CES 2020: Comcast Pitches Free Cybersecurity to 18M Broadband Subs

Jeff Baumgartner
1/6/2020

As part of an ongoing effort to pack its residential broadband service with features beyond raw speed, Comcast said it will now give away an advanced cybersecurity service to about 18 million high-speed Internet subscribers that use qualified, cable operator-supplied gateways.

The decision comes roughly a year after Comcast introduced that product, called xFi Advanced Security and initially sold as a premium standalone for an additional $5.99 per month. Comcast said the new offer, which carries an annual value of almost $72, will be rolled out to eligible customers over the coming weeks.

Launched last year as a premium add-on, Comcast will now offer its xFi Advanced Security service for no added cost to about 18 million broadband customers that use qualified operator-supplied gateways.
Launched last year as a premium add-on, Comcast will now offer its xFi Advanced Security service for no added cost to about 18 million broadband customers that use qualified operator-supplied gateways.

Eligible gateways for the free cybersecurity addition include models equipped with Comcast's xFi-branded managed home network platform. Those include the XB6, XB3, a fiber-based gateway called the XF3, as well as Comcast's new multi-gigabit-capable XB7. Older Comcast gateways, such as the XB2, don't support the xFi platform.

xFi Advanced Security, a product that taps into Cujo AI's cloud platform, uses machine learning and artificial intelligence techniques to spot malware intrusions and potentially hacked IoT devices. Once threats are spotted, the system automatically blocks and contains any identified and suspicious activity and informs customers how to resolve those threats.

Customers will still have the option to disable the cybersecurity feature if they want, but integrating that product for no added cost builds on Comcast's initiative to differentiate its broadband service with value-based features and capabilities beyond speed and price, explained Dave Puckett, vice president of xFi and digital security at Comcast.

Other examples include the baseline xFi platform, which enables customers to manage their home WiFi networks, and Xfinity Flex, a new smart home/video streaming service that's now available for free to Comcast's broadband-only subs.

Comcast opens up about new DOCSIS 3.1 gateway
Comcast is also using this week's CES in Las Vegas to unveil its next-gen gateway, the XB7. As reported on first by Light Reading last month, Comcast's new gateway, built by Technicolor, will support multi-gigabit speeds on its DOCSIS 3.1 network, thanks in part to a 2.5Gbit/s Ethernet port. The device is also outfitted with WiFi 6 via four dual-band (2.4GHz and 5GHz) antennas, and Bluetooth LE and Zigbee IoT radios.

The XB7 also comes with a switchable "mid-split" capability that supports legacy upstream bandwidth up to 42MHz and sets the stage for an upstream bandwidth expansion to 85MHz. The device will also integrate new low-latency capabilities that are now part of the DOCSIS 3.1 specs and will also be included in future DOCSIS 4.0 devices.

The XB7 (pictured at left) is a multi-gigabit-capable DOCSIS 3.1 gateway with onboard WiFi 6 and IoT radios. Customers will also be able to pair the gateway with xFi Pods to extend the reach of WiFi signals in customer homes.
The XB7 (pictured at left) is a multi-gigabit-capable DOCSIS 3.1 gateway with onboard WiFi 6 and IoT radios. Customers will also be able to pair the gateway with xFi Pods to extend the reach of WiFi signals in customer homes.

Comcast's current top-end broadband service delivered on its DOCSIS 3.1 hybrid fiber/coax (HFC) network delivers up to 1 Gbit/s (downstream) in tandem with its XB6 gateway. Comcast has not announced when it plans to offer a multi-gig D3.1-based broadband service, but has hinted at plans to offer a symmetrical 1Gbit/s broadband service on its D3.1 platform. Comcast currently uses fiber-to-the-premises technology in a targeted fashion for a symmetrical 2Gbit/s residential high-speed Internet service called Gigabit Pro.

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— Jeff Baumgartner, Senior Editor, Light Reading

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medvyed
medvyed
1/7/2020 | 2:08:17 PM
Advanced Security is now active on my Comcast XB6
I checked my XB6's xFi settings this morning and found that Advanced Security had been rolled out sometime overnight.  The xFi Overview page now reports "Gateway and Pods Online and Secure."

I live in the Atlanta area.
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