First announced at CES 2017, Comcast's fiber-ready xFi Advanced Gateway is now available to its Xfinity Gigibit Internet subscribers. This is long overdue for fiber customers wanting to take full advantage of the speed they are paying for. The gateway is designed to support devices capable of gigabit speeds over Wi-Fi , making it one of the fastest available today. However, you will be hard-pressed to find laptops and phones capable of those speeds right now. Expect to see more widely available in the near future.
Customers in markets where Comcast offers Xfinity Gigabit Internet can rent Comcast's new gateway, which includes a 160MHz-capable 8x8 antenna array for faster speeds, MU-MIMO for faster simultaneous connections and multiple radios for connecting smart devices. The xFi Advanced Gateway has radios for Bluetooth Low Energy (used by sports and fitness devices), Zigbee (used by light bulbs ) and Thread (used by Nest devices).
The design is unassuming and only has a single blue light, so you can place the gateway in plain view without it being much of a distraction. The xFi Advanced Gateway draws design elements from Xfinity Design Language, which aims to create a consistent look to all Comcast's newer products. Since the gateway acts as a modem and router, you will still need to connect a coaxial cable from outside your home and a power cord.
All of its antennas are internal, so it looks less extraterrestrial than most gateways. Its 8x8 antenna array means eight antennas to transmit signals and eight to receive, which is very rare today. It is lacking in gigabit Ethernet LAN ports, as there are only two available for wired devices.
Setup should be simple with Comcast's free xFi app, which gives customers control over their Wi-Fi setup and maintenance. You can create profiles for each household member, connect new devices, troubleshoot, set parental controls and restrict internet usage at certain times. Most new routers have these features, but generally will cost you $200-plus. The xFi Advanced Gateway costs just $10 a month to rent, the same price as Comcast's previous generation hardware.
The xFi Advanced Gateway is only available for Comcast customers who receive 300Mbps or faster service, depending on the market. And if you have an especially large home, Comcast says it will offer Wi-Fi extender pods later this month to select markets with a full release coming in 2018.