Later this year, Comcast will jump into mesh networking with xFi Wi-Fi Pods—small devices that plug into power outlets to more effectively expand the reach of your home's Wi-Fi.
"XFi will automatically, and continuously, configure the customer's Wi-Fi (mesh) to match their use and home," Comcast said in a statement.
Range extenders typically provide only half the bandwidth you get from your main router. Wi-Fi mesh network systems talk to the router and to each other and each node serves as a hop point for other nodes in the system. This helps the nodes farthest from the router to deliver a strong Wi-Fi signal as they are talking to other nodes and not relying on one-to-one communications with the router.
Comcast's solution is part of its new cloud-based Xfinity Xfi system, which helps you manage your in-home connections from the web.
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Most notably, you can kick your kids offline—at bedtime, for dinner, or any other time when they need to cool it with the gadgets. And you can do it from afar; if you're at work or out of town and want to make sure the kids aren't wasting the day away on their phone or console, check how long a specific device has been connected and active on the network.
When the kids are online, Xfi parental controls let you determine which sites and services they access. You can also receive alerts if a new device connects to your home network.
Xfi also includes troubleshooting options. "For example, today if a video app on your streaming device isn't playing properly, you don't know if it's the device, the app, your TV, your internet service … or something else. With xFi, you can troubleshoot by device, pinpoint the cause of the problem and quickly get back to streaming," Comcast says.
From the app, you can also recover passwords, create family profiles, and add new devices to the network.
Comcast Xfinity xFi is available starting today.
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