Comcast takes a lot of heat for its often frustrating X1 service. It seemingly has a mind of its own sometimes and the required wireless gateway has poor range and bandwidth issues. The nation’s largest cable company looks to be finally addressing that by debuting the Digital Home — a new gateway that is part of its strategy for 2017 and beyond.
The new gateway is a big step forward for the company and will be mesh-networking compatible. It’s a clear shot at mesh networking options like Eero and, with nine gigabits per second of bandwidth available, is key to the company’s strategy of delivering one gigabit per second internet across its entire service area.
Most important though is the new smart home capabilities. The gateway also acts as a smart hub, allowing customers to network their Wi-Fi connected smart devices together and manage them either through a central app or through your television.
Comcast is working to make the process of adding these devices as automatic as possible, even down to the setup of the new gateway itself. All you need to do is download the app and scan a QR code. From there, you pick a network ID and password and you’re set up. Once your network is active, you will also be able to control and monitor the network using the Xfinity voice remote, the company says.
“Digital Home connectivity today should be as intuitive and dynamic as the devices and experiences it powers,” Comcast chief product officer Chris Satchell said in a statement.
Other new features to come include better network management where you will know what devices are using the network and for how long — as well as easily limit or cut off access to individual devices or the entire network at certain times, such as dinner or bedtime. Comcast also plans to improve its diagnostics offerings, which should mean fewer calls to technical support.
Initially, the service will be rolled out to 10 million Xfinity customers in the first half of 2017. Another 5 million are expected by the end of the year, as new customers are given the option to purchase the new gateway when they set up service. While current router rentals are $10 per month, it’s unclear how much more the new gateway will cost.
Here is hoping it’s reasonable, especially considering most mesh Wi-Fi options out there are quite expensive and Comcast’s current Wi-Fi gateway doesn’t impress.