How To Make Comcast Xfinity, AT&T U-verse, Or Some Other Laggy Home Internet Wi-Fi Faster

Jan 3, 2018Ryan Burnette

Pretty much everyone I know has home Internet service such as Comcast Xfinity, AT&T U-Verse, or a comparable service from one of the smaller competitor companies.

Most of these services, especially Comcast Xfinity, are delivering service with low latency and an impressive amount of bandwidth. I currently have Comcast Xfinity with about 50 megabits of speed. My Internet connection is super fast both when connected directly via Ethernet cable or over Wi-Fi. In this article, I'll explain how I have achieved improved performance over the out-of-the-box setup.

Disclaimer

A word of caution, the connection from the computer or device you are using through the Internet to the server that serves you some data like a webpage or data in an app is like a chain. There are many links in this chain. If something is wrong, it often takes an expert to thoroughly test all the links in that chain to see which one is causing an issue. What I have to say here has a lot of anecdotal experience behind it for people and me I know that I've made this suggestion to, but it's just a way of strengthening one link in a chain that I can't inspect for you.

Theory

The reason why the suggestion I'm about to give works is based on a theory I have. I do not have any supporting documentation or empirical research, but my own anecdotal experience and the experience of many others who have taken my suggestion back me up. If you've had any experience on the matter, please drop a comment.

Integrated Devices

Taking Comcast Xfinity as an example, as of today they are currently offering four common different devices with their service. Wireless Gateway 1 (model numbers TG862G and TC8305C), Wireless Gateway 2 (model numbers DPC3939 and TC8706C), and Wireless Gateway 3 (model numbers DPC3941T, TC8717 and TG1682G) and XB6 Wireless Gateway. I don't have the exact technical specifications for these devices or inside information on how their software works, but they all have something in common. They are computer hardware tasked with the job of processing data coming over the provided Internet connection, routing that traffic or providing network address translation and other network services to all devices, and processing traffic for the Wi-Fi connection which usually involves some form of encryption. Services other than Comcast Xfinity are offering similar hardware.

Resources

The theory is this that these devices are pushed to the limits of their available resources when the demand of all their available systems becomes heavy. Latency goes up. Available bandwidth goes down. Bad things happen.

Additional Load

In the case of Comcast Xfinity at least, when your Wi-Fi is enabled, you're providing a public Wi-Fi network. This isn't supposed to affect your service, but I believe it can and does.

Solution

Put your device in bridge mode. If you have Comcast Xfinity, here's an article about bridge mode for your service. This changes your hardware from a modem, router, and wireless access point into just a modem. In any case, you can call your provider and demand that they disable the Wi-Fi on your hardware. Bridge mode is the best solution, but disabling the Wi-Fi is the very least you must do.

Attach your own router and wireless access point. Here are a couple of models I have used that I can suggest. These are easy to set up, perform really well, and support chaining multiple units together to provide good Wi-Fi signal accross a larger area than a single access point can support.

Feedback

If you've read this article and have any additional insight or experience with my suggestion, please leave a comment.

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