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Recent Ignite XB6 modem update activates internal WiFi Radios. Any way to stop this?

Frank_YYZ
I'm here a lot

Hi There,

 

I have been using my XB6 in BRIDGE mode for over 2 1/2 years.  I have my own router and eight of my own WiFi access points to cover my house and yard.

 

Up until the last few months, the internal 2.6 and 5 GHz radios of the Ignite modem were deactivated and everything worked perfectly using my own WiFi network.  However, recently the radios have started bwapping out a huge signal.  It's intermittent, but when it starts up, it causes issues with other devices dropping out.  (Including an Ignite TV receiver) dropping out.  When you look at the signal characteristics, as measured by an Android phone WiFi scanner App you can see why these signals cause havoc.  (Both WiFiman and WiFi Analyzer detect the Rogers Ignite signal.)

 

SSID:    {HIDDEN}  Three of them!

2.6 GHZ:  Channel 11 with 40 MHz bandwidth.  Local strength: -29 dBm.

5 GHz:      Channel 149 with 80 MHz bandwidth.  Local Signal Strength: -30 dBm

 

Since it's worked for over two years, it seems evident that this new "feature" was introduced during a recent F/W upgrade.

 

I called Rogers tech support and the couldn't stop the radios. He contacted his superior who said that "disabling the radios is not a feature".

 

Huh?  On something that was doable years ago?

 

Anybody have any suggestions?

 

 

 

***Added Labels***

10 REPLIES 10

Re: Recent Ignite XB6 modem update activates internal WiFi Radios. Any way to stop this?

Biollw
I'm a senior advisor

Simple answer is no, you can not disable the hideen wifi on the modem even if in bridge mode.

Tin foil hat?

Re: Recent Ignite XB6 modem update activates internal WiFi Radios. Any way to stop this?

57
Resident Expert
Resident Expert

Re: Recent Ignite XB6 modem update activates internal WiFi Radios. Any way to stop this?

-G-
Resident Expert
Resident Expert

@Frank_YYZ wrote:

Hi There,

 

I have been using my XB6 in BRIDGE mode for over 2 1/2 years.  I have my own router and eight of my own WiFi access points to cover my house and yard.

 

Up until the last few months, the internal 2.6 and 5 GHz radios of the Ignite modem were deactivated and everything worked perfectly using my own WiFi network.  However, recently the radios have started bwapping out a huge signal.

 

Since it's worked for over two years, it seems evident that this new "feature" was introduced during a recent F/W upgrade.


This is actually nothing new; the XB6 has had hidden Wi-Fi SSIDs active since the beginning.  Several years ago, at an "Ask the Expert" event, I asked the product managers if there was a way to disable the internal radios and this was their response:

 

Can we PLEASE get the ability to COMPLETELY disable Wi-Fi on the XB6 modem/gateway?  Even with "bridge mode" enabled, the XB6 still has several hidden networks active and there is no way to disable those or to disable the radios on the XB6.  When using an external Wi-Fi mesh network, Wi-Fi on the XB6 serves no purpose and just pollutes the local Wi-Fi environment with unnecessary interference.  (Personally, I would rather have the option of using my own network gear with a Technicolor TC4400 modem.)

 

At this time, we’re currently offering our customers the option to control their Connected Home experience through the Ignite WiFi Hub, where all their devices ride on the Wi-Fi that the XB6 modem and Ignite WiFi pods deliver.

Re: Recent Ignite XB6 modem update activates internal WiFi Radios. Any way to stop this?

Frank_YYZ
I'm here a lot

Thank you to everyone who responded:

 

Thanks for pointing out the other thread.  And for mentioning that Rogers has known about this issue for over four years and done nothing about it.

 

The "solution" of using the gronky Ignite modem/pods instead of my Ubiquiti Unifi system is a non-starter.  (Really, look up the user interface, the reporting/control and the relatively advanced geofiltering and firewalling capabilities of Unifi and see for yourself.   Anyone with a pre-existing LAN/WiFi system will likely feel the same way.)

 

I saw the hidden SSID's being blatted out since day one, but something appears to have changed recently.  The signals from the modem seem to be stronger and have definitely become more disruptive.

 

The fact that so many Rogers customers are putting their modems in bags or wrapping them in tinfoil speaks volumes.  Would it be so hard to update the F/W to disable the radios?

 

I myself don't want to cook my modem, so I will be building a copper wire mesh Faraday cage with a rigid frame and a built-in fan.  Seems like a lot of work to have to go through because I can't get a simple modem that doesn't pollute the EM spectrum.

 

FWIW, Bell has the same issue with their Fibe modems blaring out rubbish.  I had to replace my old copper landline with Fibe recently.  (They were decommissioning the copper lines in my area so I was forced into it.)  I'm getting enough copper screening to bag their modem as well.  Why didn't I get Rogers home phone service you may ask?  Well, I need to have a Bell landline to be able to call in to Rogers on the frequent occasions that my Rogers Internet connection goes down.  And my Rogers cell service here is spotty, so I can't depend on that.  I live by the lake in Scarborough and frequently lock on to a US cell signal since it's stronger than my Rogers cell signal.  (At least Rogers has learned to not bill roaming charges when this happens.)

 

Anyway,

Thanks again.

Re: Recent Ignite XB6 modem update activates internal WiFi Radios. Any way to stop this?

Maybe its time for a complaint to Industry Canada concerning wifi pollution from Comcast (read Rogers) XBx modems.  Don't know why a company in Canada can just assume that it can broadcast wifi networks from a device, which doesn't appear to have any use for a number of customers and which is done without any explanation to the public.  What if that customers wants to use the same channels for whatever reason, perhaps because their the only channels that make any sense to use, and now you have Rogers modems taking over those channels without regard to the customers or their neighbours.  

Re: Recent Ignite XB6 modem update activates internal WiFi Radios. Any way to stop this?

-G-
Resident Expert
Resident Expert

@Frank_YYZ  The reason for those hidden SSIDs is because the Ignite Gateway has various services running on it, even while it is in Bridge Mode, and some of those are accessed through those hidden Wi-Fi networks.

 

In practice, the amount of traffic on those hidden networks is negligible.  Back when I was able to set Wi-Fi channels on the Gateway manually, I configured the same channels as what I was using on one of my own external access points.  Sharing the same channels didn't have any impact on the performance of my in-home Wi-Fi network and it significantly reduced the chances that any neighbouring Wi-Fi networks would auto-select the same channels.

 

 

I have experienced sudden problems with my own in-home Wi-Fi but it wasn't because of the Ignite Gateway -- it was because my neighbours had Wi-Fi problems, and then their problems became my problems when they decided to start using the same Wi-Fi channels that I had been using.

Re: Recent Ignite XB6 modem update activates internal WiFi Radios. Any way to stop this?

57
Resident Expert
Resident Expert

@Frank_YYZ wrote:

I live by the lake in Scarborough and frequently lock on to a US cell signal since it's stronger than my Rogers cell signal.  (At least Rogers has learned to not bill roaming charges when this happens.)


You can avoid those sorts of roaming charges by going into your cell phone settings and choosing "Rogers" as your network instead of "auto".  When you want to roam to the US for example, set it back.

Re: Recent Ignite XB6 modem update activates internal WiFi Radios. Any way to stop this?

Datalink
Resident Expert
Resident Expert

Well, it would certainly be a good neighbour policy if Rogers were to ask their customers, and possibly the customers neighbours if they really wanted those services to be running and not just assume that public frequencies belong to Rogers, which allows them to broadcast whatever they want, without explanation.

 

Of course, this is assuming that Rogers has any control over the firmware that Comcast provides.

Re: Recent Ignite XB6 modem update activates internal WiFi Radios. Any way to stop this?

-G-
Resident Expert
Resident Expert

@Datalink wrote:

Well, it would certainly be a good neighbour policy if Rogers were to ask their customers, and possibly the customers neighbours if they really wanted those services to be running and not just assume that public frequencies belong to Rogers, which allows them to broadcast whatever they want, without explanation.

 

Of course, this is assuming that Rogers has any control over the firmware that Comcast provides.


So, again, the Ignite Gateways were designed by Comcast to be the hub for a whole suite of "Connected Home" service offerings, and were designed to provide connectivity for conceivably every device in your home, including IoT devices that connect via Zigbee and Bluetooth LE.  Also, pretty much every one of Comcast's design decisions was made to make things as easy as possible for even the most technically unsophisticated customer; expert users, who want total control over their in-home networks, must suffer the consequences.

 

 

As for those hidden networks, one of them is for something known as a "Lost and Found" (LnF) service.  When a new Ignite TV set-top box gets powered up, Comcast thought that it would be a great idea for the set-top box to connect to a service on a hidden network, figure out what account it belongs to, obtain the Wi-Fi credentials on the Gateway associated with the account, and auto-connect to the network.  Likewise, if you change your Wi-Fi credentials, the STB will drop off the network and will try to regain access.

 

I think another hidden SSID is used for a Rogers security service offering.

 

Comcast also uses their customers' gateways to provide an Xfinity hotspot, and they charge non-Xfinity customers to access it.  Rogers never turned up such a service but it's conceivable that they could.  (This is also why Comcast does not allow customers to configure s Guest network.  They would rather have visitors use the Xfinity hotspot.)

 

There is also a (non-hidden) Wi-Fi network that it starts broadcasting when the modem detects a problem.  (Can't remember the name.  I discovered my own modem doing it and posted about this years ago, but that post seems to have been archived.)

 

 

I only know about the LnF service and how it functions.  I don't know what any off the other hidden SSIDs actually do.  I don't necessarily have a problem with any of these hidden networks, per se.  My problem is that their existence and their exact purpose is being deliberately kept secret and NOTHING about them is documented publicly.

Re: Recent Ignite XB6 modem update activates internal WiFi Radios. Any way to stop this?

AccordXTC
I'm a reliable contributor

I'm going to be the one to break the news that this issue has been talked about before and the "fix" is very easy to implement. If you "Google" or check my  history you'll find the answer. My XB7 has been in bridge mode for over a year hidden network free 😆

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