Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Disabling that XfinityWifi home hot spot wireless interference

I got into a wireless networking troubleshooting a few years back as a Field Technical Advisor for First Technology Challenge with the FIRST organization.

The system that they had at the time (recently replaced) was based on 802.11b using a relatively low powered device on the robot that was named Samantha.  John Toebes was the brain behind Samantha, and at the time she was a revolutionary step over using Bluetooth to control the FTC robots.

Being 802.11b based, she would work with most any 2.4ghz router on the market (in theory, and there are interesting reasons why she didn't work with them all).  The other thing about 802.11b is that it was early in the standards for wireless, before it got really popular and the ways to deal with interference got much smarter.

As the spectrum becomes more crowded, signals are pushed out.  If someone is streaming something (like video) that signal actually gets precedence in the local airwaves.  In other words, activity in the local airspace interferes with other activity in the local airspace.

Why am I digressing so far from the title of the post?  I recently read through an article by Xfinity: "10 ways you could be killing your home Wi-Fi signal"

It has a number of harmless suggestions, such as:  Get your router off the floor, put it on the floor where there is the most use, don't put it in windows or behind your TV, etc.

All of the suggestions are about maintaining line of sight with your router.  Frankly, advice that we gave long before home Wi-Fi routers got to the great performance levels that they are at today.

Not once do they mention interference with other wireless signals.  Maybe because they (xfinity) create one of the biggest problems with their own xfinitywifi open access point.

I have had all kinds of trouble with xfinity wireless throughput since they started this open wifi program.  I have changed routers, purchased my own cable modems, moved up to low end professional equipment, replaced the splitters on the cable, used di-electric grease on the outside cable junctions, etc.

I got the performance to the point where when I was wired, I got the full throughput that we paid for.  But as soon as I went wireless I got 1/4 of the throughput.  It made no sense.  Especially since we used to have far better throughput on wireless.

Since I run my own router, I don't use the open wifi connection that Xfinity forces on to you.  Needless to say, I just don't trust them.

Believe it or not, they let you self service turn that off.  So you can be sure that your neighbors are not sponging off the bandwidth that you pay good money for (they can be beholden to the great Comcast too if they really want broadband).

Anyway, thanks for reading all this.  But I know what you really wan is this link: http://customer.xfinity.com/help-and-support/internet/disable-xfinity-wifi-home-hotspot

And just in case they move it or something else, I am going to copy it as well:

  1. Navigate to https://customer.xfinity.com/WifiHotspot. This site can also be reached by following these steps: 
    • Navigate to the My Services section of My Account.
    • Under the XFINITY Internet tab, click the Manage your home hotspot link.
  2. A new window appears indicating, "If you choose to enable your XFINITY WiFi Hotspot feature, a separate network called ‘xfinity wifi’ will be created for your guests - at no additional charge. Never give out your home network password again, so your private WiFi network will always remain secure. Learn more".
  3. Under the Manage XFINITY WiFi Home Hotspot option, if your wireless gateway is enabled with the Home Hotspot feature, the Enable my XFINITY WiFi Home Hotspot feature radio button will be pre-selected. If your Home Hotspot feature is disabled, the Disable my XFINITY WiFi Home Hotspot feature radio button will be pre-selected.
  4. To enable or disable the feature, choose the Enable my XFINITY WiFi Home Hotspot feature radio button or the Disable my XFINITY WiFi Home Hotspot feature radio button.
  5. Click Save.
    • Disabling the feature takes effect within a few minutes.
    • However, enabling the device will take up to 24 hours.
  6. You will be presented with a confirmation message at the top of the My Services page that says, "Thank you! Your hotspot has now been disabled."


BrianEh said...

So. This worked great, until today.
We had a power outage and after everything came back on line, the hotspot was still off.
Then, I am guessing that Comcast pushed an update to my modem, which turned it back on.
I went into the HotSpot manager, and that indicated that the hotspot was disabled as I had set it.
Sneaky Comcast. I had to enable, then disable again.
Honor your customer settings Comcast. You obviously don't re-apply the settings after you reset / update your customer's modems. Fix that!

BrianEh said...

I am corrected again. Making that change actually did nothing to the hotspot, it is still enabled. Damn monolithic giant of a company.

Anonymous said...

A friend of mine lives next door to a marina so he has been experiencing lots of bandwidth related issues. So bad that he often has to run Netflix on a cell phone connection. His new purchased modem/router arrived today and I'll be installing it tomorrow. So far Comcast has not setup customer owned equipment as a Xfinity hotspot that I'm aware of (they have not compromised mine either).