Comcast is turning your home into a public hotspot

By now, you’ve probably heard about Comcast’s new initiative to use customers’ routers to create a mesh of public wifi. That’s right, the ISP juggernaut has already turned the homes of 50,000 paying Xfinity customers into public hotspots, and says it will be in millions of homes by the end of 2014. The news has been a hot-button issue in the tech blogosphere, with plenty of folks crying foul at the idea of Xfinity running its public WiFi mesh using your electricity, for starters. But, we’ve been wondering about where the bandwidth to support these extra users is coming from.

Comcast has already claimed that the public hotspots will not leech from customers’ paid bandwidth or slow down their Internet in any way. But, either Comcast is flat out lying about their claim, or more likely, the Xfinity WiFi Home Hotspot and your home network use entirely different channels to the Internet.  And the answer matters, because if they’re using your bandwidth, you should opt-out of letting Xfinity run a hotspot on your cable… but if this is extrabandwidth, then you should figure out how to use it.

Speedify is our new channel bonding service, that lets you combine any number of available Internet connections to enjoy an Internet speed boost. Can we use Speedify to answer where the Xfinity WiFi Home Hotspot bandwidth comes from?  And if it’s extra bandwidth, can we use it?

If we can, it’ll be a pretty sweet way to turn what a lot of bloggers have been calling, “an egregious monopolistic overreach” into something positive for you. That kind of talk always gets us interested. So we took the Xfinity Home WiFi Hotspot for a spin.
Download Results
Home WiFi 17.75 Mbps
Xfinity Public WiFi 25.67 Mbps
Both Bonded 36.93 Mbps

Clearly by bonding the two connections together, Speedify found me an extra 11 Mbps that we didn’t know we had. So, there really is extra bandwidth in your Internet connection that Comcast is saving for other users. But, with Speedify you can take Xfinity’s public hotspot lemons, and turn it into lemonade with even faster Internet.

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