Comcast turning private routers into public Wi-Fi hotspots

It was only earlier this week that Comcast turned approximately 50,000 private modems into Wi-Fi hotspots. These modems were in the Houston area and were the first step in Comcast’s plan to create a massive public Wi-Fi network for customers.

With this new plan, Comcast users will have the ability to log into these hotspots for free via their smartphone, tablet or PC. Upon the initial login, users will be automatically connected to other models part of this initiative.

Comcast stated that hotspots will appear as “xfinitywifi” and will be completely separate from the modem’s private network for very obvious reasons. As the modems belong to paying subscribers, the private network of said users will be separate from the public section of the network.

No public user will be able to log into the private nework directly for security reasons. By doing this, public users wont have the ability to access any personal computers, printers or other devices from the owners of the network.

This initiative is an opt-out system. The system is turned on by default without the consent of the customer. The customer must turn off the feature themselves if they don’t want to be part of this program. However, Comcast stated they alerted all of their customers several months ago to this project, allowing them to opt-out prior to the first roll out this week.

Customers who don’t wish to be part of this program are able to turn off the feature through their Comcast account page. The options are available under “Manage Xfinity WiFi.” If the user wishes to disconnect their network from the public, they will still be able to login to the public hotspots still part of the program.

While the concept of free public Wi-Fi across an entire area sounds very promising, many are still skeptical about the initiative. While Comcast addressed how all the potential security issues were considered, some are still nervous about unknown strangers accessing their private network.

Others are concerned that public users connected to their network will slow down internet speed, which is understandable. However, Comcast stated they are adding additional bandwidth to support public users and ensure that the users of the private network will still have the same speeds for downloads.

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