Comcast is upgrading its Xfinity mesh network system, with the second-generation xFi Pod promising more speed and wider WiFi coverage. Designed to plug into a spare outlet, the adapters can deliver up to 500 Mbps of bandwidth and now have two ethernet ports for wired devices.
The first-generation xFi Pods launched back in 2018, as an easier way for those using Comcast’s own xFi Gateway to fill in dead spots around the house. Each little hexagonal adapter was designed to self-optimize, automatically juggling things like channels in the background.
They’ve proved to be a hit, Comcast says, particularly as people find they need to upgrade their WiFi coverage as working-from-home and home schooling increases. Demand has doubled since March 2020, according to the carrier.
The new xFi Pod is a fairly straightforward upgrade, therefore. Rather than AC1200 as in the first-generation models, the new versions use AC3000. That boosts potential throughput to 500 Mbps, up from 200 Mbps. Of course, your internet connection will define what sort of download rates you’ll get, but that bump in capacity should help for within-network transfers and such.
There are now two ethernet ports on each unit, rather than one on the old xFi Pod, each offering 10/100/1000 gigabit support. Coverage per Pod has improved as well. Comcast now says that a single unit will help expand coverage from the xFi Gateway alone for the typical 1-2 story home with 3-4 bedrooms. Two Pods, meanwhile, can handle 5+ bedroom homes, along with thick walls or those with metal or concrete in them.
As before, it’s all controlled through the Xfinity app, available for iOS and Android. That also shows current connection status, what devices are currently using the network – and whether they’re on an xFi Pod or linked to the xFi Gateway itself – and offers controls for pausing the connection if needed.
Sales kick off from today, and there’s now a single xFi Pod pack for $119, or a two-pack for $199. You’ll need an xFi Gateway too, of course, which Comcast offers for $14 per month; that comes with the company’s xFi Advanced Security bundled.