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Comcast Spiffs Up Its Wi-Fi Act, Taps Plume For Mesh

Discussion in 'General Wireless Discussion' started by thiggins, May 8, 2017.

  1. thiggins

    thiggins Mr. Easy Staff Member

    May 18, 2008
    Comcast officially announced the revamped Wi-Fi product it previewed at CES 2017.

    xfinity xFi is a new user interface to control the Wi-Fi for Comcast customers with its xFi Wireless Gateway or xFi Advanced Gateway. It uses an iOS or Android app to control Wi-Fi and other router features including internet pause, user accounts with assigned devices, internet access schedules and network-join alerts.

    One of the two supported gateways is not new; Comcast said the xFi-enabled device that is in 10 million homes today will now be called the “xFi Wireless Gateway.” The new xFi Advanced Gateway will be used to provision 1 gigabit service and, according to Comcast, be "capable of delivering gigabit speeds over Wi-Fi and supports Xfinity Voice, home security and automation applications".

    The more interesting news buried toward the end of the announcement is that Comcast plans to launch "no-configuration, adaptive xFi pods that can be paired with either the xFi Wireless Gateway or the xFi Advanced Gateway". Although Comcast didn't specifically say it would be using Plume's Wi-Fi pods for this, it heavily implied it by mentioning its investment in Plume in the announcement.

    Axios reported an SEC filing about a month ago that disclosed Comcast took a $27M stake in Plume and a seat on its board.

    This is certainly great news for Plume, which was a latecomer to the mesh Wi-Fi marketplace. Now that mainstream Wi-Fi router makers like NETGEAR, Linksys, TP-Link and ASUS are either shipping "mesh" Wi-Fi products or soon will, the outlook for the startups that were first to market with mesh Wi-Fi is a lot riskier.

    It will be interesting to see how Plume based Wi-Fi extension works out for Comcast, especially given Comcast's emphasis on pushing its 100+ Mbps services. Plume's pods rely on many bandwidth-sapping hops to move data around its mesh using lower power 2x2 radios shared between front and backhaul.

    Customers may be happy to get Wi-Fi in locations they formerly could not after plugging in Comcast/Plume's pods, but not so much after they find Wi-Fi throughput nowhere near what they're paying big bucks to Comcast for.
    Hydro likes this.
  2. tannebil

    tannebil Occasional Visitor

    Apr 23, 2011
    MoCA 2.0+Plume is a very effective combination and Comcast can easily offer that in a house. I regularly get 250-300 Mbps in the room where I have that combination installed. That's very comparable to the best performance I see when I'm in the same room as an ASUS TM-AC1900.

    Plume doesn't get much love in reviews but I have 6 pods installed in my house for the last six weeks and I am very happy with it. I tried it with wireless backhaul just for fun and it was generally OK (90-150Mbps) but optimal placement is a real PITA. It really shines with wired backhaul (which is how I mostly use it.

    Measured using perf3 on an 12.9" iPad Pro connecting to a Mac Mini.
  3. thiggins

    thiggins Mr. Easy Staff Member

    May 18, 2008
    6 Pods connected via wired backhaul, should provide good coverage. Most any AC AP will provide good performance if connected via wired backhaul. How are you doing the backhaul, Moca or Ethernet?

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