) and 4 upstream (from you to the Internet). It is possible that the Comcast gateway devices (Arris Touchstone models in Houston) are configured to send guest traffic over a different channel or channels than traffic from the homeowner. But, to be clear, this is speculation on my part.
But no confirmation. Just speculation.
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Old 12-08-2014, 11:47 AM   #19
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seems like a really fancy piece of engineering for such a mediocre feature.
Xfinity seems to think it's a big deal. Not having to use LTE when you're out & about has a certain appeal if you're on a limited plan.

The Computerworld article is full of speculation because the author isn't an Xfinity subscriber so he has zero firsthand knowledge.
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Old 12-08-2014, 11:51 AM   #20
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Let not forget the stranger sitting in your driveway to use your xfinitywifi to get his E-Mail, etc. That all I need is people parked on my street to get my xfinitywifi. If you were driving, the connection to my xfinitywifi would be to quick to matter as it not going more than what, 200 feet from my home at best.
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Old 12-08-2014, 12:24 PM   #21
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Put a Faraday cage over the comcast all in one... problem of unwanted wi-fi transmissions solved.
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Old 12-08-2014, 12:43 PM   #22
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At least in my case, and I would assume true for many others. I have a Comcast subscription at 50/10 Mbps. The Cisco router/modem is capable of 300/100 if I chose to pay for it. There is PLENTY of bandwidth for the xfinitywifi connection that is not going to me.

I also tested it. Had a friend log in to the xfinitywifi and start an HD Netflix stream while I had my server download a large media file. My connection never wavered and never dropped below the 50 Mbps I pay for. This was mid day on a Sat. The overall network speeds do drop a bit during evening prime time but again, my network speeds are not effected by the additional xfinitywifi connections. its not the pipe that is the limiting factor, its the Comcast network.

As far as the 'complexity' of a device to do all this, it's simple QOS router tables and has been in use for a LONG time on the commercial side. The Cisco unit provided to me has this sort of bandwidth manangement for my use as well as managing the two separate wifi networks. There really is no downside.

Never had anyone park in my driveway to use my wifi. Just a few folks walking the sidewalk with their dogs or folks from the minimart across the street. I really cannot tell who is on it, as I cannot see that device table, only the ones on my side of the network.
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Old 12-08-2014, 12:45 PM   #23
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Put a Faraday cage over the comcast all in one... problem of unwanted wi-fi transmissions solved.
That pretty much kills your own wifi network as well.
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Old 12-08-2014, 01:56 PM   #24
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Just turn off the feature.
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Old 12-08-2014, 02:00 PM   #25
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Use your own equipment. Comcast jacked up their rental rates anyway from what I hear.
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Old 12-08-2014, 04:03 PM   #26
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Use your own equipment. Comcast jacked up their rental rates anyway from what I hear.
They shot themselves in the foot on that one. At least on the business side. you see the rental rate is stated in the contract. And there is no provision to change it until the contact ends. They did anyway and they have no provision in their own billing system to alter the rental rate, contract or no.

All you have to do is call and ask to cancel the contract for breach. They quickly 'negotiate' a lower contract price point with the new rental rate included. Net smaller monthly charge due to their screw up.

Also, my annual average equipment cost due to replacement of routers, access points and modems prior to rental has been higher than their monthly rental rate. Between obsolete wifi standards and dead equipment. I have no complaint on the rental rate and the Cisco unit they have provided has been pretty darn reliable so far and has the latest 802.11n specs.
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Old 12-08-2014, 05:01 PM   #27
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Xfinity seems to think it's a big deal. Not having to use LTE when you're out & about has a certain appeal if you're on a limited plan.

The Computerworld article is full of speculation because the author isn't an Xfinity subscriber so he has zero firsthand knowledge.
I mean, I looked elsewhere too. No one has any actual information on how this impacts your bandwidth. We have claims from TWC that it's "minimal" but "minimal" is not "zero."
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Old 12-08-2014, 05:03 PM   #28
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At least in my case, and I would assume true for many others. I have a Comcast subscription at 50/10 Mbps. The Cisco router/modem is capable of 300/100 if I chose to pay for it. There is PLENTY of bandwidth for the xfinitywifi connection that is not going to me.

I also tested it. Had a friend log in to the xfinitywifi and start an HD Netflix stream while I had my server download a large media file. My connection never wavered and never dropped below the 50 Mbps I pay for. This was mid day on a Sat. The overall network speeds do drop a bit during evening prime time but again, my network speeds are not effected by the additional xfinitywifi connections. its not the pipe that is the limiting factor, its the Comcast network.

As far as the 'complexity' of a device to do all this, it's simple QOS router tables and has been in use for a LONG time on the commercial side. The Cisco unit provided to me has this sort of bandwidth manangement for my use as well as managing the two separate wifi networks. There really is no downside.

Never had anyone park in my driveway to use my wifi. Just a few folks walking the sidewalk with their dogs or folks from the minimart across the street. I really cannot tell who is on it, as I cannot see that device table, only the ones on my side of the network.
This is a good practical test, but not an actual proof of anything. I think we can all admit that the PRACTICAL reality is that it SHOULDN'T impact you, but the way the technology works, unless the router is opening a new channel to the head end for the Xfinitiy traffic, it *IS* using some amount of your bandwidth.

People walking by on your sidewalk wouldn't have time to connect to your wifi and do anything before they were past your house. It takes a sold 15-20 seconds for a phone to disconnect from one network and connect to another.
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Old 12-08-2014, 05:38 PM   #29
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the related story i read on consumerist today referenced an email comcast sent to customers, with a deceptive link for information that automatically places an order for a new rental modem:

Quote:
Over on his personal site, consumer advocate Bob Sullivan writes about numerous complaints from Comcast customers who say they have received e-mails from the cable giant saying that company “records indicate that your cable modem needs to be upgraded” if they want to take full advantage of the Xfinity network.

Of course, this doesn’t mention that one of those benefits is that the new Comcast-supplied equipment could be used to provide public WiFi access that piggybacks on your home WiFi.

Regardless, what seems to be the real sticking point about these e-mails is the link under “How to get your replacement modem.” Customers complain that clicking on the link doesn’t take them to a page with more information or a form to fill out, but actually places the order for the new equipment… which will cost them $8/month and possibly twenty times that amount of money if it’s installed by a Comcast-contracted tech.

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Old 12-08-2014, 10:48 PM   #30
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If someone is downloading contraband or making threats, it's going to be traced back to the xfinity customer's router.

The police can put the xfinity customer in jail for up to 48 hours without charging them, until they are satisfied it wasn't the xfinity customer. They don't have a special xfinity customer jail, they will go to the same jail with all the other criminals. Hopefully an inmate named Bubba isn't waiting to help the xfinity customer get in touch with their feminine side.
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