Customers who subscribe to Comcast’s Xfinity Internet Gigabit and Ultrafast subscriptions will begin receiving the xFi Advanced Gateway, a Wi-Fi 6E router that the company revealed at CES 2022.
Many routers that support the new, higher bandwidth Wi-Fi standard have been far too pricey for most budgets (think $500 to $1,500, though there are now some in the $300 range) — but Comcast’s is $14 per month, the company’s usual equipment rental fee.
The xFi Advanced Gateway has a few smart home features up its sleeve as well. It has built-in Zigbee support, and Comcast has stated that it will support Matter, a smart home standard expected later this year.
The xFi Advanced Gateway’s main selling point is that it can handle traffic at speeds faster than gigabits (the firm calls this “Supersonic” Wi-Fi, which is a little funny moniker). Part of this is due to the fact that it supports Wi-Fi 6E, which adds a third 6GHz channel to the 2.4 and 5GHz bands. While Wi-Fi 6 isn’t bad, Comcast claims that its new gateway is more powerful, allowing it to handle all of that traffic in a fair length of time.
The speed of your internet will determine whether or not this router will provide any obvious improvement. It won’t help you much if you’re on Comcast’s 200Mbps plan and never upload files from your home’s devices via Wi-Fi. People on slower rates, on the other hand, are unlikely to be able to receive the new Advanced Gateway; it’s available through Comcast’s xFi Gateway rental program, which allows you to add $14 per month to your internet bill in exchange for a router.
However, depending on how fast your internet plan is, Comcast can send you two alternative models with that rental package. Those models lack Wi-Fi 6E and the new router’s smart home features, and you’ll still be paying $14 per month, so beware. If you’re not on one of Comcast’s fastest plans, it’s probably a better deal to just buy your own router.
For those who want Wi-Fi 6E but don’t want to use their ISP’s router, there are now some reasonably priced solutions. The Eero Pro 6E costs $300 and has a 2,000-square-foot coverage area. While that’s a lot of money for a router, it’s less than you’d spend if you rented one from Comcast for two years (though there’s obviously a much larger up-front cost).
Comcast’s recently announced tech upgrade program is available to people who subscribe to Comcast’s $25 per month xFi Complete subscription (which includes a router, unlimited bandwidth, and other perks). That’ll let you get a new router every three years, so if you’ve had your current gateway for a while and want to get your hands on the new one, it may be worth reaching out to Comcast’s support to ask if you’re eligible to get the new one.