This year, you’re going to hear a ton about the new Matter smart home standard. It’s not technically live yet, and the first compatible devices are just starting to roll in this week for CES 2022. But in preparation for the onslaught of marketing and movement around the new connect-it-all smart home platform, Comcast wants in on the action.
Comcast introduced a new Matter-ready version of its xFi Advanced Gateway router as part of this week’s CES announcements. The revamped xFi router has Zigbee connectivity to serve as a smart home hub. It’s also a tri-band Wi-Fi 6E router, so it supports the new 6GHz band along with the now-standard 2.4Ghz and 5GHz bands. It has user-friendly features like parental controls and the ability to manage individual device access.
Comcast’s xFi Advanced Gateway router is an easy default choice for people who can’t immediately afford a new modem and router setup for improved internet speeds. At the very least, what Comcast is offering here is a next-generation option rather than forcing folks to lease hardware that’s outdated.
Comcast also offers a lineup of smart home accessories and devices, including a new Xfinity Video Doorbell that integrates directly with other screens in the ecosystem. You can pay off that doorbell camera in $5 increments on your monthly service bill.
There will be more Wi-Fi 6E routers in the pipeline in the coming months since the rest of the industry has also started adopting the standard. But right now, those cost a small fortune—the Netgear Nighthawk RAXE500, for instance, costs upwards of $600, and it’s not a smart home hub.
Not everyone needs or wants to pay up front for a blazing fast, next-gen wifi router, and Comcast is targeting those folks with this particular launch. The cost for leasing the router will remain around $14/month, which could make sense for a lot of Comcast subscribers. Leasing also means you don’t have to hold on to old hardware when upgrades come down the pipeline. On the flip side, you will have to keep paying for the device to use it, and it means you don’t technically own the hardware.
Comcast says its customers will get the new xFi Advanced Gateway wifi routers in the coming months. Subscribers who pay for gigabit internet or the xFi Complete package will have first dibs to upgrade.