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Wireless Networking Power The Almighty Buck Hardware

The Hidden Cost of Your New Xfinity Router 224

An anonymous reader writes "The battle over Comcast's public WiFi network that is hosted on your cable modem continues. Comcast responded to Speedify's earlier power measurements by rushing them a new Cisco cable modem. The new modem proved to be more power hungry than the last, and also introduced some tricky IPv6 problems that caused major headaches for the team."
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The Hidden Cost of Your New Xfinity Router

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  • I dropped Comcrap for OTA and DSL and I save $150/mo.
    • by the_skywise ( 189793 ) on Thursday August 07, 2014 @06:36PM (#47626689)

      Ptphpht.. I switched to Geico for DSL and save $300 for half the time...

    • by antdude ( 79039 )

      For me, I can't get DSL and fiber. I can get satellite Internet, dial-up, etc. but why? Cable wins. TV is Internet and OTA though!

    • It all depends on where you live.

      Even though I live in the East SF Bay (not inland either), OTA, DSL, and non-landline phone are not much of option for me. OTA I get 2 channels - QVC and HSN, so my choices are Comcast or DirectTV/Dish. Price wise, there both basically the same. I had DSL for years, but I would barely get 3megs. For a family of four w/ 2 teenagers, that just cant keep up. And as to using a cell phone instead of landline? Those hills that screww w/ OTA tv also screw with cell signal. I

    • by PRMan ( 959735 )
      How? I mean, I'm surprised you're not still on the phone.
  • by Manuka ( 4415 ) on Thursday August 07, 2014 @05:49PM (#47626413)

    I too have had really bad results with IPv6 (TunnelBroker) when connecting to anything Google. You would think that Google of all companies would have their IPv6 poop in a group.

    • by TyFoN ( 12980 )

      That is odd. I have 6rd via my fiber connection and youtube etc is so much better when connecting with ipv6.
      I suspect this is because no one are using those network paths yet, but maybe it's just the local content cache that sucks or something and ipv6 goes straight to google.

    • by hjf ( 703092 )

      That's outrageous. You should ask TunnelBroker for a full refund.

    • I have an older Netgear router (WNDR3700 v1) with the latest software update connected to a Zoom 5341h modem and have absolutely no problem with IPv6 using Google apps, Gmail, Google News, and Google search. I'm on Comcast cable high speed internet. There is a thread on DSL Reports about IPv6 problems w/ Netgear routers but I've not had problems.
  • So, uh, where's the other 10 popular routers they tested?

    • Exactly. If Comcast is sending people a new cable modem with this extra functionality built in, then the question is not how much power it uses, but how much more than your old gear it uses.

      This story can only be taken literally if Comcast is sending a new, separate device used in addition to whatever else you used previously.

      • Yup, Comcast is making subscribers fund the public wifi via their electric bills.

        Aint it grand?

        • What I want to know is Comcast gonna pay for the broken door, any pain and suffering as you are thrown to the ground and handcuffed, along with the loss of equipment and lawyer fees because the cops kick down your door after some perv downloads CP on your connection?

          Because if they aren't they could screw right off! We have seen time and time again the cops charging in based solely on an IP address and it seems like Comcast wants the benefit of your connection without the responsibility.

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by un1nsp1red ( 2503532 )
      It's not a router comparison. You don't need an Xfinity public-facing WiFi router, so this is energy usage in addition to what you would otherwise need for your own purposes.
      • You're 100% correct, and they offer no comparison to that...unless of course you believe people should be plugged directly into their cable modem.

  • by anthony_greer ( 2623521 ) on Thursday August 07, 2014 @05:53PM (#47626435)

    I advise all my contacts when they get new comcrap or slime warner installs to go to the local big box store and pick up a router, then to demand that they get just a regular modem and not a modem/switch/wifi combo...They will often say that it is not an option...if you say "fine, I decline service, please leave immediately if you cant find a non integrated modem" suddenly one just happens to have slid under the seat in his van.....

    • by Frosty Piss ( 770223 ) * on Thursday August 07, 2014 @06:32PM (#47626655)

      comcrap or slime warner

      Do you also type "Micro$oft"?

      Grow up.

      • by PNutts ( 199112 )

        Too bad you're getting modded down and I don't have any mod points to give you a boost. What folks don't realize is that their point may be valid but that language and tone will cause their post to be skipped over or dismissed. Without those four words I would have moderated the GP insightful.

      • Do you also type "Micro$oft"?

        Grow up.
        Typical AmeriKKKan! Fuck you dad.

    • by mrchaotica ( 681592 ) * on Thursday August 07, 2014 @07:03PM (#47626801)

      That's a terrible idea. Every Comcast customer should use his own router and his own modem!

      In fact, the only Comcast-owned equipment a customer should ever accept is a CableCard -- wait, no, scratch that. Customers should accept precisely no Comcast-owned equipment at all, because they should only use Comcast for Internet, not TV (and even then, only if there's no other reasonable choice).

    • Exactly

    • by fermion ( 181285 )
      The equipment supplied by Comcast or ATT or Verizon or whoever has traditionally been notoriously wasteful in terms of energy. I myself but a router and DVR. The router pays for itself in a year, and both probably have a return on investment of two years in terms of electricity and rental savings.
    • The customer should buy the modem, otherwise theyre liable to get hit with a hidden $5/mo surcharge.

      Really it IS customer equipment, and if you insist on their modem you're gonna get crap.

  • by Lothsahn ( 221388 ) <Lothsahn@@@SPAM_ ... u_bastardsyahocm> on Thursday August 07, 2014 @06:00PM (#47626491)
    The device has stability problems as well, as mentioned in the post. In normal (routed) mode, it worked fairly well, although I noticed odd lag spikes and other issues I didn't experience with the old modem. However, once you place the router into bridge mode (disabling all wifi features so I can use my modem direct), the router would reboot itself every 3-8 minutes.

    I eventually, after talking to 20+ Comcast reps, got them to put a different modem back in. Even though my plan is 250d/30u, I'm only getting 30d/5u, because the modem won't provision with my plan. However, it works, so I'd rather have that than a laggy, rebooting faster plan.

    I strongly recommend avoiding the DPC3939 until the problems are resolved. It lalso ooks to me like all of the problems are software related, not hardware--usually they can be avoided by changing configuration options, etc.
    • Wow, that sounds like a similar problem I was having with a dlink router years ago. It worked like a champ until my connection was upgraded (from 15Mbps to 25 Mbps) and then it started regularly rebooting. I read online it was something to do with the router not being able to keep up with the speed of the modem, an overflow would occur, causing a router reboot. Replaced router, worked fine. Later used old dlink router when setting up DSL at mother-in-law's house, and it worked fine. Still in use now.

    • by mrchaotica ( 681592 ) * on Thursday August 07, 2014 @07:09PM (#47626833)

      Just buy your own DOCSIS 3.0 modem (e.g. Motorola SB6121 or Zoom 5341). I mean, you realize they're charging you $3-5 per month for their crappy one, right? It pays for itself in a year or so.

  • by Memophage ( 88273 ) on Thursday August 07, 2014 @06:17PM (#47626573)

    I actually think this could be pretty cool if Comcast would offer customers *something* in exchange for them hosting a public hotspot out of their house.

    How about a free modem, instead of charging them $3/mo to rent one?

    I own my modem outright, so have negative incentive to upgrade. But if they were to offer me a free basic IP phone line, or a free upgrade to the next speed tier, or free access to this service I'm hosting, or *anything*, I'd certainly consider it.

    But otherwise, yeah, it seems like they're forcing everyone to pay for their network electricity as a requirement of getting their own internet, with no added benefit in return.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by bws111 ( 1216812 )

      It isn't a 'public' hotspot, it is a hotspot for Comcast customers. And you are getting something - the ability to use those same Comcast hotspots.

    • by Mr_Wisenheimer ( 3534031 ) on Thursday August 07, 2014 @06:29PM (#47626637)

      You get the added benefit of Comcast using up a big chunk of your dwelling's wireless spectrum with absolutely no benefit for your own devices.

      • By that logic, you pay taxes for absolutely no benefit whatsoever.

        • How would it benefit me to have the quality of my wireless devices such as my wifi network, Bluetooth, cordless keyboards, telephones, et cetera diminished in my own home?

          I get a direct benefit from the taxes I pay, such as roads, trains, ferries, buses, police and fire services, street cleaning, research grants, et cetera. I get zero benefit from Comcast using my wireless spectrum.

          • by matfud ( 464184 )

            Bluetooth, cordless keyboards, telephones etc. are not generally in the same spectrum as wifi so little to no issue there (and they are all low data rate)
            Your wifi in your home is going to be disrupted by others using wifi near by anyway (it is a shared medium). If you have people close enough to use your in home wifi then they likely are already degrading your service by being near and using any other wifi.

            Not that I agree with comcast rolling this out without notifying people.

            • Actually, almost all wireless devices use the same scientific bands: blutooth, cordless phones, keyboards, wifi, et cetera. While some do use alternatives like the 900 Mhz band, most use the 2.4 Ghz or 5.8 Ghz ISM bands.

              And yes, Wifi is degraded by every single device that uses those bands, but the signal strength falls off at the square of the distance, so an interference source inside my house is much more troublesome than one outside my house.

              My home wireless network already uses 100% of the 2.4 and 5.8

              • by matfud ( 464184 )

                Ahh. Seems to be a US problem (and other parts of the world)

                "Many cordless telephones and baby monitors in the United States and Canada use the 2.4 GHz frequency, the same frequency at which Wi-Fi standards 802.11b, 802.11g and 802.11n operate. This can cause a significant decrease in speed, or sometimes the total blocking of the Wi-Fi signal when a conversation on the phone takes place. There are several ways to avoid this though, some simple, and some more complicated."

                A different question is can you call

          • Your taxes will pay for a road somewhere that you are not using. Similarly, while you wouldn't use *your own* hotspot's free wifi, you could use someone else's while away from home, and they could use yours.

            • It's still a false analogy because I derive immense benefits from my tax money, even if 100% of it does not go to programs that directly benefit me.

              By contrast, I derive zero benefit from Comcast's wifi service.

              I have a cellular phone with unlimited data. I have absolutely no use for someone else's wifi as my 4G service is much more reliable in the US than Comcast and Comcast is not even a service provider in most of the countries I travel to.

              Furthermore, I wouldn't use it anyway as the connection is not s

      • by AmiMoJo ( 196126 ) *

        Simply detach the antenna, and optionally fit a terminator to completely kill the signal.

    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by fhic ( 214533 )

      Not mention the potential liability issues.

      I can easily see the cops kicking in my door because somebody used the hotspot in my house to download kiddie porn or copyrighted files.

      Does anyone really think the cops are going to differentiate between the public side and private side of the router? No, they're going to call (or subpoena) Comcast for the address where that router lives. My house.

      Yeah, it'll probably get straightened out, eventually, after I get dragged away in handcuffs to the amusement of my

      • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday August 07, 2014 @07:19PM (#47626865)

        why is this being modded up? you have to login to xfinitywifi access points which gives them tracability.

        this entire post is FUD

        • Re: (Score:2, Troll)

          by fhic ( 214533 )

          Do you know any cops? Any feds? (I'm speaking of USA-ians; other places might be different, but Comcast doesn't live there.) Subtlety is not their strong point. Arrest everybody and let the courts straighten it out is what they do.

          Sure, they're going to get the person who used the credentials to log in. And the address where they logged in from. And then the scenario I just described happens.

          • Oh look, more FUD.
            Do you know what a chain of custody is? How the courts work? What the difference between hard evidence, and hearsay is?

            Arrest everybody and let the courts straighten it out is what they do.

            Yes, that results in whats called "dismissed, with prejudice". I mean, if the cops wanted to waste a ton of time and potentially get slapped down for it, they could do that.

          • by SeaFox ( 739806 )

            They'll probably also confiscate any computing equipment in your home on the idea it may have been used by whoever logged into the network and used it for illegal activities (they'll ignore that said equipment already had access to your network, so there would be no reason to log in to the free hotspot).

            Good luck getting that equipment back. Oh, and better hope you don't have any copyright infringing files laying around on it when they do take it.

          • by metrix007 ( 200091 ) on Friday August 08, 2014 @06:05AM (#47628751)

            The word is 'American'. 'USA-ian' is a nonsense word trying to solve a problem that doesn't exist.

        • The GP post is more an indictment on the mob^w justice system that all too often seems to presume guilt before evidence beyond a reasonable doubt is required.

          It also goes both ways. You may need to login to these systems to identify yourself, but when doing so you'd sure hope your transport stream was completely protected from the owner of the router. Otherwise, you may find someone kicking down your door when you arrive back home.

          • by fgouget ( 925644 )

            The GP post is more an indictment on the mob^w justice system that all too often seems to presume guilt before evidence beyond a reasonable doubt is required.

            Sounded more like the rant of a paranoid tinfoil hat wearer. That or given that hotspots are not a newfangled invention he should have no problem finding dozens of small businesses or hotels that got raided because they offered internet access.

            • by Belial6 ( 794905 )
              Exactly. You have a greater chance getting killed in your car than you do having the cops break down your door because of open wifi.
      • by Teun ( 17872 ) on Thursday August 07, 2014 @07:54PM (#47627015) Homepage
        Not a chance, only registered customers are able to log in and any suspicious traffic would be tracable to said Comcast customer.

        It is not a public and open WIFI hotspot.

      • What the hell? I have used this, the wifi access point identifies as XFINITY, you have to login using your comcast account, and the IP you end up using is an IP block dedicated to XFINITY (which clearly identifies in every possible way (rdns, whois) as an XFINITY IP). You dont even share the IP with the host (who gets the usual Comcast IP). There is no way the host would get busted for it. Please stop the FUD.

      • by ADRA ( 37398 )

        How is this post even relevant? The only way a cop will know how and who's door to 'bust down' would be through your ISP, and be damn sure that the ISP knows which IP's are being used by whom. Centsational much? I mean, one of my neighbours could be downloading child porn as we speak so I could randomly be arrested for absolutely no reason.

    • more like $8-$10 mo to rent and have cable phone?

      if you have cable phone you are just about forced to rent it.

  • $65 a month for 110 Mbs internet rather than the $150 I was paying Comcast for 50 Mbs internet that rarely did much better than 10 Mbs.

    And the company actually send techs out the same day for most problems instead of Comcast, which can take weeks.

  • by 93 Escort Wagon ( 326346 ) on Thursday August 07, 2014 @07:15PM (#47626851)

    They charge you eight bucks a month for the privilege of using their modem. You can buy your own from Amazon for less than you'll pay Comcast for a year's rental - and that's for a DOCSIS 3 modem that handles IPv6 just fine, even with Comcast.

    Here's the one I bought - it's $68 []. It doesn't include wifi, so you'll have to bring your own wifi base - but those can be had cheaply as well. Plus you don't have to replace both functions just because one or the other craps out...

    • Which you can do if you buy your own.

      Those all-in-ones are trouble in two big ways:

      1) Failure due to heat. When you start trying to jam all the components in to one box, it gets hot. They can't go for a big case or fans or something like that, because consumers won't like it. So they run hot, and tend to fail sooner. No guarantees of course, but my informal observation shows that separate units work for longer.

      2) Limited and expensive upgrade path. If one component of the system is outdated and you want to

  • by tuffy ( 10202 ) on Thursday August 07, 2014 @07:45PM (#47626977) Homepage Journal

    If you call Comcast's customer service, they can put their new routers into bridge mode. This turns off its WiFi and other unnecessary features and makes it act like their old routers.

    • I can't imagine their residential service being any better than business class. Please read about my previous experience in getting a Comcast modem into "bridge mode" (it's not really, modem doesn't allow for it). []

    • If you call Comcast's customer service, they can put their new routers into bridge mode. This turns off its WiFi and other unnecessary features and makes it act like their old routers.

      The fact that you have to call Comcast's customer support to change between router & bridge mode is a serious PIA. I got called in to provide tech support for some people we volunteer with and was stuck waiting for over an hour to make a simple configuration change. This is after previous calls getting dropped because the call center reps couldn't manage to transfer me to the appropriate (or even wrong) departments.

  • by fgouget ( 925644 ) on Thursday August 07, 2014 @08:31PM (#47627169)
    The blog post did not compare the power usage with the Xfinity hotspot enabled and disabled. So all we can say is that the new Comcast modem is crap and wastes power by the bucket, just like the old one apparently. So while the title and many comments here seem to imply the extra cost is all due to the Xfinity Hotspot functionality, that view is so far not supported in any way.
  • by scubamage ( 727538 ) on Thursday August 07, 2014 @08:58PM (#47627305)
    FYI, I'm a Comcast engineer. All CPE management interfaces (the interface between the CMTS and the CM) are moving to IPv6 and should be transitioned by the end of the summer. The only remaining devices with the CMM interface still running on IPv4 are a handful of business class devices which should be converted by september. Beyond that, any modem which runs DHCP on LAN interfaces is running in either IPv4 or dual stack mode, though the ultimate plan is to move everything to IPv6 eventually.
    • by AK Marc ( 707885 )
      What happens when people complain about Skype? I work for an ISP, and everything I read indicates that Skype is the only top 100 "protocol" that is not IPv6 capable. I'm trying to push v6, but I've been told "no Skype, no v6".
      • Skype will continue to work. It doesn't care what addresses are used for the management interface, and it doesn't care that you have a dual-stack network -- it just ignores the v6 side. Skype is only a problem if you remove the v4, but you don't need to remove your v4 to deploy v6.

        (Or it can be made to work with 464XLAT, if you really want to run a v6-only access network.)

        • by AK Marc ( 707885 )
          We were looking at v6 only, and that's doable, except for Skype. And 464xlate is possible, but kind of defeats the purpose.
          • Yeah, don't bother with that. Deploy v6 now, move to CGNAT for v4 when you have to (possibly soonish), and then worry about anything else much later.

  • In France, all major operators have been offering for years a public WiFi service, using their customer's modems.

    The feature was pioneered by an operator called Free (with its well known "Freebox" Linux-based modem), and others had to offer the same. Free may buy T-mobile [], which should seriously push Comcast to fix its problem.

All science is either physics or stamp collecting. -- Ernest Rutherford