What is Xfinity

How to disable the public WiFi hotspot on your Comcast Xfinity router

If you have a Comcast Xfinity internet connection when you borrow your cable modem from Comcast, they likely host a public Wi-Fi network that passers-by can connect to. If you don't like that, you can deactivate this "xfinitywifi" network.

How does the Xfinity WiFi hotspot work?

CONNECTED:Your home router can also be a public hotspot - don't panic!

There's a good chance you're renting your modem from Comcast - look at your Comcast Xfinity internet bill and you'll likely see a $ 10 monthly fee for renting this box. When you use the Comcast box, not only does it manage your home network, but it also hosts an "xfinitywifi" network that can be viewed and connected to by people in your home.

This is technically not a "public" Wi-Fi network; but it is intended to be used by other people. All they need to do is be a Comcast customer and authenticate their devices (or pay Comcast to access it) before they can connect to the Internet. It is good for them and for you because when you are on the go you can connect to other people's "xfinitywifi" network Your Comcast credentials.

Comcast says that the "xfinitywifi" connection is treated separately from your regular Internet tariff. This means that it is isolated from your home Wi-Fi network and its usage does not count towards your internet bandwidth. Only five people can connect to this network at a time, and all internet traffic is connected to the people connecting, not you.

So this is not a bad thing. In theory, the only downside should be a slightly higher WiFi congestion and a practically undetectable amount of extra power when the router has to do more work.

For more information on this feature, see the Home Hotspot section on Comcast's Xfinity WiFi FAQ page.

Disable the hotspot on your Xfinity modem / router

We don't necessarily think you need to turn off this feature seems to be fine. So far we have not heard any horror stories or reports of problems. And yes, you can still connect to these xfinitywifi hotspots even after deactivating your personal xfinitywifi hotspot. But if you want to turn it off, you can.

When Comcast first introduced this feature, you had to call a phone number and speak to customer service to disable it. Now you can deactivate it online.

First, visit the Comcast My Account website in your web browser. Sign in to your Comcast Xfinity account.

Click the "My Services" link at the top. After logging in, click the page and then click the "XFINITY Internet" tab. Click the Manage Your Home Hotspot link and use the options here to disable your home hotspot. (You can also re-enable it from here if it has been disabled.)

If you're using your own modem instead of renting a Comcast-supplied modem, you'll see a message stating that you cannot currently manage your XFINITY WiFi Home Hotspot feature because you do not have an authorized wireless gateway at home. This means your hardware won't even be able to host an xfinitywifi hotspot. So you don't have to do anything to deactivate it.

If for any reason this page does not work, if you are sure that you are renting a Comcast wireless gateway you will need to call Comcast at 1-800-XFINITY and tell Customer Service that you want to disable the XFINITY WiFi Home Hotspot feature .

A better solution: use your own modem and router

CONNECTED:Buy your cable modem instead of renting it to save $ 120 a year

As we said earlier, this "xfinitywifi" network is not a bad thing. The biggest downside to renting a Comcast modem is that you don't even have to pay $ 10 a month.

Instead of continuing to provide a Comcast modem / router, consider buying your own modem and router instead. At a time when the modem rental fee was $ 3 or $ 4 a month, it might make sense to just use Comcast's proprietary modem. But the fee has gradually increased and is now a whopping $ 10 per month or $ 120 per year. We wouldn't be surprised if Comcast raises it again soon.

A solid DOCSIS 3.0 modem - like the widely recommended Motorola / ARRIS Surfboard SB6141 - will cost you about $ 70 upfront. It paid off after just seven months. You'll also need a WiFi router if you don't already have a separate router. However, it does mean you are getting a better router than the one provided by Comcast.

Keep this in mind, if you have a Comcast phone, the modem recommended above will not work. You need a modem with telephony capabilities. Comcast recommends some known compatible modems with the Telephony feature in the device list.

Make sure you buy a modem that supports Comcast. Comcast maintains a list of compatible devices online. Once you have purchased the modem, you can swap it out with your existing modem and set it up. You may have to call Comcast to say you have a new modem and provide the details. Send the rented modem back to Comcast - make sure you get a receipt stating that you gave it to them - and you should be fine.

Of course, there is a downside to using your ownmodem. If you borrow a modem from Comcast, they are responsible for support. If it breaks, it will be replaced or repaired. If your personal modem breaks, you will need to buy a new one or contact the modem manufacturer's support. There's one advantage to renting - but it's not necessarily worth something anywhere near $ 120 a year.

If you are a Comcast customer, consider buying your own modem rather than renting one. This closes the public Xfinity WiFi hotspot and saves you money on your bill. However, if you still need to rent a hotspot, you can at least disable this feature on the web without calling Comcast Customer Service and waiting on hold.

Photo credit: Mike Mozart on Flickr, Tom on Flickr