This article provides details on the personalization and control features available with XFINITY xFi.
For more information on the xFi web portal and app for mobile devices, see our xFi portal and app overview article. For xFi troubleshooting tips, see troubleshooting WiFi connectivity.
How To Manage Devices with XFINITY xFi
In the Devices section, you can view all devices that are currently or were previously connected to your home network.
Active devices are those currently connected to your home network.
Paused devices are those whose WiFi access is currently paused.
Inactive devices are those which are not currently connected to your home network.
Identifying Devices When a device first connects to your home network, the default name of the device, which is either the manufacturer-set name (i.e., hostname or MAC address) or the one you gave your device when you first set it up, will be displayed. If you do not recognize a device:
Select the device, then select Device Details to see the manufacturer.
If the device is connected to your home network, there should be a green dot indicating that it's online, which may also help with identifying what device it is.
Access the hostname or MAC address in your device's settings. If the default name displayed is a long string of numbers and letters, it's likely the MAC address.
Personalizing and Organizing Devices You can personalize a device name for easier reference. Select the device to give it a nickname and choose an icon, then assign the device to a profile. If you have devices connected to your home network that still need to be personalized, you'll see that indicated at the top of the Devices section. Simply select Personalize to nickname and assign to a profile.
A green dot indicates the device is currently connected to your home network.
A pause symbol indicates the device is currently paused and cannot access your home network.
A crescent moon symbol indicates the device is currently in Bedtime Mode.
A grayed-out device icon means the device is not currently connected to your home network.
Removing Devices You can remove an inactive (disconnected) device from the Devices section by selecting the name of the device, then Device Details > Forget Device. This will remove the device from the Devices section and unassign it from the profile it was associated with, if applicable. It will also permanently delete all historical network activity of this device. If the device reconnects to your home network, it will appear as a new device.
Pausing Devices Pausing a device blocks it from accessing the Internet when connected to your home network. In-progress activity might not stop immediately. Access to local network devices (like printers) and connections that use cellular data or other WiFi networks won't be paused. To pause an individual device simply select the device and then select Pause Device. You can either pause the device for a specific amount of time (for example, 30 minutes, one hour or two hours) or indefinitely until you choose to unpause the device. When attempting to access the Internet on a paused device, the user will see the device's default message that the site cannot be reached or that it is not connected to the Internet.
How To Pause Devices with XFINITY xFi
Note: If you've previously set up a device block from your Gateway's Admin Tool (http://10.0.0.1), you should see the device listed with a pause icon in xFi indicating WiFi access over your home network is already paused. Once you Pause/Unpause a device or access Bedtime Mode or Port Forwarding through xFi, you will no longer be able to access similar features (block, scheduled block or port forwarding) through the Gateway's Admin Tool (http://10.0.0.1).
How To Manage People and Profiles with XFINITY xFi
In the People section, you can organize all of your connected devices by the people who use them. Once you've created profiles, you'll be able to access additional features to manage your home network, including the ability to set Parental Controls.
Creating Profiles You can manage devices connected to your home network more efficiently by assigning them to a profile. Create a profile for an individual (e.g., John, Mom) or group (e.g., Kids), then assign their devices to that profile. You can create profiles from the People section by selecting Create Profile, or during the process of naming a device in the Devices section. After you create a profile, it will appear in the People section. For all the devices assigned to that profile, you can view how active they are on your home network, see which devices are online, instantly pause WiFi access, set a bedtime, and enable Parental Controls. In addition to the custom profiles you create, we provide two profiles for you to use:
Household - can be used to assign smart home devices (e.g., Smart TV, thermostat, security system, door locks)
Guest - can be used to assign visitors' devices
These profiles will only appear in the People section if a device is assigned to them; they cannot be deleted.
Pause All Devices You can block a profile or group of devices from accessing the Internet when connected to your home network by selecting Pause All. You can either pause the devices for a specific amount of time (for example, 30 minutes, one hour or two hours) or indefinitely until you choose to unpause the devices. Once a profile is paused, any new device assigned to that profile will be paused. Please note that any in-progress activity might not stop immediately. Additional details about pausing a device are included above.
Bedtime Mode Bedtime Mode allows you to automatically pause WiFi access over your home network during scheduled times for all devices assigned to a profile. For example, you can pause kids' WiFi access during dinnertime or bedtime. Different schedules can be set for school nights (Sunday - Thursday) and weekends (Friday - Saturday). To set Bedtime Mode, select a profile, then select Edit next to Bedtime Mode. Select the desired nights for Bedtime Mode and the sleep and wake times. All devices assigned to that profile will then be paused during the sleep times selected. Note: If you've previously set up a scheduled block for a device(s) from your Gateway's Admin Tool (http://10.0.0.1), you should be alerted when you attempt to set up Bedtime Mode that your prior settings will be cleared. Once you access Bedtime Mode, Pause/Unpause a device or access Port Forwarding through xFi, you will no longer be able to access similar features (scheduled block, block or port forwarding) through the Gateway's Admin Tool (http://10.0.0.1).
How To Set Bedtimes and Manage Parental Controls with XFINITY xFi
Parental Controls Parental Controls help reduce the risk of children accessing age-inappropriate content from their devices. To set Parental Controls, select a profile, then select Edit next to Parental Controls. Next, select On to only allow access to content deemed appropriate for all ages. The following third-party settings are applied to profiles that have xFi Parental Controls enabled:
Google SafeSearch: On
Bing SafeSearch: Strict
YouTube Restricted Mode: On
If a device assigned to that profile attempts to access a website or app known to host inappropriate content for that level, a block page will be displayed. In the case of secure websites or mobile applications, the block page may not be displayed, but access is still prevented.
Home Network Activity
In addition to viewing aggregate network activity for all profiles and devices on your home network in the Overview section, you can view activity for individual devices and profiles. Simply select a device or profile to view network activity over the past 24 hours and the past 30 days.
We see many questions in the forums regarding port forwarding, so I have put together a primer to try to help those who are new to the concept.
WARNING: Port Forwarding exposes devices on your LAN to the Internet. If you DO NOT NEED to port forward, DON'T. This guide tells you how to and why you might need to port forward. The reader assumes any and all responsibility for any damage of, or intrusions into their network caused by port forwarding. What is Port Forwarding?
Port forwarding is a mechanism used in IPv4 to allow a computer, smartphone, or other device (the SOURCE) outside your Comcast HSI connection to connect to a device on your LAN (the DESTINATION). A typical Comcast residential user network might look something like this:
In this diagram, a Cable subscriber (you) has a webcam, NAS, or media server on the internal LAN behind his router/gateway. It is configured to listen on TCP port 8080, in this case. Other devices or game servers that you have may be configured to listen on a different (or many different) ports, but the principle is the same.
Let's say that the subscriber (you) want to make that server available to a family member in a different location, so they can see your webcam, or look at pictures on your media server or NAS. In order to do that, your family member needs to be able to connect, often using a web browser, or a smartphone app. The problem is that your web server is on your LAN, protected by the firewall in your router, AND it has a private address, which cannot be used on the internet. The private subnets you will see most commonly are the 192.168.0.0 and 10.0.0.0 subnets. Subnetting is beyond the scope of this discussion, as most home routers are set up out-of-the-box to use one of these submets. Under normal circumstances, you will probably never have to change this. The problem lies in the fact that these subnets cannot be routed over the internet. Port Forwarding is intended to solve that problem.
As seen in the diagram, your home router (and you must have a router of some type to perform port forwarding) is provided with an address on the public internet by Comcast. Because of a shortage of IPv4 addresses, home routers use Network Address Translation (NAT) to allow you to connect a large number of devices to your router, and give them the ability to connect to other devices on the internet. This is done by assigning each requested connection from your LAN a TCP port, so the router can track the connection. The combination of the IP address and port number is called a socket. So, when you use your computer on your LAN to go to www.google.com, your computer (the source) sends a request using a random port (usually above port 1024) to the destination (www.google.com) on port 80 (the standard http port. Because of NAT, the Google server sees your source address as the WAN IP of your router. How, you may ask. is this related to Port Forwarding? Well, port forwarding is essentially the same process, but in reverse. Think of it as inbound NAT. You router has a public IP address, but by default, it doesn't listen on many ports. This is for security, so that someone on the internet cannot easily get on to your network. Now, you have a media server or an IP Camera that you want Granny to see, so you have to tell your router to listen on a port so that you can give Granny a link to it that she can put in her web browser (how she does that we will discuss later).
How do I set up Port Forwarding
First, you have to set up your router. There is an excellent website at http://portforward.com, which will walk you through the steps of how to forward ports on just about every known router, so I am not going to go into detail on any particular model. Suffice to say that when you set up port forwarding, you tell your router to listen on a particular port (in the case of the diagram, it is port 8080), and you also tell it where to send that traffic, when it sees it. In this case, the router is told to send all traffic it ses incoming on port 8080 to the internal device at 192.168.1.200. Below is an example of the screen for configuring a Custom port forwarding service on a Netgear WNDR3700. Other router screens will look different. This is just one example:
OK, so I have set it up...how does Granny get there... Granny has a computer with a web browser. Lets say you are letting her see your IP Camera. instead of port 80, your IP Camera is designed to listen on port 8080. Under normal circumstances, you would forward the same port externally as the device listens on, so you would set up your port forwarding to listen on the WAN interface on port 8080, and internally, send all port 8080 traffic to the IP address of your IP camera. Now, when Granny browses google.com, she just types inwww.google.com in her browser, and it goes there, right? That is because google.com is listening on a well-known port for http traffic (port 80), and browsers automatically know that you want to go to port 80. What they don't know is that your router is waiting to send traffic to your IP Camera on port 8080, so when you tell Granny how to get to your camera, if you are using any port other that 80, you MUST specify the port, and that you are using the http protocol. So, you would tell granny to put the following in her browser address bar: http://<yourWANIP>:8080
To find the WAN IP of your router, you can either look at the Status page in your router interface, or browse tohttp://whatismyip.com If you don't want to give her an IP address, you would need to use some type of Dynamic DNS service (not within the scope of this discussion) to translate your WAN IP into a hostname, but you still need to specify http and the port number, like this: http://myipcam.somedomain.org:2000 (the actual name will depend on your Dynamic DNS provider) What else can I do with Port Forwarding?
The principles are the same for pretty much any device or server that you want to make available to sources outside your home. You can port forward Windows Remote Desktop Protocol, so you can log into your PC from another device with an RDP client. You can run a web server (although publicly accessible webservers are technically against the Comcast AUP for residential connections), you can access your own media server from your smartphone, so you can listen to your music wherever you are...the possibilities are pretty much endless, BUT make sure that you secure the devices you are allowing access to with strong passwords. While many security experts frown upon the concept of 'Security by Obscurity' I personally don't see that it hurts to change the port you are using for some services, especially the more common ones...Any hacker knows that Windows Remote Desktop Protocol runs on port 3389, so instead of setting your port forwarding up to listen on port 3389 on the WAN IP, use a different port (above 1024 is recommended. The highest you can go is 65535). You can still tell the router to forward the traffic to port 3389, so you don't have to mess around with the registry settings for your RDP setup on your Windows machine. That is basic port forwarding in brief. If you have any questions, please post it in the forums in the Home Networking / Router / & WiFi Gateway Help board and we will try to help. Be aware that as of writing this (April 2013) there appear to be some issues with port forwarding on some of the Comcast supplied gateway devices. Unfortunately, there isn't much we can do to remedy those, if you have set up port forwarding properly. The suggested solution is to have the gateway placed in bridge mode, and buy your own router to do your port forwarding. Also there are some quirks to setting up port forwarding on the SBG6580 gateway. See this post for details: http://forums.comcast.com/t5/Home-Networking-Router-WiFi/Port-Forwarding-for-an-IP-Camera/m-p/152957...
If you want to give other members of your household access to your XFINITY account, you can create a distinct username for each of them online.
Additional XFINITY Usernames
You can add up to six additional XFINITY usernames to your account. To create a new XFINITY username:
Sign in to My Account as the primary user.
Click the Users tab at the top of the page.
Underneath the current user portals, select the option to Add a New User.
Fill out the Add a New User form with the new user's information.
On the same page, indicate if the new user is under 12 years old. If so, you must agree to the COPPA Terms of Service. (Note: Learn more about The Children's Online Privacy Protection Act.)
Click Add user.
Note: When you create a new user, the user won't have any Permissions to access or modify account settings and can only utilize some account features, like watching XFINITY TV online and using email (if you have XFINITY TV and Internet). Learn how to set secondary XFINITY username permissions.
Once you have WiFi in your home, you’ll want to make sure you’re getting the most out of your connection. Older equipment and poor network configuration can slow down the speed of your WiFi connection in your home, which could lead to slower downloads, lagging online games and streaming video, and overall slower Internet performance. What else can impact the speed or performance of your network?
Number of WiFi devices on your home network
Interference from neighboring WiFi networks
Limitations of individual WiFi devices
Distance between the wireless gateway and your WiFi-enabled device (i.e. mobile phone, tablets, laptop, etc.)
Physical factors (i.e. home construction, apartment vs. single home)
Here are a few ways to improve your WiFi network.
Wireless Gateway Placement
The placement and location of your wireless gateway can affect the WiFi radio signal strength and speed of your connection. For best WiFi coverage, ensure your wireless gateway is elevated (off of the floor) and in an upright position. Place your wireless gateway in a central area where you’ll most commonly use your WiFi devices. In general, an open space is better than a crowded space.
For the best WiFi reception and the least interference from nearby wireless networks, place your wireless gateway in an open area, away from:
Metal surfaces (including computer cases)
Microwaves and refrigerators
TVs and computer monitors
Cordless phones (excluding DECT or 900MHz models)
Large amounts of water (like aquariums and water heaters)
Keep in mind that the WiFi-capable devices you connect to your in-home network play as important a role as the wireless gateway when it comes to range and speed issues. Additionally, locations that tend to have high WiFi usage, such as crowded neighborhoods and apartments, may affect your speeds, especially during peak hours.
If you use a separate router along with the wireless gateway, make sure the wireless gateway is in bridge mode. (See Enable or Disable Bridge Mode on a Wireless Gateway.) To find out more about wireless networking, please see What is WiFi? to find out what WiFi is and how it works. For information on home networking and how to set up a home network, see What is Home Networking?
Upgrading Your Modem
Comcast provides several levels of Internet service offering different speeds, such as Performance, Blast! and Extreme 105 or Extreme 150. Your level of service is listed on your billing statement. Because some older modems and gateways can’t adequately support higher levels of Internet service, you may still be accessing the Internet at slower speeds, even if you’ve upgraded your plan. If you lease a modem/gateway from Comcast, you’ll want to upgrade your modem/gateway to make sure you’re getting the fastest network speeds possible. You can find a list of Comcast-approved modems and their specifications at the DOCSIS Device Information Center. To find out more about upgrading your equipment, see Upgrade Your Wireless Network Equipment.
For more information, see https://customer.xfinity.com/help-and-support/internet/improve-your-wireless-home-network/