Gadgets

Comcast’s new WIFI extender provides cellular and battery backup during storms

Here’s a clever addition to Comcast’s range of home internet devices. The Xfinity Storm-Ready WiFi is a range extender that features a four hour battery and cellular connectivity that will click on when users lose internet and power. As the name suggests, the system is designed specifically to serve as backup for weather-related outages.

The ISP notes that in the U.S., power outages average around two hours, and the system offers double that on a charge. We’re currently in the middle of hurricane season, here in North America. The period runs from roughly the beginning of June to the end of November, and if recent years and mainstream science are any indication, things are only going to continue getting worse.

When things are running smoothly, the system serves as a range extender, bringing the service provider’s 10G network to pockets of your home that your standard router won’t reach.

Comcast is offering the system through a kind of hardware as a service model, charging users $7 a month over the course of 36 months. So, $252, all told. That price includes the “unlimited” backup cellular connection. You likely won’t need/be using it very much, but this whole thing is really more about peace of mind than daily utility.

It’s far from fool proof, of course. There will certainly be instances during severe weather when cell service drops along with everything else. But if you’re a Comcast user who is (understandably) concerned about increased frequency and severity of weather, it could prove a nice addition.

The Storm-Ready WiFi on sale starting today.

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