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  1. #1

    MacInWin's Avatar
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    Too many hotspots?
    Ok, this is a first world problem, and so trivial that I'm embarrassed (slightly) to even bring it up. But....

    In my town the significant cable/internet provider is Comcast/Xfinity. They have been offering new modems and routers to folks here as the speeds have increased. The new wifi routers default to a hotspot called XfinityWiFi that is available to any Xfinity user anywhere. You can turn that off, but most folks just let it run because it takes some tech savvy to turn it off on the WiFi interface and they don't bother. So, as a result, just about every house is broadcasting an open public hotspot called XfinityWifi. One you log into one, you can log into any one. The owners don't care because the bandwidth is not charged to them, it's a 'service' of Xfinity, so there is little motivation to do anything.

    Not a bad idea, ubiquitous coverage, but...

    I like to listen to streaming music while I drive around town. I have my iPhone paired to my car audio by Bluetooth, start the streaming while in my house and then move to the car. It picks up the BT connection and I have lovely tunes from the car audio. It used to be that when I left my driveway there was a short pause as it my WiFi dropped out and the iPhone moved over to stream over my cellular provider (Verizon), but now, because of the proliferation of hotspots all broadcasting the same SSID, the stream never starts up because as I move down the street the iPhone keeps trying to establish a connection with the next hotspot. The result is it NEVER connects. To stop the hopping from one hotspot to the next, I have to turn off WiFi and it then will stream over cellular. Add to that proliferation of xfinitywifi hotspots the increasing number of businesses offering free hotspots and the new technology that gives those hotspots greater range and my poor iPhone is constantly negotiating, never connecting!

    I could use something like IFTTT or some other workflow manager to turn off WiFi if I'm not within a geofence of my home, but that would require the gps to be active all the time, eating up battery.

    I've tried everything I can think of to stop the negotiations, including forgetting every hotspot but my home network and selecting "Ask to join networks" but the iPhone process is still to negotiate with every hotspot in my neighborhood/town.

    So, first worlders, any potential solution to having too many hotspots? For now I have to remember to turn off WiFi before I leave my house so that it streams smoothly over cellular. PITA. And yes, it's first world but it is annoying nevertheless.

  2. #2

    chscag's Avatar
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    So, first worlders, any potential solution to having too many hotspots? For now I have to remember to turn off WiFi before I leave my house so that it streams smoothly over cellular. PITA. And yes, it's first world but it is annoying nevertheless.
    LOL. That's like saying: "I have too much money, please come and take some from me". Just joshing you Jake. I don't think there is anything you can do about what you're experiencing until the next feature leap in iPhones allows you to separate the various signals from reception and only lock on to your own. That technology does exist but not for consumer devices.

  3. #3

    Raz0rEdge's Avatar
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    If you forget known networks and have it set to prompt you to join unknown networks then it really shouldn't trying to connect randomly. Have you sat on the WiFi page to see what it's trying to do when you leave the house and WiFi range? Hopefully when you're a passenger in a car as opposed to the driver..
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  4. #4

    MacInWin's Avatar
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    Well, I've told it to forget every network but mine and one other, but it still checks for every incoming signal from a "free" hotpoint. I've had the WiFi screen up driving down my street and I can see it moving from one to another, never succeeding before I drive out of range and it tries again. I looked at IFTTT and it can geofence for me, but I can't see how to get it to turn Wifi on and off based on the geofence. And it gets even worse at some locations in town where if I catch a light red, I can watch it hopping from store to store on the corner! I guess I will have to set a IFTTT reminder to turn off and on as I leave and enter my home location. Sigh.

  5. #5

    ferrarr's Avatar
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    Reminders app can be used for location based reminders. I use when coming home, and when going to certain places.
    -- Bob --
    Please backup. Everything has a life cycle, unexpected and warning free. Nothing will last as long as you want it to.

  6. #6

    MacInWin's Avatar
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    Yeah, this is one of those "unintended consequences" you hear about. Comcast thought to do a nice thing for folks by having open hotspots and using excess bandwidth to allow visitors to use that space if they were Xfinity customers. That's nice. But when you have a community of 1000's of folks and all of those routers become hotspots, you get what I am experiencing. If there were a way to seamlessly pass the WiFi connection from one to another, similar to the way cellular systems pass your connection from tower to tower as you drive, then it would be useful. But doing that would require some pretty serious computing power and a change in the way WiFi connects, so that is very unlikely to happen. Frankly, if I were the king of the world, I'd tell Xfinity to default that setting to OFF and then locations where it makes sense (stores, restaurants, shops, etc) can set it to ON and provide a free WiFi for Xfinity customers who visit the facility. That way just driving through my neighborhood where 95% of the houses have "xfinitywifi" as a hotspot would go away.

    The good news is that once I get on the open road, away from civilization, streaming goes just fine. Maybe I need to move closer to the boonies?

  7. #7

    MacInWin's Avatar
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    UPDATE: I found this article today:

    https://www.macworld.com/article/322...i-network.html

    And in reading it, I was prompted to open System Preferences on my MBP, then Networking, the WiFi connection and holy smokes, there were dozens of no-password networks there! I deleted them all, have the iPhone set to require approval to connect and we'll see how it goes. IN a nutshell, the article says to open Keychain on a Mac, delete the xfinitywifi entry there and it will replicate over iCloud to the iPhone. Then clean out xfinitywifi from Network Preferences. It was that second step that led to the discover of dozens and dozens of hotspots listed.

    Will give it a run later today and report back on how it worked.

  8. #8

    MacInWin's Avatar
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    I wanted to report back that making the changes I did has dramatically cut down on the loss of my streaming music. I can now drive through my neighborhood and not lose the connection at all! So, if you are having issues with streaming of any kind, you might want to look at that link I provided.

  9. #9

    ferrarr's Avatar
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    Excellent, thanks for the update.
    -- Bob --
    Please backup. Everything has a life cycle, unexpected and warning free. Nothing will last as long as you want it to.

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