Comcast turns residential routers into public Wi-Fi hotspots in Houston

Shawn Knight

TechSpot Staff
Staff member
Comcast's initiative to turn residential wireless routers into public Wi-Fi hotspots has taken a major step forward this week as the company flipped the switch on 50,000 routers in the Houston, Texas, area. Another 100,000 hotspots are expected to go live...

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Personally, I love what Comcast is getting at, but I think it will take a while for the privacy concerns to be addressed, but once the general population accepts it, this could be huge!
 

mgwerner

TS Booster
Personally, I love what Comcast is getting at, but I think it will take a while for the privacy concerns to be addressed, but once the general population accepts it, this could be huge!
If you are online, there is no privacy. Once the general population accepts that, the world will be a better place.
 

MilwaukeeMike

TS Evangelist
Personally, I love what Comcast is getting at, but I think it will take a while for the privacy concerns to be addressed, but once the general population accepts it, this could be huge!
I agree... it's a great idea. It's a little ridiculous that so many of us pay for internet from two companies; our wired broadband at home and our smartphone's data plan. I think we're a long way off from it, but I'd sure like to be able to pay for just one.

The other funny thing is... now the fact that Comcast is so big will be a benefit to their customers. More hot spots!
 

highlander84

TS Booster
Why should I pay for internet, then have my connection shared with those who do not? if I want my friends to have access to my network, I will make the decisions about my network.
 
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veLa

TS Evangelist
Why should I pay for internet, then have my connection shared with those who do not? if I want my friends to have access to my network, I will make the decisions about my network.
Read the article, it would only be free to other Comcast customers.
 
G

Guest

BT have been doing this for years in Britain, and it's working brilliantly. We have hotspots everywhere.
 
G

Guest

Once this is fully implemented, I suspect Comcast will increase my bill for the use of the hotspots.
 

Burty117

TechSpot Chancellor
Yes, BT have been doing this for years in the UK, anyone who uses a HomeHub it is automatically enabled by default and you have to unsubscribe to turn it off, I did just that, reason?

Comcast are lying to you, it DOES slow down your connection, or at least it does here in the UK as our Internet lines are all ancient phone wires and although I now have Fibre, just a few years ago when I was on an 8MB BT package I tested the public WiFi on it, I was downloading a large file on my desktop, then connected my laptop to the "Public" WiFi and started watching YouTube Video's. Needless to say, it slowed down my download considerably.

That makes sense though, the internet connection to your house is synced to a nearby exchange at say 40MB/s. When BT/Comcast enable Public WiFi, the bandwidth for that service has to come out from somewhere, It just dynamically adjusts depending on usage.
 
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Darth Shiv

TS Evangelist
Telstra in Australia is doing the same. It of course slows your connection. If someone is allowed 4 Mbps of your 8Mbps...

To quote someone with technical knowledge of the issue:
"Two plus two is four.
Two plus two is four.
Two plus two is four.
Two plus two is four."
 
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Lionvibez

TS Evangelist
Hmm if it were me I would just buy my own router which has a separate guess network on it. I have full control and not my ISP.
 

Lionvibez

TS Evangelist
Personally, I love what Comcast is getting at, but I think it will take a while for the privacy concerns to be addressed, but once the general population accepts it, this could be huge!
I agree... it's a great idea. It's a little ridiculous that so many of us pay for internet from two companies; our wired broadband at home and our smartphone's data plan. I think we're a long way off from it, but I'd sure like to be able to pay for just one.

The other funny thing is... now the fact that Comcast is so big will be a benefit to their customers. More hot spots!
My cell phone and ISP are the same company I don't pay two different providers :p

my internet has a 150GB cap for the month and my Phone is on a 1GB data plan both work great for me they way it is. And I don't think I would want them to combine the data onto one bill. All of there billing systems are automated and not perfect seen plenty of issues. For my setup I would like it to stay the way it is.
 
From what I understand, perhaps you would log into your comcast account so it could meter your remote usage and count it against your bill? Surely they wouldn't have it where what I use at a friends house chews at their cap... That's not ok.
 

Misagt

TS Evangelist
Personally I wouldn't allow this type of modem to be installed. I think the security risks would be too great. I think it's only a matter of time before we see articles of how hackers use this to get into your network. Then add in the issue of bandwidth. What extra cost is there to the subscriber in regards to power and such? Now maybe these are non issues but at this time, I wouldn't use it.
 

Darkshadoe

TS Guru
Personally I wouldn't allow this type of modem to be installed. I think the security risks would be too great. I think it's only a matter of time before we see articles of how hackers use this to get into your network. Then add in the issue of bandwidth. What extra cost is there to the subscriber in regards to power and such? Now maybe these are non issues but at this time, I wouldn't use it.
Exactly why I wouldn't want this type of modem in my home. It being opt-out is another reason. I should have the choice to turn it on if I want to be a hotspot since I am the one paying the damn bill.
 

highlander84

TS Booster
Why should I pay for internet, then have my connection shared with those who do not? if I want my friends to have access to my network, I will make the decisions about my network.
Read the article, it would only be free to other Comcast customers.
Does not change the fact that I would never share with people I don't know. Even if they claim it's completely separate from and does not affect my connection. Kabel Deutschland here in germany has been doing this for a long time... And it's been switched off on my modem for a long time.
 

misor

TS Evangelist
Why should I pay for internet, then have my connection shared with those who do not? if I want my friends to have access to my network, I will make the decisions about my network.
this statement should allay your 'shared internet' fears:
The cable and Internet provider is quick to point out that the public network is separate from a user’s private home network and public connections won’t slow down the owner’s residential connection.
 
G

Guest

What!? Once the world realizes NO Privacy is good, the world will be a better place? No privacy is good???? You're kidding... right?.
 

Dr MoFo

TS Rookie
Does this have any affect on wireless CSMA/CA. With more people accessing the same router local traffic will increase causing more collision avoidance on the network. Not a big deal in the scenario described when you family over and let them use your wifi. But what about neighbors or strangers accessing this separate network on your router? And what if these strangers use your router for illegal activities without your knowledge? and it's all liked back you your ip? just a few questions...
 
G

Guest

According to other websites if customers enable the feature then they don't have download limits. If you disable the feature then you switch back to download limits. So Comcast is offering customers an incentive to enable the feature.
 

Trillionsin

TS Evangelist
Public wifi out of your home? That they say is FREE to you? Oh okay... so it's a separate network.. so if someone is connected to you particular wifi in your home downloading the most recent episode of GoT, then it wont slow down your COD and make you lag out?
 

Darth Shiv

TS Evangelist
this statement should allay your 'shared internet' fears:
Assuming it isn't exploited/security holes found. When you enable a feature like this by default, you are massively increasing the surface area of attack. Suddenly there is more of a motive for people to try and find something wrong with it.
 
G

Guest

Absolute garbage. Maybe that's ok for normal customers but I live in an area where very large public events occur frequently. Guess I have to bust open the modem and manually disable the wifi. I paid for my own service, if I wanted to share I'd leave my network open.