***Disclaimer*** Please keep this in mind when reading this article: we are not Comcast support and cannot help you make changes to your account. When in doubt, please call Comcast. These steps worked for us, but may not work for you. In that case, we recommend replacing your Comcast-supplied hardware with third-party, compatible solutions (read our liberation section). Thank you.
We’ve been hearing a lot of buzz about a new service from Comcast that offers Wi-Fi to its customers nationwide. Unfortunately, there’s misinformation aplenty and very few helpful resources. Instead of adding to the chaos, we’re going to tell you what this service actually is and how to disable it. If you’re not a Comcast customer, you don’t have to worry about it. If you signed up for Comcast’s Xfinity Internet service, then you need to keep reading.
TL;DR – If you use Comcast Xfinity Internet with a Comcast-supplied router, they’re going to hijack your home Internet connection to make more money. Xfinity WiFi adds a new layer of cyber security risks and may negatively affect your speed/reliability.
Before we go any further, let’s address the main reason most of you are here: how-to disable Comcast Xfinity WiFi hotspot. *Editor’s Note: Comcast doesn’t know how to properly spell Wi-Fi*
How-to: Disable Comcast Xfinity WiFi Hotspot
If you’d like to disable Comcast Xfinity WiFi Hotspot in your router, just follow the steps below. Comcast made it more difficult than necessary to disable these features.
- Sign into your account at customer.comcast.com (as the primary user on your account)
- Click the menu item labeled “Users & Preferences”
- In the “Service Address” section, click the “Manage XFINITY WiFi”
- In the overlay window, click the button that says “Disable XFINITY WiFi Home Hotspot.”
- If you get an error instead of that button, try a different Internet browser.
- If you don’t see that button and just see information about Xfinity, you’re safe… but keep reading.
One of Denver’s best news channels, 9news, attempted to address this situation during June 12th’s broadcast. Let’s face it: this is a complex issue that most people just don’t understand. The 9news written article still doesn’t offer much help, so we decided to give you more information. 9news specifically referenced an employee who has Comcast service but couldn’t find a way to opt out of Xfinity WiFi. Neither could we… but that’s not because it doesn’t exist. The 9news employee probably has Comcast service, but doesn’t have a compatible network device. If your account doesn’t list a compatible device, you will not see the opt out button. Instead, Comcast will show you information about Xfinity WiFi and how to sign up. You know… advertising.
As far as we can tell right now, only Comcast Xfinity customers with the Arris TG852G or TG862G modems are affected by this change in service. It is possible that Comcast will add this capability to more devices in the future, but it requires very specific hardware that many customers just don’t have at this point. Keep that in mind when upgrading your service; you may need to opt out of Xfinity WiFi in the future. If you have a different modem from Comcast that has Xfinity WiFi enabled, please let us know. We’ll update this article with other model information as we hear about them.
I can’t disable Comcast Xfinity WiFi Hotspot, What now?
There are certain instances where Comcast customers don’t need to Disable Comcast Xfinity WiFi Hotspot. Check the bullet points below to see if they apply to you.
- Business Class Customers – you do not receive Xfinity modems; this doesn’t affect you.
- Customers with old equipment – unless you upgrade, you’re not affected.
- Customers without Wi-Fi enabled modems – if you use a modem that doesn’t produce Wi-Fi, you’re safe.
- Customers with self-supplied modems – if you bought a third-party modem and don’t rent your modem from Comcast, you’re fine.
If you fall into any of those categories, you don’t have to worry about this scandal. If you’re unsure and need help, just call us and we’ll sort it out for you. If you actually have an Xfinity Internet connection but still cannot disable Comcast Xfinity WiFi Hotspot via the website, there is still hope via chat support. We’ve seen reports that you can chat with a rep using the instructions below and they’ll disable the public hotspot for you.
- Head to Comcast’s contact page here: customer.comcast.com/contact-us
- Scroll down to the “Get in touch” section and click “Chat with an agent” button.
- Choose Trouble > Internet > Other
- Enter this description: “Request to disable Xfinity WiFi Home Hotspot”
- You’ll need to verify account information and answer a few questions, but they should disable it for you.
I don’t trust Comcast; what can I do to liberate my Internet?
Thankfully, there are several ways Comcast Xfinity Internet customers can liberate their connections from Comcast’s evil plan to take over the world. The easiest, by far, is to just ask Comcast to disable it by following the steps above… but that may not be a good enough solution for everyone. The next best solution is to buy a your own wireless access point (we love Ubiquiti WAPs) and have Comcast disable the Wi-Fi in your Xfinity device completely. With the Wi-Fi disabled, you don’t have to worry about Xfinity WiFi hotspots at all. At that point, just plug your wireless access point into the modem with an ethernet cable and set it up. Easy peasy. We can help you with this if you need it.
If you don’t want to use Comcast hardware at all, you should get your own modem. We highly recommend the Arris/Motorola SB6141 as a replacement cable modem. You may have to call Comcast and tell them that you’re replacing their modem with your own; they’ll provide any information you need (if it’s even necessary). You will need to return the Comcast-supplied modem to a distribution center to stop the monthly modem rental charges. The SB6141 still requires a wireless access point to supply Wi-Fi, so don’t forget about that. We highly recommend keeping your modem separate from your Wi-Fi device. However, if you’d like a modem that also handles Wi-Fi, we’d recommend the SBG6782 on the high end or the slightly cheaper SBG6580.
The last option is to dump Comcast. Honestly, we’d love to see this scandal cause a mass exodus from one of the companies everyone loves to hate. They’re getting too big and deserve a smack down… especially if the FCC approves the Comcast merger with Time Warner. Unfortunately, they have the most reliable service in most markets. Companies like Century Link don’t even come close to the feature/speed capabilities at a competitive price. That said, we’re not giving up our Comcast connection over this scandal… would you?
Okay, I’ve read your guide… why is Xfinity WiFi such a bad thing?
We believe that this is an egregious use of customer trust; just add it to the list. Comcast is seeing tremendous growth with very few barriers between it and total domination. Decisions like this undermine the privacy of their customers, but they feel invincible and simply do as they please without consequence. If we group together and educate other Comcast customers, we could send a strong message that says, “We are not your playthings; we choose our future.” Unless that happens, they’ll simply become invincible. This doesn’t scare me right now, but their next decision might.
For the security conscious, this really doesn’t affect you at all. Xfinity WiFi runs on a separate local network (it’s called a VLAN) that does not allow communication between your personal network and the public Xfinity WiFi. Anyone saying otherwise is spreading misguided uncertainty and isn’t focusing on the more problematic security issue: your Wi-Fi password. It may not be impossible for someone to use the public Xfinity WiFi to gain access to your personal network… but it’s completely unrealistic.
Think about this: Xfinity WiFi adds another layer and a potential security risk, but a hacker would need to find a vulnerability in a secured VLAN built by Comcast. That would take a lot of effort and offer too little reward, even for the most accomplished hackers. A criminally-minded hacker always goes after the easiest score; they want to do very little work and maximize their return. Any intelligent/lazy hacker would choose to attack your personal Wi-Fi; it’s probably not well guarded and has a simple password. How many of you use your phone number, street address, or name as your Wi-Fi password? All that information is freely available to anyone. That makes your personal Wi-Fi an easier score than Comcast’s Xfinity WiFi service. Could someone hack Xfinity WiFi? Maybe… but it’ll likely be a security researcher who would properly disclose the vulnerability to Comcast not a criminal trying to find the next score.
My personal beef is with Comcast’s blatant lie to their customers:
The broadband connection to your home will be unaffected by the XFINITY WiFi feature. Your in-home WiFi network, as well as XFINITY WiFi, use shared spectrum, and as with any shared medium there can be some impact as more devices share WiFi. We have provisioned the XFINITY WiFi feature to support robust usage, and therefore, we anticipate minimal impact to the in-home WiFi network.
The first sentence says that it won’t affect your speed. The last sentence says minimal impact. Which one is it? Ultimately, that doesn’t matter because it’s a straight-up lie thanks to a concept all providers use called “overselling the network.” Think of your local Internet as a pipe; there is a maximum capacity that pipe can pump at any given time. Most providers will “oversell” the pipe to 4 times its capacity before they consider upgrading it. I just verified that oversell rate with a network engineer for a popular provider a few days ago.
Let’s do some simple math. I have twenty neighbors and we all share the same pipe. My provider only has 5 units of capacity in our pipe, but they promised all 20 of us 1 unit each. They’re hoping that this strategy will make their service sound better and that our pipe will never reach its maximum capacity. If more than 5 of us saturate our connections at the same time it would become an issue… but they’re hoping that doesn’t happen.
Take that illustration to an apartment complex or a large, densely populated city. What if everyone suddenly stopped using the LTE on their smartphones and connected to your public Xfinity WiFi network? What if you were the only person in your apartment complex that had Xfinity Wi-Fi enabled? What if you lived above a Starbucks or another popular destination? There’s limited bandwidth to your device and, on the larger scale, your neighborhood. With enough guests in a concentrated area, it will absolutely affect your connectivity… it may even destroy it.
I guess I’m glad that Comcast is giving customers a way to disable Comcast Xfinity WiFi Hotspot… but unless you tell your friends about this guide, are they going to know about it? Would they even know where to start? Comcast definitely doesn’t want to make this easy, so we have to educate our friends. I certainly hope that this article made it a little easier for you to take back your rights as a consumer. Please tell your friends so Comcast understands that this behavior is unacceptable. Happy surfing.