If you need any further motivation to get rid of your overpriced modem rental fee, I just unearthed a big one. Ever wonder how Comcast’s Xfinity Wi-Fi is able to provide so many public Wi-Fi connections? Well, it turns out that if you are leasing a modem from Comcast (or other ISPs), they are likely using it as a public Wi-Fi hotspot, without you even knowing it.
And it gets better…
Not only are you paying at least an outrageous $15 per month ($180 per year) with the latest Xfinity modem rental fee increase on top of your overpriced internet package to lease their modem, but Comcast is then using that very same modem that you are being overcharged for to provide Xfinity hotspot Wi-Fi service to other Xfinity customers as a perk (they even used to offer “On Demand” plans to anyone for a price, but now solely offer Xfinity hotspots to subscribers).
One of the big downsides of this is that it could be slowing down your overall speed. At any given moment a limited amount of bandwidth can go through your device, after all.
On top of that, it’s been estimated that there is an incremental cost of electricity for using their 2 antenna modems, even if nobody is connecting to your modem other than you.
Furthermore, they are doing it without your permission by automatically opting you in via their terms of service (there is a way to opt-out your modem from Comcast public Wi-Fi hotspot use, which I’ll detail in a bit). I mean, why not offer to wipe out customers leased modem fees (or at least provide a discount) if they opt in to using the modem as a public Wi-Fi hotspot?
Do you feel your blood starting to boil? Comcast has a long history of sticking it to its customers, from overpriced leased modem rental fees (and even erroneous modem rental fees when you have your own unit), to never-ending price increases, and painful price negotiations, and other customer service battles.
So, let’s take action.
How to Opt-Out or Disable your Comcast Public Wi-Fi Hotspot
Disabling or opting your modem out of the Comcast Xfinity public Wi-Fi hotspot network is fairly simple on the surface, but there have been reports of customers running into issues, and you may have to periodically re-opt-out. Go here to manage your preferences and “turn off” (it is turned “on” by default).
If you run into issues, call Comcast customer service at 1-800-934-6489 (1-800-XFINITY).
The Best Way to Turn Off Comcast’s Public Wi-Fi Hotspot: Get Rid of your Leased Modem
Disabling the Comcast Xfinity public Wi-Fi hotspot feature is one way to prevent your modem from being used as a hotspot. However, it still leaves you with an overpriced modem rental fee and a device that uses more electricity than a typical modem/router combo.
There are a few ways to get rid of your Comcast Xfinity modem rental fee, but my best recommendation is to simply replace a leased Comcast modem with your own. It’s been estimated that over 90% of Comcast customers lease their modem, which is a costly mistake (currently $15/month or $180/year for their standard “xFi” gateway, or $25/month or $300/year for “xFi Complete”). When you use your own modem/router, Comcast is not able to use it as a hotspot automatically.
I have personally replaced my Comcast Xfinity modem with my own modem + router. Any of the following combos will pay for themselves in year 1 or 2, and then would be free for life after. And the setup and switch was simple enough for anyone to do. Customers of other ISPs can also cut their modem rental fee.
Recommended Modems (to pair with routers below):
- Motorola MB8611: up to 2330Mbps (DOCSIS 3.1)
- Arris S33: up to 2330Mbps (DOCSIS 3.1)
- Netgear CM2000: up to 2330Mbps (DOCSIS 3.1)
If you want Xfinity Voice, go with either the Netgear CM2050v (up to 2330Mbps) or Arris T25 (up to 949Mbps). Note: you can just as easily (and at a big cost savings) add landline voice (VOIP) functionality by connecting an Ooma device to your router.
If you want a gateway (modem and router combined in 1 device), I don’t recommend that because they aren’t as reliable and you can’t upgrade one half, but the Arris G36 (up to 2330bps and Wi-Fi 6) and Netgear CAX30 (up to 949Mbps and Wi-Fi 6) are good value options.
Recommended Routers (to pair with modem above):
All offer great value and top speeds.
- TP-Link AX3000 – Wi-Fi 6: up to 3000Mbps (2402Mbps on the 5GHz band + 575Mbps on the 2.4 GHz band)
- TP-Link AX1800 – Wi-Fi 6: up to 1800Mbps (1200Mbps on the 5 GHz band + 574Mbps on the 2.4 GHz band)
- Netgear Nighthawk AX1800 Wi-Fi 6: up to 1800Mbps (1200Mbps on the 5 GHz band + 574Mbps on 2.4 GHz band)
I also recently took a look at the new Wi-Fi 6E versus Wi-Fi 6 versus Wi-Fi 5 technology to determine if Wi-Fi 6E is worth the cost. Comcast has recently been advertising its Xfinity “Supersonic Wi-Fi” offering. Broken down, “Supersonic Wi-Fi” is really just Xfinity’s fastest (and highest cost) internet tiers (Gigabit or Ultrafast plans) paired with a new Wi-Fi 6E router (which they are marketing as the “Supersonic Gateway” as part of their package Xfinity “Supersonic Bundle” deal). Here are 3 of the most popular Wi-Fi 6E routers on the market at the moment:
- TP-Link AXE5400: up to 5400Mbps (2402 Mbps on the 6GHz, 2402Mbps on the 5GHz band, 574 Mbps on the 2.4GHz band)
- Asus RT-AXE7800: up to 5400Mbps (2402 Mbps on the 6GHz, 4804Mbps on the 5GHz band, 574 Mbps on the 2.4GHz band)
- Amazon eero Pro: up to 1300Mbps
So do yourself a favor – cut your Comcast bill while simultaneously preventing Comcast from driving up its profit margins on your back. And, while you’re at it, you should also easily cut your Xfinity DVR/TV Box fee, as it’s costing you at least $120/year.