How do I get rid of "xfinitywifi?"

There are a lot of Comcast cable modems leased by residential and business customers. Millions, in fact. In 2014 Comcast created a public network on many of them called "xfinitywifi." If you're a Comcast customers, you can use this public hotspot to sign in — using your own comcast.net e-mail address — to access the Internet. The network has confused and worried some of our readers, however. If you're one of them, here's what you need to know.

Millions of Comcast's residential cable modems were reprovisioned last year to broadcast the "xfinitywifi" network, along with thousands of business cable modems. The bandwidth used by the network doesn't count against your own bill; it's a free service for Comcast customers.

If you rent your modem from Comcast, chances are your modem is broadcasting an "xfinitywifi" network.

That in and of itself isn't necessarily a bad thing. It means that other Comcast customers can come over to your house and log on to Wi-Fi without accessing your personal network at all. So if the presence of "xfinitywifi" doesn't bother you in the list of available networks, feel free to ignore it.

If you're having trouble with xfinitywifi — if you're unable to log on, or if your Mac is really slow — you should be able to just switch back to your own network by clicking on the Airport menu item and selecting your preferred network from the list.

You can also reorder the way your Mac will connect to networks by opening the Network control panel.

To reorder network preference and forget xfinitywifi

  1. Open Spotlight by pressing the command key and then pressing the space bar.
  2. Type network and hit return.
  3. Look for a System Preference called Network and double-click on it.
  4. Click on the Advanced button.
  5. Make sure your preferred network is dragged to the top of that screen. If you want to forget about xfinitywifi all together click its name in the list and then click the "-" button.
  6. If iCloud Keychain is active, click Remove.
  7. Click OK.
  8. Click Apply.

That'll make your Mac forget xfinitywifi ever existed. If you use iCloud Keychain, all connected devices will forget about xfinitywifi too.

You can take it a step further and eradicate xfinitywifi all together. A simple call to Xfinity tech support should get them to turn it off on your router.

Even if you do that, there's no guarantee xfinitywifi will disappear. It depends on how close you are to your neighbors. I can still see the xfinitywifi hotspots my next door neighbors are broadcasting just fine. But at least you'll have the peace of mind that your cable modem isn't being used for anything you don't know about.

40 Comments
  • Also, (this is probably obvious but ...) if you use your own modem and don't use Comcast's, then it's not a problem.
    I've got to believe that your internet speed would be slower if someone was using your modem as a hotspot.
  • I had read that it was using separate "channels" for the public part so there would be no impact on your speed.
  • Perhaps, but then the width of the pipe is still a bit smaller. If the width of the pipe gets too small, you won't be able to pump all the data thru. It is for this type of reason and the avoidance of a rental fee that I have already bought my own cable modem to be used when I switch to comcast after the snow melts. (note, we have Verizon DSL and there's no Fios in our town).
  • I have seen jamming before and xfinity knows if people think there service is bad they will be considered and that's piracies!
  • I have a question. Ok.i have comcast cable phone alarm wifi. My wifi is hack two times. My alarm says it's not contact right. Can't use my phone to.open it. When I leave. People get through.my alarm. And take stuff. Had people breaking three years all over. What good is my alarm if it's not keeping people out. And My WiFi Gets Hacked Two times. And they won't come and fix it. I.even got a camera 50 than more charges on the bill I wasn't told. I try adt talking. They mail it. U have to do it yourself. And they are able to get the money out of your account automatically. Not crazy about that. I use wifi.for my lsptop. Don't no.which when to go next. They move comcast in the middle thst u can't fine it
  • Great article. I can use it to show friends who worry about spying by Comcast. Is there a way to prioritize network use on iOS? I'd like for my iPad to default to Xfinity when I'm traveling, but it insists on trying to pick up various printers and closed networks.
  • Call them? You can do it through your account settings. http://customer.comcast.com/help-and-support/internet/disable-xfinity-wi... I did this the second I got wind of this scam.
  • I keep trying to do this in my account but everyone I try to take xfinitywifi off it gives me an error message. Sent from the iMore App
  • Thanks Peter, this brings up a topic that I need some advice on, the question is: "how much Internet speed do I really need?" I currently have Century link prism, which is fiber based coming into my house. My download speed is 24 mbps Upload 1.5 mbps. They offer a 40mbps upgrade. I know this is a totally user case scenario question. Our household consist of , 2 MacBook pros, 2 iPads, 2 iPhones, Apple TV, and 3 TVs (TV receivers Broadcast wirelessly over Wi-Fi). In the very near future (within a month) I am going to purchase a Retina 5K iMac. Is it really worth the money to upgrade my service to 40 mbps Internet after purchasing the iMac with 802.11ac Wi-Fi to get better performance?
  • What you need in terms of speed has nothing to do with how many devices are connected and everything to do with how you use them. Are you noticing any slowdowns when you and your family are all doing stuff online? If not, you're fine. If you do notice things becoming unacceptably slow, then the faster speed tier may be worth considering. Sent from the iMore App
  • Thanks ALCingularUser. I have a mechanical background, so in my head it's easy for me to envision every device connected is like adding more cars to a train increasing the load on the engine. Maybe that is not the case here. We are heavy Netflix users, which I have heard that needs bandwidth. Is bandwidth comparable to torque in an engine?
  • Think of bandwidth as flow capacity of a pipe. You can have only so many taps running simultaneously before you notice that the water pressure is not adequate. Similarly, you can have only so any devices streaming netflix simultaneously before you notice pauses and video quality degradation. Keyword = simultaneously
  • Great explanation! Sent from the iMore App
  • If you have no problem with your current system on the 24 mbps speed then there shouldn't be a problem. Upgrade only if you have a performance issue.
  • The fun question is one of liability, as at least in the US some case law suggesting the operators of public wifi spots may bear liability for copyright infringement (possibly criminal activity too) that occurs on their network if they are "negligent" in its operation. (Would link to eff article here but mobile imore site is once again not allowing copy/paste in text field) Given that most everybody who has these hot spots did not ask for them and does not run them, who bears the legs risk here?
  • The only gray area is this technically isn't public since you need to sign into your Comcast account to use one of these access points. That's probably how they keep from getting sued.
  • I just wished IOS (and Android for that matter) had the ability to make a saved WiFi connection a manual connect only affair so my devices stop dropping off the home network and onto the much slower xfinitywifi connections automatically when I get too far from my home router. I live in a townhouse so I see a lot of these in the neighborhood. It got annoying enough that I deleted the saved entry just to keep it from automatically connecting to it while I'm at home.
  • Great article. What I wish I could get out of Comcast is a separate cable modem (non wifi) and phone modem. Or a combo unit without wifi. I originally had one of their 2.4 combo units only, in bridge mode, and my 1st gen Airport Extreme n after it. I have 105 Mbps, and would TOP OUT at 25 Mbps, even wired. So I asked for a 5 GHz version and got one (after several calls and documenting the poor speed, even wired, of the original modem they gave me. When I got it, I retired the AirPort, and rely on their router. I plan to get a new TimeCapsule, soon, as I just feel the Comcast boxes do a lot ok, and nothing well. Anyone else have similar experience?
  • You seriously should buy your own cable modem, and use your own router separately from that. After a year or so of leasing theirs, you would've paid for your own. Plus, your own cable modem won't be broadcasting the xfinitywifi network so your neighbors can steal your bandwidth. Comcast has a modem list on their website, but I'm not sure which ones support the VoIP service from Comcast. I personally do NOT use the Comcast phone service... but I have to use their internet since it's the only option in my condo.
  • A few years ago I got Comcast double play with phone service. Within one day, literally before I had given out the number to a single soul, I started getting third party telemarketing calls. I second your advice, all of it. Screw them.
  • This happened because you changed or started a new provider. Same thing happened to me when I switched from Century Link landline to Ooma. I had to re register on the do not call list.
  • Bought my own router. FYI, Comcast customers. When the 'introductory offer rate' expires, call Comcast and tell them you want to cancel. Not 'I want a better rate,' just tell them you want to cancel. Offer NO Explanation of why you want to cancel. This is important. I guarantee you that they will extend your 'great rate.' I did this recently. Not only retained the rate, but also got a month to month no contract deal for the next 12 months.
  • I used it for a while. It did not slow down my home wifi. They are separate. My problem was my wifi connection kept reverting to the xfinitywifi. The speeds were really slow compared to my home Blast of 50 Mbps. I could not get my wifi to stay on my home wifi. So I called Comcast and they disconnected the xfinitywifi.
  • Let's not forget this is a money grab for Comcast. Because by being so present in the wifi list, they can monetize it and have, by offering up anything form a 1 hour pass to a multi day pass if you are not a comcast customer. And portraying it as a way to offer friends and family a path out to the net not on your (primary) wifi is hogwash as so many routers these days have dual channels so you can have your own private wifi and a public one for guests that just goes out to the net without hitting your primary home network.
  • The problem is that every time I see an xfinity wifi network, I am so far out of range it doesn't work and is super slow. As far as disabling it on the modem, I have only seen it installed at business locations and around my area, they actually install a separate modem and router for the free wifi
  • Yeah, I think they also, at least on the home side, are a bit too strong. There is a road I drive down near my house that is essentially a dead zone for me because the iPhone connects to xfinitywifi, so no LTE, but I am constantly on the edge and switching from house to house connection never getting fully connected. I wish Apple would add a feature for speed. If I am moving quickly, as in driving, stay on LTE.
  • I seem to have a problem just connecting to these hotshots. I don't think I have connected more the two times. Posted via iMore App
  • I think this article is a little misleading. If you are renting a "CABLE MODEM", then there's no problem because you have to get your own Router for WiFi. If you got the Comcast Gateway or whatever they call it, then definitely there will be the Xfinity Wifi SSID showing up.
  • If some was a heavy user and found themselves exceeding the 300g comcast usage limit would it make sense to use the xfinitywifi connection to get additional usage without having to pay an additional charge for exceeding usage limits
  • Comcast/Xfinity should have an option for "wired modem only". I requested this long time ago, just to avoid this kind of thing. You can search compatible modems on their website. For triple play, you need a modem with the phone jack in the back.
  • Wouldn't the Comcast device have to be a combination cable modem/wifi router? Regular Ubee cable voip modem I lease from Comcast wouldn't be able to broadcast any wireless network. It doesn't have any wifi radios. I've never used a combo unit, always using my own separate wifi routers. Anyhow, I think the author should clarify for the small percentage of folks that doesn't understand the difference between a modem and a router.
  • Buy your own modem and router. They pay for themselves after one year.
  • Installed my Arris TG862G modem/WIFI/Phone ($55/eBay) and returned my
    UBee rental modem to Comcast to save $10/mo (wish I'd saved $1200 over 10 years).
    However, xfinitywifi appears (plus explanation, security and "opt-out" options).
    Unfortunately xfinitywifi's speed was only 10/2 and ping 3x longer compared to my (72/11) download/upload speeds.
  • Does it affect my connection/speed? i.e. When other people log on my modem. My connection can frequently get sluggish and sometimes drop.
  • Buy your own modem at best buy for about $100.00 or less. You will save the $10.00 a month rental fee. I have had comcast for about 15 years and with their modem. So imagine how many modems i could have bought. Buy your own. Set up is so easy. and then no worry about the public wifi issue.
  • I've got another perspective I'll offer up: As an xfinity subscriber/customer, I appreciate having access to wi-fi when visiting my 75 y.o parents who are not members of our wired internet world, and don't even own computers. I know it's hard to think on those situations. I'll avail myself of the local internet cafes when visiting them to do work (I'm a writer often on deadline), but for checking email and in urgent work situations that might crop up, it has saved the day and allowed me to stay close by (neither are in good health).
  • A couple of thoughts to ponder... First, the suggestion that you can simply call Comcast tech support and have your xfinitywifi turned off is FALSE! You see, it will be turned off, but only until the next flash firmware update is broadcast to your router. Then it will be back again, as the DEFAULT SETTING on the router is to have xfinitywifi enabled. You then need to contact tech support once again to have it turned off. Firmware updates are sent out about once every month or so, this will end up being a tedious process to continually have to go through. The whole premise of the xfinity network is SHARED BANDWIDTH. an entire community shares the same pipeline, so to speak. There is a maximum capability to the system. I will say that they have done a great deal with upping the frequencies to squeeze every last bit of bandwidth from a lowly cable, but there are limits. How many times have I hear the complaint that a clients internet or VoIP deteriorates every afternoon at around 3:30 to 5:00 pm? (Hint: This is when teenagers come home from school or daytime activities and jump on the internet for gaming, chat, movies, etc) That and the promised extreme bandwidths advertised are BURST speeds. That means that the speed is what comes from the first 100mb or so of a file download. That is usually enough to satisfy the caching requirements of most media. After that first high speed burst, speeds are throttled down to more plebeian speeds. This burst also allows the xfinity network to fool customers into thinking that they are getting their promised rate, as most speed checking programs/apps/sites only operate in the initial burst speed amount of data. I have NEVER found a "Business Class" customer of xfinity to ever approach greater than 60% of their contracted bandwidth. And during the aforementioned afternoon slowdown, I have seen it drop to under 25%. It still is the industry standard to have T-1 connectivity for a business network. And while DSL is regularly slammed in advertising, it is a much more stable communications platform. I have seen lowly 10mb DSL connections deliver HD content from Netflix more reliable than xfinity. It's all advertising and an attempt to maintain a noncompetitive environment for consumers. As an IT consultant with decades of experience, when it comes to reliable wideband communications, I ALWAYS steer clients away from the xfinity hype. Sure it costs more, but a solid connection that is not "Shared by the neighborhood" trumps the xfinity advertising sham every time.
  • A firmware update doesn't revert to default settings... There are so many errors in this comment... Opinion, even when you work in the field does not equate to fact... I mean you actually tried to say DSL is more stable... Then you say 10mb is reliable for HD? Netflix themselves state you should have a minimum of 25 for HD... I would advise anyone who reads your comment to actually research it before they go ahead and trust you. Lastly, WAN's are shared by everyone regardless of how you connect... Whether you are using xfinity wifi or your home network, you are processing information through the gateway and onto Comcasts WAN... This is true for any provider... Your information is downright scary...
  • your own modem/router is a great idea but those who use comcast telephone are screwed as they have to rent the modem to make that happen. (you needn't use the phone part of the deal if you don't want to obviously and can still buy your own equipment to save the rental fee.) in that case, i call comcast and have them "bridge" the modem and turn off wifi. then i can run whatever router i want behind the now dumb comcast modem (like a Time Capsule) for a cleaner network. i'd like to make the argument to comcast that they should provide their equipment without charge if they want me to participate in their mesh network. i'm sure they are selling data they collect using that device as well; shouldn't we split the take? ps. xfinitywifi is an excellent opportunity for criminals to setup their own phony networks and scam names/passwords (?)
  • Peter, This all seems good, and I learned a new way to get into Network Preferences. (Usually I click on the wifi icon on the top of the screen and look down to the Open Network Preferences tab.) But it doesn't work?! When I open it again it looks correct, but when I click on the wifi icon it shows me all the same choices I hid already. And every time I open the Mac, it's looking for and trying to connect to the wrong wifis. Maybe it has something to do with my terrible terrible wifi on this 2013 MacBook.