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Where is my wifi coming from?
Old 01-02-2017, 06:11 PM   #1
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Where is my wifi coming from?

I just moved into an apartment and ordered Comcast Xfinity Internet service, only. I have not hooked up a router yet, but an Xfinity wifi source shows up on my iPad. I was asked if I was a Comcast customer and entered my email address and password and am now connected. So, with no router, where is the wifi coming from?
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Old 01-02-2017, 06:16 PM   #2
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Did xfinity supply the router? Or are you logged into a neighbor's wifi?
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Old 01-02-2017, 06:17 PM   #3
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The guy next door?
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Old 01-02-2017, 06:19 PM   #4
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A neighbor's WiFi would require a different kind of login. Sounds like Xfinity may have a public router for the apartment complex.
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Old 01-02-2017, 06:20 PM   #5
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If you are using a Comcast modem/router then I believe wifi is there by default. I have a vague idea that this is part of a Comcast initiative to provide thousands of Xfinity hot spots around the country. I elected to purchase my own modem and wifi router rather than rent the Comcast unit.
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Old 01-02-2017, 06:23 PM   #6
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I think every home Xfinity cable modem around here is also a WiFi hot spot.

If you are a current customer you can login to use the system when you are away from home.

If you are not a current customer you can "buy-in" in some fashion.

I am not sure if the "primary customer" can disable this feature which seems to be enabled by default.

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Old 01-02-2017, 06:32 PM   #7
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Ah, that explains what I observed in my RV trek. I often saw Xfinity WiFi signals that were not open-accessed like free hotspots at McDonald. Now, I know those came from nearby private-home routers.

Hopefully, those piggy-back WiFi's have a reduced bandwidth, else it would rob data speed from the router subscriber that he pays for.
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Old 01-02-2017, 06:38 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by misanman View Post
If you are using a Comcast modem/router then I believe wifi is there by default. I have a vague idea that this is part of a Comcast initiative to provide thousands of Xfinity hot spots around the country. I elected to purchase my own modem and wifi router rather than rent the Comcast unit.
+1

Comcast/Xfinity business clients also have it accessible via the Comcast equipment. I believe you can even choose to have it on even if you had purchased you own modem and router. I personally chose to not have it as I can only think it can lead to nefarious shenanigans if someone unwanted were to use the unprotected link via my router and somehow gain access to my network...
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Old 01-02-2017, 08:14 PM   #9
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Yes, there's an Xfinity WiFi hotspot on every router they provide. You're seeing it there because one of your neighbors has not turned it off.

You can turn it off on your router if/when you get one by logging into your Comcast account through their web interface. It does use your bandwidth, but you probably wouldn't notice.
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Old 01-02-2017, 08:32 PM   #10
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Ah, that explains what I observed in my RV trek. I often saw Xfinity WiFi signals that were not open-accessed like free hotspots at McDonald. Now, I know those came from nearby private-home routers.

Hopefully, those piggy-back WiFi's have a reduced bandwidth, else it would rob data speed from the router subscriber that he pays for.
They say it does not affect the speed of the one who is purchasing....


And my speed is much faster than I am paying for... I just did a test and I am getting 117 mbps... I was paying for 25, but I think they bumped me up to 50 without any increase in price... still, getting more than twice what I pay for... BTW, this is the fastest I have ever seen it.... most of the time it is 75ish....
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Old 01-02-2017, 09:57 PM   #11
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We have Comcast, and the Xfinity "hot spot" "extra" service that is open to anyone who is signed on to their Comcast account. ( I could, but do not block this "hotspot" service) As I drive around my neighborhood, (almost entirely Comcast, as we have no other highspeed internet available)... I can see and connect to any one of the Xfinity routers in home where the service has not been blocked.

I leave mine "open", so our kids, friends and visitors can connect without me giving out my own code. Occasionally, cars trucks and sometimes stop in front of our house, and I know they are using my signal. No cost to me, and I trust that they can't hack into my encoded signal.

Where the wifi comes from? I'll defer to more knowledgeable members, but as I understand it, fiber optic cable runs through our area, but connects to terminals that provide the wire feed to our houses. In our Florida community, the fiber optic cable goes to the just outside the entrance and splits to wired connections to the 360 homes.

We pay for 25 mbps, but the 6mbps service is much less expensive. For considerably more ($100+) 100+ mbps service is available.

The only other service available here, is AT&T... DSL with a max of 6mbps, but more commonly 3mbps, or less, which just barely provdes for streaming service such as NetFLix.

Since I live in a CCRC community, most folks are not tech savvy, and don't know how they get their signal... ie., phones, tablets, computers. Not a simple answer... for a relatively clear explanation of the difference between WiFi and Cellular service, try this:

Wi-Fi and Cellular | OSP Magazine

The article also explains how the "hotspot" network is in the process of evolution.

There are many websites that document "hotspot" locations, usually in businesses, but there is no way to locate the home Xfinity shared service except by driving through the area, as shutting down the Xfinity "extra service" is optional, and can be done at any time.

That's my take... from observation, not geeky knowledge. Will watch to learn more.
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Old 01-03-2017, 04:55 AM   #12
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Our older modem does not have the Hotspot feature. Next modem will be purchased elsewhere. You can disable the feature in your online account.
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Old 01-03-2017, 05:58 AM   #13
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OP here. Thanks everyone. That's what I love about this place -ask any weird question and you'll get a number of intelligent answers. I was concerned that I might have issues setting up the new router, so it is still installed at our home just before closing, when I need dependable internet service. I'd never considered this optional convenience.
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Old 01-03-2017, 06:04 AM   #14
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As many others have said, Xfinity offers the hotspot feature as a paying customer of Comcast. But I am fairly sure, these are public and leave you open to hacking.

With help from people more knowledgeable than myself, I have begun to use VPN when connected to a public network. "A Virtual Private Method (VPN) is a method by which you can encrypt your data so that your physical location, identity and online activity cannot be discovered even on a public wireless network" Since many of us travel and end up using a public network, this might be worth investigating. Here is a link that tells you more https://customer.xfinity.com/help-an...pn-connection/
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Old 01-03-2017, 06:30 AM   #15
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I don't like that comcast feature. The open setting apparently keeps the guest users on a separate "channel" so they don't have direct access to your secured home network but it still seems creepy. Maybe I am just too paranoid.
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Old 01-03-2017, 06:53 AM   #16
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With help from people more knowledgeable than myself, I have begun to use VPN when connected to a public network. "A Virtual Private Method (VPN) is a method by which you can encrypt your data so that your physical location, identity and online activity cannot be discovered even on a public wireless network" Since many of us travel and end up using a public network, this might be worth investigating. Here is a link that tells you more https://customer.xfinity.com/help-an...pn-connection/
Did you take much of a performance/speed hit when using the VPN?

I have tried setting VPNs up (running in my house) so that when I was out and about I could route all my encrypted traffic back to my house and out again through my cable Internet.

I suspect that my inbound bandwidth at my house was a limiting factor.

Maybe I will retry in the future but running the VPN at Amazon Web Services (AWS) instead of at home.

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Old 01-03-2017, 07:09 AM   #17
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I don't like that comcast feature. The open setting apparently keeps the guest users on a separate "channel" so they don't have direct access to your secured home network but it still seems creepy. Maybe I am just too paranoid.
This is a feature you can get with wireless routers in your home. It is typically used for guest networks which allow logons for users that will get access to the internet and blocked from the intranet (devices on your private network). I still have these users having encryption and passwords, but I block their being able to attach to my computer, printers, etc. This allows me to have guests use the net, but not give them access or passwords to my private intranet.
This is likely what xfinity does. It will eat up some of the bandwidth, but if they give you extra then maybe you don't care. It will use you utilities which may disturb some users.
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Old 01-03-2017, 07:36 AM   #18
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Did you take much of a performance/speed hit when using the VPN?

I have tried setting VPNs up (running in my house) so that when I was out and about I could route all my encrypted traffic back to my house and out again through my cable Internet.

I suspect that my inbound bandwidth at my house was a limiting factor.

Maybe I will retry in the future but running the VPN at Amazon Web Services (AWS) instead of at home.

-gauss

We do not run out of bandwidth.

I was reminded not to use the VPN while on my home network as the VPN 'signal' goes back through your router doubling the amount of bandwidth used. So, if you are only using VPN when on public networks, it would seem that your use should fall within your contracted bandwidth unless you do much more computer use on public vs your own network.
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Old 01-03-2017, 08:13 AM   #19
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Someone help me out on this....


I read where people say that their guests can use the public signal so they do not have to give out their password.... but don't you need to be a Comcast customer to log in
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Old 01-03-2017, 08:17 AM   #20
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Just did some research on the GHz settings and they recommended using the higher settings (vs. 2.4 GHz) as there should be less interference in an apartment, but limits the range of signal...check it out.
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