“Free” access comes at a cost
Comcast sent us the standard business Xfinity Hotspot setup for use in our office (this is different than the residential equipment). This includes a Cisco DPC3008 cable modem and BelAir 20E Wi-Fi router, which broadcasts the Xfinity public hotspot. It’s worth noting that this is totally separate from the Netgear CG3000DCR cable modem that supplies our office Internet gateway. We started testing by plugging both devices into a power strip, which was being monitored by a Kill-A-Watt power meter. First we tested the devices idle to get a control for the experiment. We turned on the Xfinity public hotspot and connected it to the Internet, but no one was on it. After getting some consistent data, we then connected two Windows laptops to the Xfinity hotspot, one watching Netflix and the other downloading files. You could immediately see the difference in the power meter, as the devices jumped from 0.14 Amps when idle, up to 0.22 Amps when actually being used. To translate this into dollars and cents, we used the average cost of power here in the Mid-Atlantic, which is $0.162 per KWh.
|Amps||Vrms||PF||KWh||KWh / year||Cost in Middle Atlantic (2013)|
So, here’s what it actually costs you to host a “free” Xfinity Hotspot: up to $22.80 per year for those of us here in Philadelphia, or $1.90 per month.