Self-Install or Go Pro? Your Guide to Xfinity Installation
Ease of installation is an important factor to consider when choosing an internet service provider (ISP). Whether you’ve already settled on Xfinity and need help with your installation or you just want to see how its installation process compares to other ISPs, we’re here to show you how it’s done.
For many tech savvy customers, installing a router and activating service is like riding a bicycle. Of course, the real question isn’t whether you can follow the installation instructions (Xfinity even has an app to walk you through the process), it’s whether or not you feel comfortable dealing with unexpected problems should they arise. This guide will help you know what to expect.
Looking to sign up for Xfinity service? Make sure it’s available in your area before you dive into installation details.
How to order your Xfinity self-install kit
New Xfinity by Comcast customers can order a self-install kit at the same time they sign up for Xfinity services. Your self-install kit will be mailed directly to your home. You can also call Xfinity customer service to have a kit mailed to you. It typically charges a $15 shipping-and-handling fee for the equipment, and it also offers priority shipping for an extra charge.
If you don’t want to wait for your equipment to be mailed to you, you can also go pick it up yourself at a Xfinity customer service center. We suggest that once you find your nearest service center, you call ahead to make sure your equipment is in stock.
Pro installation vs. self-installation
Xfinity also gives you the option of purchasing professional installation. If you choose to have professional installation, a technician will come to your house and set everything up for you. There are good reasons for choosing either option, so let’s take a closer look:
- Tech will handle any issues that arise
- Technical knowledge not required
- Installation fee
- Appointment times might be inconvenient
- No appointment necessary
- No extra fees
- Unexpected problems must be dealt with by yourself
- Some technical skill required
The choice of whether or not to self-install primarily depends on how confident you feel troubleshooting problems on your own. Thanks to Xfinity’s helpful app and other information on its site, we think the process is simple enough that most people could handle self-installation. But even if you are super tech savvy, there are some issues that require professional installation.
- Older homes that don’t have a coax outlet to plug your modem into will need one installed. This can take a very long time.
- Locations that haven’t had Xfinity service for 12 months or more require a technician to come check the cable line.
- Installations that require more pieces of equipment than comes in a standard installation kit might require professional installation. This can happen if you bundle several services.
- If you want to move the location where your modem is installed to a different room, you’ll need a professional installer to run a new cable. You could also just get a Wi-Fi extender.
One comforting thing is if you choose to self-install but run into an issue, you can always contact Xfinity customer support online or by calling 1-800-XFINITY.
Pro install Xfinity internet
If you decide to go with installation from a professional Xfinity technician, you should schedule an appointment when you order your services. Here’s what you can expect:
|Cost||Appointment window||Appointment time|
|Up to $89.99||2 hrs.||2–4 hrs.|
Data as of 06/18/20. Offers and availability may vary by location and are subject to change.
What to expect
The installation process can take between two and four hours, depending on what needs to be done. If your home isn’t already wired for Xfinity cable, this can take even longer than the four-hour estimate.
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Xfinity is currently avoiding technician visits when possible and waiving standard installation fees otherwise. Also, due to these changes, the normal appointment times may be inconsistent.
How to prepare
Xfinity provides a convenient checklist of things to have ready prior to your installation appointment. Take a look at that beforehand so you can get the technician in and out as quickly as possible.
How to self-install Xfinity internet
Once you have your Xfinity self-install kit, it’s time to start setting up your equipment. If you have a mobile device, Comcast offers a free Xfinity xFi app on both the App Store and Google Play which can walk you through the installation step by step. Otherwise, you can follow these steps.
What comes in your self-install kit
Xfinity uses several different types of cable gateways (router and modem combos), depending on the kind of internet plan you sign up for. Although they may be different sizes and shapes, they all have the same basic components. Every cable modem should come with the following:
- Wireless gateway (the main box)
- Coax cable
- Power cord
- Ethernet cable (not required for wireless devices)
Some kits might come with additional parts, but these are the basic bits that every cable gateway needs to connect to the internet.
Xfinity also offers fiber gateways for customers of its fiber service, Xfinity Gigabit Pro, which has slightly different equipment. Xfinity Gigabit Pro is available in only a few cities and professional installation is required. You can find out more on Xfinity’s site.
Setting up your equipment
Once you’ve got all the essential equipment, you can begin setting up your gateway. Here are the steps:
- Place your xFi Wireless Gateway near a cable wall outlet. Try to find a central location in your home, away from windows and external walls.
- Connect one end of the coaxial cable to your open wall socket. Turn it right to tighten, and make sure you tighten it all the way. Connect the other end of the cable to the xFi Wireless Gateway.
- Plug the power cord into the back of the gateway and then into a wall outlet.
- If your gateway doesn’t turn on automatically, press the power button.
- Wait until the online connection light stops flashing and remains on. This could take up to twenty minutes.
Now that you’ve got all the equipment set up on your end, the next step is to connect your computer and other devices to the network.
Connecting your devices to the network
Once your wireless gateway has been set up, you can start connecting your devices to the network. To connect to your network wirelessly, follow these steps:
- Find the name of your network (SSID) and password (security key) or PIN on the sticker on the side, back, or bottom of your gateway. If more than one network name is listed, you may choose either.
- Access the Wi-Fi settings on your personal device and make sure that Wi-Fi is turned on. Select the name of your network (SSID) from the list of available networks.
- When prompted, enter the password (security key) or PIN from the sticker.
You can also connect directly to the gateway with a device with an Ethernet connection. To do so, plug an Ethernet cable into one of the open Ethernet ports on the gateway and plug the other end into your device. This can be handy if you are having trouble with your wireless connection or if you want to use a device that’s not Wi-Fi enabled.
Activating your Xfinity service
Once your home network is up and running, you still can’t access the internet until you activate your Xfinity service. There are two ways to activate your service:
- Xfinity xFi mobile app: Xfinity’s mobile app can be used to activate most current Xfinity gateways and xFi pods. It’s available for both Apple and Android
- Web browser: If you don’t want to use the app, you can activate your service by going to https://register.be.xfinity.com/activate and following the instructions there.
Both the mobile app and the web-based activation give you the option to give your home network a name and a new password. We highly recommend that you do this. It’ll make your network information more secure and your network name easier to remember.
Equipment: renting vs. buying
You don’t have to rent the standard equipment from Xfinity. You can also choose to buy your own modem and router. There are advantages and disadvantages to both approaches, so we’ll help you decide what’s best for you.
- Easier tech support in case of problems
- Guaranteed compatibility with your Xfinity service
- Low monthly payments
- Costs more over time
- Lacks some advanced features
- Flexibility to choose equipment based on your needs
- Equipment you keep even if you terminate Xfinity service
- No monthly payments
- Higher up-front cost
- More difficulty getting tech support
Xfinity will provide you with all the equipment you need to connect to the internet for a price. It charges $11 per month for its basic wireless gateway, which isn’t a lot, but it adds up over time. If you plan on keeping your Xfinity service for at least two years, you might consider buying your equipment instead. It’ll cost less than the rental fees you’d be paying over the same time period.
If you don’t want to pay the rental fee or would rather use equipment that you own, you can bring your own modem and router. Xfinity is compatible with a wide array of third-party gear. There’s even a list of approved third-party equipment. Even if it’s not on the list, most cable modems and wireless routers should work, but if you’re in doubt about a product, you can check out our expert recommendations for Xfinity routers.
We recommend using your provider’s equipment unless you know you have a specific need that it won’t meet. For example, if you have a large home and need to cover the whole thing, you might want a long-range router or a mesh network.
Although Xfinity’s slowly increasing rental fees have been an ongoing source of irritation for many, buying your own equipment won’t save you money unless you’re planning on renting for several years at minimum. After a few years, you might want to update that old router anyway, which means that you won’t have saved any money at all. Although we dislike hidden fees like equipment rentals, saving money probably isn’t a good enough reason on its own to buy your own router.
Find Comcast service in your area
Compared to most other ISPs, setting up Xfinity is a relatively smooth process. Whether you choose professional or self-installation, Xfinity can get you online before you know it.
Author - Peter Christiansen
Peter Christiansen writes about satellite internet, rural connectivity, livestreaming, and parental controls for HighSpeedInternet.com. Peter holds a PhD in communication from the University of Utah and has been working in tech for over 15 years as a computer programmer, game developer, filmmaker, and writer. His writing has been praised by outlets like Wired, Digital Humanities Now, and the New Statesman.
Editor - Cara Haynes
Cara Haynes has been editing and writing in the digital space for seven years, and she's edited all things internet for HighSpeedInternet.com for five years. She graduated with a BA in English and a minor in editing from Brigham Young University. When she's not editing, she makes tech accessible through her freelance writing for brands like Pluralsight. She believes no one should feel lost in internet land and that a good internet connection significantly extends your life span.