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Old 01-30-2017, 12:41 AM   #1
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Xfinity (Comcast) and free WiFi

Xfinity claims to have 'tens of thousands' of hotspots providing free wifi to its customers. Anyone with experience using those? Is there enough free WiFi out there to justify the cost of antenna, installation, etc.?

Xfinity's counter employee went as far as to suggest I did not need cellular service, as they provide it for free (VOIP) thought their very extensive WiFi network... This seems grossly exaggerated.
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Old 01-30-2017, 01:26 AM   #2
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"Grossly exaggerated," is a good description. There are Xfinity hotspots where I live, but they at NOT fast and they are not nearly reliable enough and not close together enough to use as an only wifi connection. I think they are available in many cities, but I sure would not consider it an option as my only connection.

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Old 01-30-2017, 01:26 AM   #3
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I believe your question is about adding WiFi to your trailer to use Xfinity WiFi exclusively. I have used Xfinity's WiFi extensively and, if that is your sole reasoning (or source of signal), the answer is no. Adding trailer-based wifi capability should be driven my your need for access but expecting a broad array of providers to be used.

Xfinity's WiFi spots are almost all in urban or suburban locations and rarely close to any camping sites unless you are stopping in a neighborhood. The only times I have made use of Xfinity's WiFi service while inside my trailer when not in route have been when I was stopped in a driveway. Luckily, I have family members I visit frequently who are within signal range of Xfinity WiFi. I generally use it to get email and weather, not video. Otherwise, I have found there are many Xfinity WiFi spots conveniently located at or near businesses where we stop for a break between destinations.
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Old 01-30-2017, 02:47 AM   #4
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Free WiFi from any source justify the investment on Antenna, installation?

Thank you. I have a Verizon Jetpack and hot spot from my ATT phone, but data is expensive and the trend seems to be higher prices. Currently contemplating a painters pole with a Yagi directional antenna high up there, to use any free WiFi available, including Xfinity, Starbucks, etc. I guess the essence of my question is:is it worth it? Is there such a thing as 'free' WiFi to justify the cost, installation, carrying, etc. of the whole pole/antenna/cabling device? I see some rigs with huge poles, some display various flags but on top there is a panel, Omni or directional antenna. Before embarking on the cost and effort, I am asking around to those that preceded me on this effort.

I read 'the book' twice, and still don't get it, the choices are so many, overlapping and (At leat for me) sometimes contradictory.
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Old 01-30-2017, 07:13 AM   #5
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I have and use the Xfinity wifi app on my phone, it works well and seamlessly, when in range.

Basically anyone with an Xfinity wifi cable setup, when they sign up, agrees to allow the pass-thru buried in the language of their contact. So that any subscribing customer can access it, around whatever password protection they may have on their own wifi signal and it isn't supposed to interfere or degrade the owners paid for bandwidth.

The trick is being within range, so if you're out boondocking, wanting to watch TV and surf the web, I wouldn't think it would be very effective. If your a blogger or YouTube poster and are close enough to drive into town, after business hours is most effective, to upload your content, then it would be extremely effective as this would allow you keep your Verizon and AT&T bandwidth for surfing.

The range on WiFi is pretty limited, so a yagi antenna wouldn't really end up doing much for you, don't confuse the range abilities of WiFi and cellular boosters, they're completely different in what they can do and there won't be too many instances where someone is pushing a boosted WiFi signal out an external antenna, which is what you would need to find. An example of this is that towns that wanted to provide blanket WiFi for their community would install the equipment on telephone poles rather than cell towers, as the footprint per unit just is not great enough.
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Old 01-30-2017, 12:24 PM   #6
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Check the Xfinity WiFi Hotspot Map. The coverage is VERY limited.
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Old 01-30-2017, 01:32 PM   #7
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If it sounds too good to be true ...

I also have a Verizon jetpack and love it. It is costly and I agree data plans seem to be going up and up. And as more and more video is HD quality watching video online gets very expensive quickly - like an hour of PGA golf online or a 90 minute movie can easily be 3 gigabytes of data - 18 gigs is $150 on Verizon with the line fee. You can reduce video quality and the according data usage in some apps. I started with an off-brand hotspot but they resell excess capacity from the big names and they are first to get throttled back with high usage - not worth it especially if you depend on internet connections on the road for work or watching that ever important PGA tourney or NBA game on the road where there is no cable
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Old 01-30-2017, 03:20 PM   #8
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Public WiFi hotspots often do NOT have the bandwidth needed to stream video (Netflix etc) without a good deal of buffering. Optimum WiFi hotspots will cut you off after 30 ~ 60 minutes of surfing. These "public" hotspots are really meant for subscribers to check/send email and do light web surfing. They will not support heavy usage.
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Old 01-30-2017, 04:49 PM   #9
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Xfinity WIFI only seems to work in areas where there are competing (and better) public WIFI hot spots available (like Starbucks). Since Comcast has a monopoly lock on cable in my area (for which I have no choice but to subscribe), I have access to Xfinity WIFI also, but I never use it.
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Old 01-30-2017, 07:24 PM   #10
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Xfinity provides a router to home and business customers that has a private and Public hotspot. If you are a Xfinity customer, you can access those public hotspots. My son has Xfinity at his home and I can access it with a logon and password since I have a coworker with Xfinity who signed me up as one of the five account she is allowed.

It is fast enough for YouTube videos but I would not count on it for a movie length.

I would not count on it for my only internet access.
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Old 01-30-2017, 07:34 PM   #11
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Old 01-31-2017, 12:26 AM   #12
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Hd vs sd

Quote:
Originally Posted by kdickinson View Post
If it sounds too good to be true ...

I also have a Verizon jetpack and love it. It is costly and I agree data plans seem to be going up and up. And as more and more video is HD quality watching video online gets very expensive quickly - like an hour of PGA golf online or a 90 minute movie can easily be 3 gigabytes of data - 18 gigs is $150 on Verizon with the line fee. You can reduce video quality and the according data usage in some apps. I started with an off-brand hotspot but they resell excess capacity from the big names and they are first to get throttled back with high usage - not worth it especially if you depend on internet connections on the road for work or watching that ever important PGA tourney or NBA game on the road where there is no cable
Yes, I switched the recording of my programs back home (Xfinity) to SD so streaming them down to view on my RV takes a lot less data. Still, expensive. My next step is stalling the Dish Traveler antenna, joey, etc. and subscribe to them. About 3K for hardware plus installation (I hate that part) and then some $90 a month (as you go plan) with HBO, Cinemax, Fox News, etc. options. Next still, if happy with reception, etc. I plan to switch my home to Dish, which is cheaper than Xfinity, as they charge for the RV just $9 a month with the home is also subscribed. Dish internet sucks, so will need to keep Xfinity internet at home. Makes sense?
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Old 02-16-2017, 08:36 PM   #13
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Originally Posted by kdickinson View Post
If it sounds too good to be true ...

I also have a Verizon jetpack and love it. It is costly and I agree data plans seem to be going up and up. And as more and more video is HD quality watching video online gets very expensive quickly - like an hour of PGA golf online or a 90 minute movie can easily be 3 gigabytes of data - 18 gigs is $150 on Verizon with the line fee. You can reduce video quality and the according data usage in some apps. I started with an off-brand hotspot but they resell excess capacity from the big names and they are first to get throttled back with high usage - not worth it especially if you depend on internet connections on the road for work or watching that ever important PGA tourney or NBA game on the road where there is no cable
Verizon now has unlimited data/voice/text for $110/mo. I just signed up for it. With 2 smart phones and JetPack (3 lines total) it's about $170/month total. Saves me about $60/mo over my prior 30gb plan.
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Old 02-16-2017, 11:16 PM   #14
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With the new VZW unlimited plan your JetPack will be limited to 10GB/Mo, but your phones will have "unlimited" - so get an HDMI cable that allows your phone to send video output to your TV.
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Old 02-17-2017, 02:50 PM   #15
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With the new VZW unlimited plan your JetPack will be limited to 10GB/Mo, but your phones will have "unlimited" - so get an HDMI cable that allows your phone to send video output to your TV.
Just curious where you heard that? It's not stated in my agreement (month to month) and specifically states the unlimited data is shared between the 3 devices. I don't see any benefit to to VZW in limiting the JetPack to 10gb as the phones can just be used as a hotspot for other devices the same as a JetPack. If this is truly the case, I will just eliminate the JetPack and use the phones as hotspots to save myself the additional line fees.
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Old 02-17-2017, 11:33 PM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TinShack View Post
Just curious where you heard that? It's not stated in my agreement (month to month) and specifically states the unlimited data is shared between the 3 devices. I don't see any benefit to to VZW in limiting the JetPack to 10gb as the phones can just be used as a hotspot for other devices the same as a JetPack. If this is truly the case, I will just eliminate the JetPack and use the phones as hotspots to save myself the additional line fees.


Pretty sure I read it in the plan details, but I would love to be wrong about the limit on the JetPack. Please do call Verizon to ask them about your account. I hope you are right, because I agree it is not helpful to limit internet devices like the JetPack to 10GB per month on an unlimited plan.
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Old 02-18-2017, 09:41 AM   #17
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Chris and Cherie at rvmobileinternet.com have the details on this plan: https://www.rvmobileinternet.com/ver...-some-catches/
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Old 02-18-2017, 04:47 PM   #18
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Chris and Cherie at rvmobileinternet.com have the details on this plan: https://www.rvmobileinternet.com/ver...-some-catches/
Thanks, that clears it up.
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