Following an initial deployment in two markets, Comcast has moved forward with the national launch of xFi Pods, devices that are part of a mesh-based WiFi platform that help to extend broadband coverage to all corners of the customer’s home.
Comcast’s hexagon-shaped xFi Pods, developed in partnership with Plume, plug directly into electrical outlets and work in tandem with the MSO’s xFi Gateway and its new DOCSIS 3.1-based xFi Advanced Gateway (formerly known as the XB3) and have been integrated with the operator’s relatively new xFi WiFi management platform.
While the xFi Pods do provide an integrated connectivity layer, they also weave in an additional “intelligence” layer as the monitoring software inside has smarts to support things like dynamic/adaptive channel changes and steer a user’s device to a clean WiFi spectrum band when facing a congested environment, Srindhar Solur, Comcast’s SVP of product development for Xfinity Home and IoT, explained.
Comcast has also configured the xFi Pods to be auto-recognized, onboarded and activated using the xFi app when the small mesh extenders are plugged into the wall.
The national launch the xFi Pod follows an initial rollout last year in Boston and Chicago. Comcast hasn’t revealed sales figures on them, but Solur said they have resulted in higher Net Promoter Scores.
Comcast is currently selling xFi Pods in three-packs for $119 or in six-packs for $199 online and at some Xfinity retail stores. Later this year, Comcast plans to offer a monthly payment plan option for purchases of xFi Pods.
The rollout also fits with a wider trend that has seen several cable operators and other ISPs introduce premium-level whole-home WiFi products.
Comcast’s national launch also arrives as The Wi-Fi Alliance looks to drive interoperability standards into whole-home set-ups via its new “EasyMesh” initiative.
For its part, Comcast hasn’t announced any direct work with that project, though Solur said interoperability does represent a “natural progression” for this product/tech category.
“If you’re not standards-compliant, you’re not going to make that happen,” he said.