How Do Comcast XFINITY WiFi Hotspots Work?


Comcast XFINITY is one of the largest providers of Internet services in the United States, with over 18 million Internet customers across the country. One of the little known benefits of being one of their Internet customers is that you get access to Comcast XFINITY WiFi Hotspots — for free.

What is a Hotspot?

A Hotspot is a site that offers access to the Internet over a WLAN, or Wireless Local Area Network, connected to the Internet provider via a router. Many businesses, such as cafes, provide public Hotspots as an incentive to use other facilities on offer, and many Internet providers also provide Hotspots in public areas such as parks, train stations, etc., as a paid service, or as an added bonus for using their products.

What’s Different About Comcast XFINITY Hotspots?

Comcast’s network of Hotspots is vast. There are over half a million Hotspots located across the country, with major metropolitan areas like New York City and Washington, D.C., having almost complete coverage. Furthermore, Comcast customers are able to expand this network of Hotspots by playing host to a Hotspot connection.

These public Comcast Internet WiFi connections stream congruent to the home WiFi, but are completely separate, so that no loss of speed or degradation of service is experienced by the host.

Comcast XFINITY WiFi Hotspots have proven to be faster and more reliable than Hotspots hosted by competing companies. Allion USA found in a 2013 study that “Comcast exhibited up to 3x faster throughput than others,” meaning download speeds of 10Mbps were constant, sometimes up to 20Mbps, and service was uninterrupted.

How Can I Find a Hotspot?

Finding out if you are in a viable Comcast Hotspot zone is relatively simple. There are two ways to try:

1. Use Comcast’s interactive Hotspot finding map. This map shows where all the Comcast Hotspots are located across the country. You can search via address, indoor or outdoor Hotspots and Partner Hotspots.

2. Download the XFINITY Wifi App. The app is available on both the App Store and Google Play, and provides information such as the nearest Hotspot to you and driving directions from where you are to a Hotspot.

Devices That Connect To Comcast Hotspots

Comcast XFINITY Hotspots are accessible from any device that has a WiFi capability. This includes laptops or notebooks, mobile phones, tablets, as well as other devices like Kindle eReaders, Nooks, and iPods — PC or Mac, doesn’t matter, so long as it is WiFi enabled.

How To Connect

Connecting to a Comcast Hotspot is not very complicated, and the good news is when you’ve signed into the service once, your device will automatically detect when you are next in a Comcast Hotspot zone, and connect for you.

Here’s how to make that initial sign-in:

1. Enable WiFi on your device. If you’re unsure how to enable WiFi, Comcast has a great website that can help.

2. Once WiFi is enabled, you will see a list of available connections in your reception range. Select “xfinitywifi” or “CableWifi” from the list — these are the two names that Comcast Hotspots are listed under.

3. This will prompt a sign-in page to appear. Enter your Comcast username and password, and click “sign in” and you’re done.

What About Security?

With such an extensive network of Hotspots, Comcast XFINITY can’t afford to be lax security. Customer’s details and login information is protected with a 128-bit encryption on sign-in, which is the same standard that online banking and other online services transmitting sensitive data use.

For the safest online experience:

  • Always use a firewall and use anti-virus and anti-malware programs. Comcast XFINITY Internet customers have Constant Guard anti-virus built-in to their subscription.
  • Always turn off file sharing when you are not directly using it. This is particularly important when you are in a public network like a Hotspot.
  • Always keep your anti-virus up to date, and set your program to conduct regular scans.

How Much Does it Cost?

For Comcast customers who have a “Performance” tier subscription with Comcast, the Hotspot service is free. If you don’t meet the eligibility, you can still try out the service, as those who are not eligible for free access are given two one-hour passes every month for Hotspot usage. There is also the option to purchase access to a Hotspot for different bundles of time. For an hour pass it costs just under $3, and just under $8 will get you a day pass, while just under $20 will see you with a week of access to the Hotspot network.

There are more Comcast XFINITY WiFi Hotspots being added to the already-extensive network every day. They are fast, secure and reliable, and with one of the most widespread coverage areas in the country, there’s no reason not to try out your free pass soon.