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Phantom Devices on Gateways

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Contributor

Phantom Devices on Gateways

I have 4 devices connected to my Xfinity Arris TG1682G dual band gateway -- one ethernet, the others are wireless.  About a week ago, a fourth device, with only a MAC address, showed up on the gateway log-in page as being offline.  I traced the MAC address and it points to ZTE Corporation, which deals with telecommunication devices, including mobile hotspots, routers and smartphones.  ZTE is based in Shenzhen, China and also has a U.S. division.

 

My neighbor has a Technicolor gateway with two wireless devices connected -- a laptop and a printer.  Her offline devices show 3 unknown devices -- one wireless and the other two being ethernet.  She has never used ethernet in her life.  Another friend, a few blocks away, has the same gateway I do.  He has two devices connected via ethernet and his offline devices show 2 wireless phantoms.  He doesn't use wireless.  

 

In all three cases, the following is true:

1.  These unknown phantom devices started showing up a week ago.

2.  Regardless of how many times you reset the gateway, the offline devices disappear but then reappear within 1 hour and always show as being offline.

3.  If you block the phantoms, they continue to show up.

4.  None of these devices have ever been actively connected to our networks.

 

Comcast CSR understood what I explained but she admitted she's never heard of this happening.  She said not to worry because everything is offline.  I'm not worried but I'd sure like to know what's going on.  Offline devices should disappear after a gateway reset and not keep showing up.  I'm wondering if Comcast pushed some type of update to the gateways causing this, or, if it could possibly be some type of intrusion attempt.

 

Any ideas or suggestions would be greatly appreciated.

Contributor

Re: Phantom Devices on Gateways

My bad -- first paragraph -- I have four devices connected and a fifth is now showing up (not a fourth) as offline.  Been a rough morning.  Rest of post is accurate.

Expert

Re: Phantom Devices on Gateways

Do you have access to Xfinity xFi, and if you do, what does it show as far as the phantom device? 

 

(FWIW, ZTE was recently banned from access to the US tech market because of concerns about security). 


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Contributor

Re: Phantom Devices on Gateways

@darkangelic -- thanks for responding.  Unfortunately, I do not have access to xFi -- I don't have any mobile devices or a smartphone and neither do the two other people I mentioned.  Comcast CSR kept telling me to get it and I kept telling her I don't have any devices to download it on.  That's when I told her I'd find a website that traces MAC addresses.  Interesting puzzle.

Expert

Re: Phantom Devices on Gateways

xFi doesn't depend on having a smartphone, it's simply a platform where you can manage your home network online. You can go to https://internet.xfinity.com from your connected computer to access it. If the device shows up there, you can simply click Forget This Device and it'll be gone. 

 

I have a few guesses on what it is:

1. A local phone that's trying to connect to either the Xfinitywifi hotspot on your router or your home network, likely not by intent, but the phone might be doing it automatically.

2. A device an Xfinity Tech used to troubleshoot the local node.

3. If you're running Windows, you're probably running WIndows Connect Now or have enabled Windows WiFi Sense, both of which allow sharing of WiFi connections with other devices. There are ways to turn those off, but as I'm unfortunately a Mac user, I don't know exactly how to, so you may have to search for that..


Comcast Experts are other customers who volunteer their time helping on the forum and have been recognized by the community. For more information on the Expert Program, please click here.
Unless so specifically stated, my opinions written herein are my own and do not necessarily reflect the views of Comcast, its official employees or affiliates.


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I am a regular customer volunteering my time to help other customers here in the Forums.
We ask that you post publicly so people with similar questions may benefit from the conversation.

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Contributor

Re: Phantom Devices on Gateways

@darkangelic -- I didn't know you could connect to it from my computer.  I'm going to do it now and report back in a bit.  Thanks much!

Contributor

Re: Phantom Devices on Gateways

@darkangelic -- I found the device via the link you provided.  All it says is ZTE Corporation, everything else says unknown.  I did click to forget the device and it disappeared from the list on xFi.  However, it still shows up on the gateway log-in page as not connected.  It just won't go away.  We have been having all sorts of issues recently with TV reception -- not internet -- and Comcast has been doing maintenance in the area.  I do have wifi hotspots and wifi sense turned off on my computer.  PC is connected via ethernet.

Expert

Re: Phantom Devices on Gateways

That's normal for the gateway to remember the device locally. If it's removed from xFi, it will need to be reauthenticated to connect, and you'll know when that happens as you'll get an alert.

 

The only way to remove it completely from the gateway is to reset it to factory settings (using a paperclip to press the recessed Reset button on the back for about 15 seconds). If it bothers you that much, you can do this, but remember you will have to reconfigure your network settings again (fortunately xFi makes this easy, now that you have access to it). 


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Unless so specifically stated, my opinions written herein are my own and do not necessarily reflect the views of Comcast, its official employees or affiliates.


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I am a regular customer volunteering my time to help other customers here in the Forums.
We ask that you post publicly so people with similar questions may benefit from the conversation.

Was your question answered? Mark the post as best answer!
Contributor

Re: Phantom Devices on Gateways

@darkangelic -- done deal, success!  Reset the gateway to factory defaults and all's well (at least for now).  Many thanks for your help and I'm marking this thread as successful.