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CES 2022: Comcast's new gateway adds Wi-Fi 6E support

The broadband provider's 2022 update focuses on smart home device support and increased speeds.
Written by Michael Gariffo, Staff Writer

Comcast introduced the newest version of its Xfinity xFi Advanced Gateway on Monday. The updated model builds upon previous iterations with the addition of Wi-Fi 6E support for tri-band connectivity and improved throughput statistics. 

According to the broadband provider, the gateway adds 6GHz band support to the existing 2.4GHz and 5GHz bands already offered by the Wi-Fi 6 model it debuted at CES 2020. The expanded frequency range brings reduced interference, and "3X" the bandwidth, Comcast said. Its boosted speeds also provide symmetrical gigabit support, meaning 1Gbps+ speeds will be available for both download and upload purposes across the user's home network, where supported. 

In addition to faster transfer speeds, the xFi Advanced Gateway now handles twice as many simultaneous device connections. Comcast noted the importance of this feature for the gateway's use as a smart-home component. The broadband provider clearly hopes the increased connectivity, along with built-in support for both the Zigbee and Matter smart home protocols, will position the unit as a central hub for users' connected appliances, lighting, security systems, and other devices. 

For gaming and entertainment purposes, the 2022 xFi Advanced Gateway also offers reduced latency to improve performance for both online games and streamed games and video. Console and PC gamers, as well as virtual reality headset owners, are likely to see the most benefit from this upgrade. 

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Finally, the updated model retains its predecessor's compatibility with Comcast's xFi Pods, a line of Wi-Fi extenders that can be used for larger homes and residences with interference issues or dead zones. 

Comcast claims a similar router available on the retail market can cost consumers "more than $1,000," though most Wi-Fi 6E routers are currently retailing for something closer to half of that lofty figure. Still, the unit would likely represent the cheapest Wi-Fi 6E entry point for those already paying Comcast for a monthly rental of their in-home gateway.

The company plans to begin rolling the new unit out to Xfinity broadband subscribers "in the coming months." It appears that gradual deployment will prioritize accounts subscribed to one of its more costly Gigabit Internet or xFi Complete packages, with other subscribers gaining access to the new unit at a later date. 

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