How to extend a public hotspot with Airport Extreme

themacguy12

macrumors regular
Original poster
Nov 18, 2006
116
0
Murfreesboro, TN
There is an Xfinitywifi hotspot near my house that I would like to boost the signal with my AirPort Extreme. My current setup is too slow, I'm using a 2008 MacBook Pro, logged into the comcast xfinity wifi, and shared the internet through Ethernet to my AirPort Extreme. It works perfect, but the internet sharing in Mac OS X is very slow (as expected).

I also have an Apple TV that can't connect directly to the xfinity hotspot because you have to log in, so I would like all my devices to be on the same network/router.

What can I do to make this work better?


**EDIT: Found Solution ***
From post below — "I just solved my problem, this is what I did: I went to Best Buy and bought a current-generation Airport Express and "joined" the xfinitywifi network. I took an ethernet cable from the Express to the Extreme and created my own home network. Now I get the full 15 megabits down and 10 megabits up."
 
Last edited:

Altemose

macrumors G3
Mar 26, 2013
9,171
479
Elkton, Maryland
There is an Xfinitywifi hotspot near my house that I would like to boost the signal with my AirPort Extreme. My current setup is too slow, I'm using a 2008 MacBook Pro, logged into the comcast xfinity wifi, and shared the internet through Ethernet to my AirPort Extreme. It works perfect, but the internet sharing in Mac OS X is very slow (as expected).



I also have an Apple TV that can't connect directly to the xfinity hotspot because you have to log in, so I would like all my devices to be on the same network/router.



What can I do to make this work better?

Sounds like you are trying to steal Internet...

You would need an Express to connect to the hotspot and connect to the Extreme via Ethernet. The Express would be the connection to the hotspot, while the Extreme would make the network in your home.
 

g4cube

macrumors 6502a
Apr 22, 2003
760
13
You can use the Seagate Wireless Plus or the LaCie Fuel to connect to a public WiFi hotspot and then create a secure sub-network for 5-7 connected devices.

I've used the earlier Seagate Satellite wireless hard drive in hotels to connect multiple devices while paying for only one connection. Some hotels and other locations still charge for each device, and the Seagate and LaCie devices come in handy for creating a private network if you have multiple devices.

Note well: hotel bandwidth is notoriously slow, so don't plan on large downloads or streaming. Same is true for Starbucks where I am right now. Sometimes it's so slow, that I turn on my Android hotspot on my cellphone which is much better, but uses my bandwidth allotment.
 

themacguy12

macrumors regular
Original poster
Nov 18, 2006
116
0
Murfreesboro, TN
Sounds like you are trying to steal Internet...
I am not stealing this Wi-Fi, I pay for access to Comcast's Xfinity wifi hotspots.

I have to authenticate through an HTML page in order for the internet to work. Could that still work if I try the Airport Express option?
 

Altemose

macrumors G3
Mar 26, 2013
9,171
479
Elkton, Maryland
I am not stealing this Wi-Fi, I pay for access to Comcast's Xfinity wifi hotspots.



I have to authenticate through an HTML page in order for the internet to work. Could that still work if I try the Airport Express option?

I am not sure how Comcast has it set up. It should work but I never tried it on an Xfinity type of hotspot, only hotels.
 

themacguy12

macrumors regular
Original poster
Nov 18, 2006
116
0
Murfreesboro, TN
The Answer

I just solved my problem, this is what I did:

I went to Best Buy and bought a current-generation Airport Express and "joined" the xfinitywifi network. I took an ethernet cable from the Express to the Extreme and created my own home network.

Now I get the full 15 megabits down and 10 megabits up.
 

Intell

macrumors P6
Jan 24, 2010
18,897
407
Inside
Your solution will cause problems for devices on the Extreme. You'll run into double NAT and feedback loop issues.
 

Altemose

macrumors G3
Mar 26, 2013
9,171
479
Elkton, Maryland
Then you'll either end up with Comcast's fixed NAT or no NAT at all. Their xfinity hotspots aren't very forgiving.
The Xfinity hot spot should give an IP to the Express, which is then passed on to the Extreme. The Extreme when in bridge mode will either have to request more addresses from the hot spot or if in DHCP and NAT will form its own private network with a dedicated DHCP range that is not affected by the hot spot's DHCP server.
 

Intell

macrumors P6
Jan 24, 2010
18,897
407
Inside
The Xfinity hot spot should give an IP to the Express, which is then passed on to the Extreme. The Extreme when in bridge mode will either have to request more addresses from the hot spot or if in DHCP and NAT will form its own private network with a dedicated DHCP range that is not affected by the hot spot's DHCP server.
If the Extreme is in bridge mode, then all of the devices on the Extreme will show up on the xfinity decive. This is not a very good idea as nothing will be secure. If the Extreme is set to share an IP address, it will have to use the xfinity's NAT or create a double NAT unless turned off. Both of these situations will cause problems with the internet Extreme network.
 

Altemose

macrumors G3
Mar 26, 2013
9,171
479
Elkton, Maryland
If the Extreme is in bridge mode, then all of the devices on the Extreme will show up on the xfinity decive. This is not a very good idea as nothing will be secure. If the Extreme is set to share an IP address, it will have to use the xfinity's NAT or create a double NAT unless turned off. Both of these situations will cause problems with the internet Extreme network.

A double NAT configuration would have the Xfinity hotspot giving the Extreme a private address like 192.168.1.44. The Extreme would take that address and form its own DHCP range like 10.0.1.1-10.0.1.250. If in Bridge Mode, all DHCP tasks come off the Xfinity hotspot and cause the issues you mention. In double NAT there should be no problems but a warning that can be dismissed.
 

Intell

macrumors P6
Jan 24, 2010
18,897
407
Inside
A double NAT configuration would have the Xfinity hotspot giving the Extreme a private address like 192.168.1.44. The Extreme would take that address and form its own DHCP range like 10.0.1.1-10.0.1.250. If in Bridge Mode, all DHCP tasks come off the Xfinity hotspot and cause the issues you mention. In double NAT there should be no problems but a warning that can be dismissed.
The problem with dismissing the double NAT is that the only NAT would then be the xfinity network's. Those don't have very good support for NAT traversal services and they cannot be configured manually. If a double NAT does exist, there will be limited connectivity for devices that use nearly any port to connect to internet services.
 

Altemose

macrumors G3
Mar 26, 2013
9,171
479
Elkton, Maryland
The problem with dismissing the double NAT is that the only NAT would then be the xfinity network's. Those don't have very good support for NAT traversal services and they cannot be configured manually. If a double NAT does exist, there will be limited connectivity for devices that use nearly any port to connect to internet services.

Most of the common ports are still available on Double NAT configurations aside from some Back to My Mac ports. Most programs will be fine. I use a double NAT configuration with Comcast equipment at a school where it is the only option.
 

Intell

macrumors P6
Jan 24, 2010
18,897
407
Inside
Most of the common ports are still available on Double NAT configurations aside from some Back to My Mac ports. Most programs will be fine. I use a double NAT configuration with Comcast equipment at a school where it is the only option.
Not all double NATs are the same. It may allow some out going ports, but they all refuse all incoming ports. This refusal causes problems with streaming media and other things that use UDP ports. In some of the more restrictive networks, even outgoing 443 is misdirected causing many problems.
 

Altemose

macrumors G3
Mar 26, 2013
9,171
479
Elkton, Maryland
Not all double NATs are the same. It may allow some out going ports, but they all refuse all incoming ports. This refusal causes problems with streaming media and other things that use UDP ports. In some of the more restrictive networks, even outgoing 443 is misdirected causing many problems.

I feel as though it is the best possibility the OP has. There are downfalls, but it is as good as it is going to be.
 

James34345

macrumors newbie
Oct 31, 2016
1
0
can someone give me a step by step on how to do this setup? I have an xfinity account and just need to perform the same setup as The Macguy12
[doublepost=1477951187][/doublepost]
The Answer

I just solved my problem, this is what I did:

I went to Best Buy and bought a current-generation Airport Express and "joined" the xfinitywifi network. I took an ethernet cable from the Express to the Extreme and created my own home network.

Now I get the full 15 megabits down and 10 megabits up.

can someone you give me a step by step on how to do this setup? I have an xfinity account and just need to perform the same setup as The Macguy12. i ran into a problem trying to use the airport utility.
 

Altemose

macrumors G3
Mar 26, 2013
9,171
479
Elkton, Maryland
can someone give me a step by step on how to do this setup? I have an xfinity account and just need to perform the same setup as The Macguy12
Yes. You need an Express and an Extreme or Express. Configure the one Express to join the Xfinity hotspot and authenticate it. Then connect the second Express or Extreme via Ethernet and configure it to create a network in DHCP & NAT mode. Note that this is a double NAT configuration and may cause some issues as stated earlier in this thread by Intel and I. Why are you trying to do this?
 
Register on MacRumors! This sidebar will go away, and you'll see fewer ads.