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Smart Home

Comcast launches Xfinity xFi, turning gateways into Wi-Fi systems

The new service is immediately available to all existing XB3 gateway users, giving those customers greater control over their home network.

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Comcast's new xFi home platform promises to transform its customers' online experience.

Jeff Fusco, AP Images for Comcast

Here's some good news for Comcast users. The company announced overnight the launch of Xfinity xFi, a new platform designed to improve its customers' online experience.

The launch means Xfinity xFi is now immediately available to some 10 million existing customers currently using the XB3 Gateway (now renamed to xFi Wireless Gateway) and those getting the new xFi Advanced Wireless Gateway, which was first anouced at CES 2017. The Advanced Gateway is for now only available to Comcast's gigabit internet customers. These devices act as a combined cable modem and wireless router for Comcast internet subscribers.

What you can for sure expect from xFi is ease of use. Comcast said it allows users to manage their home network -- including the setup process, Wi-Fi passwords, connected clients, parental control features and so on -- easily with a dashboard that is accessible via a web interface, a mobile app (iOS and Android) or the X1 voice remote.

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Comcast's xFi Advanced Gateway

Dong Ngo/CNET

Comcast said that with xFi, users can quickly pause Wi-Fi access to the entire network or certain devices. They can also monitor all devices' activities, manage multiple devices by grouping them into profiles and receive alerts when a new device connects to their home network.

Like recent new Wi-Fi systems, such as the TP-Link Deco M5 or the Amped Wireless Ally, the xFi Gateways now also have built-in defense against phishing and malware. And since the xFi gateways are designed to connect to Comcast's cloud at all time -- which can be a privacy risk -- you can manage your home network from anywhere.

Basically, xFi turns Comcast gateways -- once known to be limited in features and primitive in regard to how you can customize them -- into a modern networking device similar to full-fledged Wi-Fi systems. In fact, Comcast said, it will soon also offer wireless extenders that automatically work with the xFi gateways for users to quickly extend their home Wi-Fi network. When this happens, any xFi gateway is virtually a Wi-Fi system that has a built-in cable modem.

If you're a Comcast customer and not using your own modem, you can start with the new xFi by downloading its mobile app or pointing your connected computer's browser to Xfinity.com/xfi.

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