- At CES 2020 in Las Vegas, Comcast revealed the next generation of its xFi Advanced Gateway, which will be one of the first Wi-Fi 6 Certified devices in the U.S.
- Comcast representatives said the company's "power users" connect as many as 50 devices in their homes on average per month.
- According to Strategy Analytics, approximately 100 million smart home devices will be added to home networks by 2023.
Tech companies from around the globe have descended on Las Vegas to participate in the International Consumer Electronics Show (CES) and showcase a new generation of gadgets that could make it to market in the coming years. While everything from ultrahigh-definition televisions to smart appliances will get their place in the spotlight, a new device from Comcast is being positioned as a trailblazer in the home networking space.
Late Monday, the major cable television and internet service provider revealed the next iteration of its xFi Advanced Gateway devices, which are slated to make their way into households "in the coming months." While the gateway could be seen as a major benefit for families that subscribe to Comcast, small businesses often use consumer-grade Wi-Fi devices as well, so they're also likely to benefit from the xFi Advanced Gateway's upcoming release.
The massive telecom company, which is owned by NBCUniversal Media, said this latest gateway will continue to allow subscribers to access high-speed internet and watch myriad television channels while also being among the first Wi-Fi 6 certified devices available in the U.S.
"We designed the next-generation Advanced Gateway to be the fastest, smartest and most powerful Wi-Fi device on the planet to continue to deliver on our promise of bringing our customers a great broadband experience," said Kunle Ekundare, director of product and hardware management at Comcast. "The xFi Advanced Gateway is truly the best internet product we've ever built, and we're thrilled to be bringing our customers into the future with Wi-Fi 6."
What Wi-Fi 6 could bring to consumers
Wi-Fi 6 has been anticipated for years as the next step in wireless networking technology, touted for its ability to connect multiple devices at a time while maintaining high speeds. Wi-Fi 6-enabled routers and gateways will broadcast in the new 802.11ax standard. The current Wi-Fi 5-enabled devices broadcast in 802.11ac.
Since 1997, the Wi-Fi Alliance has certified wireless networking technologies based on their potential speed, starting with 802.11, which had a top data transmission speed of 2 Mbps (megabytes per second). Each new iteration has seen an increase in transmission speeds, with Wi-Fi 6 expected to handle speeds of up to 10.5 Gbps (gigabytes per second).
That amount of high-speed bandwidth will allow numerous devices to be connected to the internet at once. That's a good thing too, since Strategy Analytics predicts that 100 million smart home devices will be added to home networks by 2023. Comcast estimates that its Xfinity internet "power users" currently connect up to 50 devices in their home on average per month.
Comcast representatives said they expect the new gateway to provide "exceptionally low latency for unrivaled cloud and online gaming, 4K video streaming, and VR and AR experiences." Combining that with the company's xFi pods and the new gateway's large Wi-Fi signal range, consumers should expect complete Wi-Fi coverage in their homes.
The device is able to provide all of those features thanks to the "four simultaneous dual-band antennas that support both 2.4 GHz and 5 GHz bands; a 2.5 Gbps Ethernet port to support wired speeds greater than 1 Gbps; Bluetooth LE and ZigBee radios capable of connecting to virtually any IoT device; and switchable mid-split support between 42 MHz and 85 MHz to allow greater upstream throughput."
New Comcast gateway to upgrade other functions
Along with its bolstered Wi-Fi capabilities, Comcast said the xFi Advanced Gateway will continue to support existing functions that subscribers enjoy. Users who want more control over their wireless networks without fiddling with (sometimes daunting) dashboards on their personal computers can use Comcast's xFi interface to set passwords, create content filters, pause Wi-Fi functionality and schedule screen time.
Comcast also says the new gateway will come with xFi Advanced Security to protect connected devices from malware and other security threats. This is especially important since most of the gateway's functions are accessible through multiple channels, including mobile apps and the Xfinity Voice Remote.
Representatives said the new device will be available in the near future to subscribers who currently receive internet speeds of 300 Mbps or higher.