Have you noticed “Xfinity” showing up on your list of available WiFi networks? It seems to be everywhere – even in your house!
Well; it is everywhere. This is the network of public WiFi hotspots that are open to cable subscribers in the US. And almost every cable internet router generates one – including the one in your house, if you’re a cable internet subscriber.
Don’t let this worry you – it’s separate from your home or office network, and it’s not taking anything from your own connection to the internet. It does not allow direct connection to your computers or printers.
What it does do is provide a public internet WiFi hotspot. Anyone who is a cable internet subscriber in the US, and who happens to be visiting your house, can use it to get access to the internet. That includes you, when you’re out in public.
How Does It Work?
The cable router is actually running two separate networks. One is your own private network in your home or office – hopefully with a password to lock strangers out.
The second network is completely separate from yours, though it being run through the same router box (or “gateway” as Comcast is calling them). No device connected to the Xfinity network can “see” any of the devices connected to your home network.
Is This Good? Do I Want It?
It isn’t a bad thing; let’s put it that way. And it may be handy for you to have access to the public cable hotspots when you’re out and about with your laptop or smartphone.
Do you need it in your home? No. But as Comcast says on their website, “We encourage you to keep your XFINITY WiFi Home Hotspot feature enabled as it allows more people to enjoy the benefits of XFINITY WiFi and you will no longer need to provide your private XFINITY WiFi home network password to guests.”
Can I Turn It Off?
Yes! You can turn it off or on, and fairly easily. To switch it on or off, you’ll need to log on to your Comcast/Xfinity account on the Web, and then go to: https://customer.xfinity.com/WifiHotspot.
A window will open titled “Manage your home hotspot”. It shows two options: “Enable my XFINITY WiFi Home Hotspot…” or “Disable my XFINITY WiFi Home Hotspot….” Chose the one that is appropriate, then click the “I’m done” button. That’s it. You can turn it off, then turn it back on when you have company, if you like.
Is It Costing Me Anything, or Degrading My Internet?
How To Use the Public Hotspots When Away From Home.
Being a Comcast (or other cable company) internet subscriber entitles you to use the network of “free” (included with your subscription) WiFi hotspots. You may see other cable company names if you’re outside of a Comcast franchise area, or you may simply see “Cable Hotspot” in your list of available WiFi connections.
First; remember that these are PUBLIC hotspots – use the with care for information or entertainment, but never use them for sensitive private use – like banking or shopping or private data of any kind.
To connect; select the public hotspot from the list of WiFi connections and click “connect”. Then go to your web browser.
You will be greeted with a log on page, asking for your Xfinity (or other cable) ID and password. Your ID is the email name that the cable company gave you when you signed up for internet. (You need this, even if you’ve never used the email address for actual email.)
You can optionally select the checkbox to “remember me on this device” so that you not have to log on again. Then your phone or computer will automatically connect to the cable hotspots when you are in range of one. (This is not always good – as it may connect to the Xfinity network when you’re at home!)
Note that your cable account allows you to set up additional ID’s for family members, with separate passwords. These IDs can all access the public WiFi hotspots.
Hoping, as always, that this is all quite clear and useful; but please don’t hesitate to call if I can fill in some details or help with this, or anything else on your computers, phones, or tablets.
Mike Pepper ~ Computer Guy. www.PawlingComputerGuy.com 845-855-5824