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  5. 802.11 Networking Protocols and WiFi Home Networking Overview

802.11 Networking Protocols and WiFi Home Networking Overview

Learn all about WiFi and the benefits of setting up a home network!

WiFi and Home Networking

Before setting up your Home Network, be sure to familiarize yourself with the basics of WiFi and Home Networking.
Interested in setting up your Home Network on a wireless gateway? See Plug In and Power Up Your Wireless Network with a Wireless Gateway to learn how.

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XFINITY WiFi Hotspots

XFINITY WiFi is a network of hotspots that keep you connected to the Internet at WiFi hotspots around town. Access to XFINITY WiFi hotspots is offered exclusively to XFINITY Internet customers. XFINITY WiFi is included with XFINITY Internet (Performance or above level of service) at no additional cost. See What XFINITY service do I subscribe to? for more information.
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What is 802.11 and Which Protocol Should I Use for My Devices?

802.11 is a set of technology standards for wireless network devices that governs the way they communicate with one another. Customers with the Wireless Gateway 1 and Wireless Gateway 2 can enjoy the benefits of an 802.11n network. Read overviews on the Wireless Gateway 1 and Wireless Gateway 2 and Wireless Gateway 3 and see 802.11n benefits for information on the performance benefits of 802.11n.

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General Facts About 802.11 Compatibility

802.11 is the standard designation originally developed for wireless communications. Improvements are incorporated into the standard, using letter designations a/b/g/n/ac. Learn which networking protocols are compatible with each other to help maximize your networking speeds.
  • 802.11a technology is generally incompatible with other networking protocols. Older protocols are not used at all.
  • Comcast wireless gateways and access points support all the required protocols (b/g/n/ac), for client connectivity.
  • During the connection process, devices learn the protocols supported by the gateway (b/g/n/ac) and select the protocol it will use to transmit data.
  • As a client device goes through its internal protocol selection process, it settles on a protocol that provides the greatest capability and speed.
  • The general rule of thumb is the newer the protocol, the greater the capability and speed. For 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac, "a" is the oldest and "ac" is the newest protocol in the standard.
  • These protocols are available in Comcast gateways and provide compatibility for older devices that require b or g. New protocols such as n/ac provide the best performance supporting both 2.4 and 5 GHz radios.
  • 802.11ac technology features high speed rates using the 5GHz band allowing for a better in-home signal coverage. Called "beamforming," this feature detects a device location and amplifies the signal in the direction of the device. Most of today's consumer devices incorporate the 802.11n/ac chip set providing the best performance.

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