Activating a Cable Modem/Router with the Xfinity App

To save a couple coins, I decided to buy my own cable modem/router instead of paying rent to Comcast every month.

The modem worked well — it was one of those approved by Comcast (an Arris G36) — but I soon discovered that I could not get some channels on my streaming devices — IPhone, Kindle Fire, IPad, PCs.

All the TVs worked fine, and internet browsing worked for the most part, but when I tried to view CBS, PBS and a variety of other channels on the Xfinity Stream app, the WATCH button was disabled and, above it, there was a message telling me I needed to connect to my in-home wifi because of contract restrictions blah blah blah.

Of course I was connected to my home router. Problem was, Xfinity didn’t know that because I’d neglected to tell Xfinity that my new router was my “in-home” router. Because of the oversight, Xfinity assumed my new router was a random wifi hotspot, as if I were down at the Starbucks. And CBS and others for some reason decided it didn’t want to grant access unless I was at home.

The problem was fixed by simply telling Xfinity about my new modem. This was accomplished by downloading the Xfinity App to my IPhone and activating the new modem, as described here:

The one tricky bit is that the instructions above mention a CM MAC “number” that is supposed to be found on the modem’s info sticker. Problem is, my modem didn’t have such a number. After trial and error, I found that the HFC MAC code — which includes letters and numbers — worked.

In retrospect, the solution was simple and made me feel stupid once I’d found it. This is so often the case with computer stuff.

Final Note: I am dismayed that Comcast technical support failed to recognize the issue immediately. I’m certainly not the only customer who has failed to activate a new modem! And why didn’t the tech who visited check whether the modem was activated? It appears that Comcast’s customer service reputation is perhaps well deserved.

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