How to Turn Off Your Xfinity Wi-Fi Hotspot

In 2013, Comcast launched secondary internet access points in home and business modems for free to their customers, but at what security and privacy costs?
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If you’re a Comcast internet customer, it’s important to know about the company’s technological developments because they could affect your privacy. Chances are, you’ve heard about Xfinity Wi-Fi hotspots and their controversial connectivity.

In 2013, Comcast unveiled plans to give its Xfinity internet customers additional signals that function as hotspots. Since then, Comcast customers and security experts alike have debated how safe and advisable it is to access these hotspots and keep them running. In this article, we present all the points for consideration about this technology so you can decide how to proceed with your network. We also recommend the best VPNs to protect your network.

In this article
What are Xfinity Wi-Fi hotspots?
How to connect to Xfinity Wi-Fi hotspots
How to turn off your Xfinity Wi-Fi home hotspot
Xfinity Wi-Fi hotspot FAQ
Bottom line

What are Xfinity Wi-Fi hotspots?

Xfinity Wi-Fi hotspots — also known as Xfinity Wi-Fi Home Hotspots — are secondary access points for the internet broadcasted through a Comcast customer’s modem. This technology applies to both residential and business modems, and it provides a semi-public network, which means not just anyone can access it.

The hotspot network uses a separate antenna from your home Wi-Fi, so it doesn’t technically leverage your password-protected network to offer public connectivity. Xfinity customers also do not get charged extra for this built-in secondary access point.

Not everyone can access Xfinity Wi-Fi Home Hotspots. In a bit of a blend of public and private usage, Comcast designed the hotspots to only be accessible to people with Xfinity accounts. This caveat means the hotspots don’t provide a public network in the sense that anyone off the street can access them, but they are public to Xfinity customers.

The hotspot connectivity itself is not much stronger than your own private network, so the signal is typically only accessible within your house or place of business. The idea is that guest users who are also Comcast customers can log in to wireless internet anywhere they go where these hotspots exist — no password needed.

The hotspot’s connection also has no impact on your internet speed or data cap on your personal Xfinity internet plan, so you shouldn’t experience slower internet if your hotspot is on.

Note that Comcast does provide Xfinity hotspots that are seemingly not associated with Xfinity Wi-Fi Home Hotspots, and they do not require you to be an Xfinity customer to connect to them. The provider says that “xfinitywifi” in a list of available internet connections will denote a “public, unsecured network” like that of a coffee shop.

You can also download the Xfinity WiFi Hotspots app on Google Play or the Apple App Store. The app lets you find Xfinity Wi-Fi hotspot locations across the country and connect to them.

By contrast, if you see “XFINITY” in a list of connections, Comcast says this is a “secure, public network” with traffic encrypted. As you’ll read below, a “secure, public network” is a bit of an oxymoron, and Comcast does not explicitly say if XFINITY connections are related to home or business hotspots.

Are Xfinity Wi-Fi hotspots secure?

The high-level answer is “yes and no,” but let’s break it down further to understand the real potential security issues.

Ways Xfinity Wi-Fi hotspots are secure

Xfinity hotspots are not open to the entire public. You must have an Xfinity account in order to access the internet through an Xfinity Wi-Fi Home Hotspot, so any cybercriminal can’t just hop on the network. Unless, of course, they have an account or have hacked into one. (More on that below.)

Comcast claims these networks “encrypt the traffic passing between a user’s device and the hotspot.”

Ways Xfinity hotspots are not secure

Even though Comcast says that the hotspot is a secondary access point using a different antenna from your private network, the signal is still broadcast from the same modem as your private network. Using the same hardware to broadcast two signals means the hardware can potentially be leveraged to breach either or both connections.

Comcast records your device’s media access control (MAC) address when you log into a hotspot — triggering your Wi-Fi-enabled device to auto-connect in the future. Over time, if your device has allowed itself to connect to many of the millions of hotspots out there, you could be unknowingly logging in to and out of public Wi-Fi dozens of times during a commute, for example. Any emails or other information sent over the public network is fodder for hacking.

In another example, if you are someone who refrains from sending personally identifiable information (PII) while using public Wi-Fi, you could accidentally do so if you don’t realize your device has automatically logged in to an Xfinity hotspot.

Your Xfinity Wi-Fi hotspot’s default is set to “on,” which means you have to actively turn off the hotspot if you want to disable this secondary connection.

Should I disable Xfinity hotspot sharing?

There are pros and cons to enabling your Xfinity Wi-Fi hotspot. If you are having guests to your home or business who are existing Xfinity customers and your hotspot is on, they’ll all be able to log on to your hotspot’s connection easily. No bothering with doling out passwords and network names.

However, the convenience of this tool could be outweighed by the potential security ramifications. As discussed above, there are risks to two different networks — one of them semi-public — running through your one modem. With your hotspot on, you’re opening up another access point into your modem, even though it’s technically not connected to your private network.

Note that in 2017, a vulnerability was published about Xfinity Wi-Fi Hotspots: the devices were found to allow remote attackers to spoof the identities of Comcast customers through fraudulent MAC addresses.

If security is your priority, it seems safest to turn your hotspot off unless you are expecting guests who could use it.

Secure your network with a VPN

You can also invest in a virtual private network (VPN) to ensure your network stays secure and protected from public Wi-Fi. Here are some VPN recommendations: 

  • NordVPN: When it comes to privacy, Nord has your back. It uses military-grade encryption, comes with specialty servers (like double VPN and obfuscated servers), and even offers dedicated IP to keep your internet usage secure and anonymous.

    Get NordVPN | Read Our NordVPN Review

  • ExpressVPN: ExpressVPN offers a strict no-logs policy, its own protocol for added speed and security, and more to protect your online privacy. Its Network Lock kill switch blocks all internet traffic if your VPN is disconnected unexpectedly, which is useful if you switch Wi-Fi networks or you lose power and your internet is down.

    Get ExpressVPN | Read Our ExpressVPN Review

  • CyberGhost: If you're looking for an affordable VPN, CyberGhost is cheaper than Nord, ExpressVPN, and other top VPN providers. It also has a strict no-logs policy, along with transparency reports, so you can rest assured that your data is kept private.

    Get CyberGhost | Read Our CyberGhost Review

Limited-time deal: 2 years of NordVPN with 68% off + 3 extra months
Learn More
On NordVPN's website

How to connect to Xfinity Wi-Fi hotspots

To connect to Xfinity Wi-Fi hotspots in residences or businesses, you first need to be an Xfinity customer. You can sign up for Xfinity internet service online or purchase an Xfinity Wi-Fi Pass or the Internet Essentials plan if you need a more affordable option.

How to connect from iOS or Android mobile devices:

  1. Download the Xfinity Wi-Fi Hotspots app on your device. The app enables automatic sign-in as well as the ability to discover hotspots. 
  2. Sign into the app using your Xfinity ID and password
  3. You’ll then be prompted to allow the Wi-Fi Hotspot network to be added. If you’re in range of an XFINITY network, you could be prompted to join that instead.

How to connect using Mac OSX:

  1. Navigate to Settings and then Wi-Fi.
  2. Select XFINITY.
  3. Enter your Xfinity ID and password to join/connect.
  4. Re-enter your Xfinity ID and/or password.
  5. Enter your device passcode.

How to connect on Windows 10:

  1. Navigate to Settings, then Network & Internet to select XFINITY.
  2. Enter your Xfinity ID and password.
  3. Select Connect.

Public xfinitywifi hotspots
Connecting to the unsecured, public network associated with "xfinitywifi" does not require you to be a customer. You do not need to follow these steps to connect to the open xfinitywifi network.

How to turn off your Xfinity Wi-Fi home hotspot

There are two ways to turn off your Xfinity Wi-Fi Home Hotspot. The first is through Xfinity xFi — software that allows you to manage your home Wi-Fi settings.

  1. Go to the Xfinity app.
  2. Sign into your account with your Xfinity ID and password.
  3. Select Connect.
  4. Select See Network.
  5. Scroll down to select Advanced Settings.
  6. Select Xfinity WiFi Hotspot.
  7. Slide the toggle to the left to disable your hotspot.

The second way to turn off the hotspot is to go through your account

  1. Go to customer.xfinity.com/#/settings/security/hotspot.
  2. Sign in to your account with your Xfinity ID and password.
  3. Click Turn Off to disable your hotspot.
  4. Confirm your selection.

Xfinity Wi-Fi hotspot FAQ


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How do I find Xfinity Wi-Fi hotspots?

Comcast has published a map of its hotspots — both “unsecured, public” and “secured, public” networks. If you use that map and plug in your zip code, you’ll find Xfinity Wi-Fi hotspots nearby.


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What is the Xfinity Wi-Fi access pass?

You can purchase an Xfinity Wi-Fi pass for $20, which gets you hotspot access and unlimited data for 30 days. This is an easy way for non-Xfinity customers to still access the free Xfinity Wi-Fi hotspots.

Comcast also used to offer Xfinity Wi-Fi On Demand passes to access the internet, but those were discontinued in December 2020. 


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Do you get charged for using Xfinity hotspots?

No. Xfinity Wi-Fi comes free with your Xfinity service if you are an Xfinity Mobile or Xfinity internet customer, though it is not available to Xfinity Prepaid customers. You do not get charged for using the hotspots of others, nor do you get charged for keeping your hotspot on.

Bottom line

Xfinity has done a thorough job of publishing information about how its residential and Comcast business hotspots are secure enough that they won’t compromise your private network or open you up to hacking, but take all of it with a grain of salt.

The reality is the hotspots are known vulnerabilities, however convenient they might be for guest use. To be on the safe side, disable your hotspot if you don’t anticipate hosting guests who might need to use it. You’ll protect your hardware, your network, and your data by doing so. You should also take action to secure your Wi-Fi connection by updating your SSID (Wi-Fi network name) and password. With the best password managers, you can easily generate a new unique password and safely store your Wi-Fi information.

Learn More
On NordPass's website


Author Details
Juliana Kenny is a freelance writer with 13 years of experience specializing in cybersecurity topics. Her expertise includes endpoint security, cloud security, and networking technologies like secure access service edge (SASE). She has written for technology giants, including Oracle, Hitachi Vantara, and Comcast. When she's not diving deep into security news, you can find her bird-watching or baking.