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Just confused:  Router to Xfinity Tower?

Posted on 2017-03-17
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Last Modified: 2017-03-19
Got a friend that is able to connect his laptop to an Xfinity tower from his home.  It's one of those "city-wide" wi-fi setups, and he's able to get free internet from his home.  Here's the catch:  this undoubtedly introduces security risks for him, AND... connecting to his little HP printer wirelessly has become something of a chore.  The HP Envy 4500 printer just isn't connecting to anything...

Here's the question:  if he were to buy an inexpensive router/firewall, just what would he need to look for in features.  It needs to be able to get it's public IP from that Xfinity tower... then what?  Is that a "bridge?"  Would a simple wireless router be able to RECEIVE the signal from the tower AND SEND the signal to his laptop?

We've tried to connect his laptop to the printer without a router... but been unable to do so.  It may be that the printer isn't strong enough to get the signal from the tower... (yes?)... or we're missing something else.  In any event, he's been unable to add that printer to his Windows 10 laptop...  (Blue wireless light on laptop just blinks endlessly... nothing we do lets it connect.)

Thanks for your help...
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Question by:K A
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Expert Comment

by:John Hurst
ID: 42053565
Most likely the free internet is a different subnet and the printer does not know anything about it.

Connect the printer directly to the computer and that will likely work.
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by:masnrock
ID: 42053818
Not quite a bridge. A travel router might do the trick as it can connect to an existing network and have its own network defined. That would at least give him his own private network, which solves that issue.
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by:arnold
arnold earned 800 total points
ID: 42054121
Xfinity is not really free, to connect and use it requires a two step authentication/authorization that is available to the laptop computer, but is not available to the printer.

Upon establishing an xfinity connection, your LAN is restricted to only access the seek do step which would authenticate you as an xfinity customer and then authorize your connection switching your LAN connection to an appropriate vlan/network.
I do not believe you could connect to the xfinity wifi presuming that even if you are on the same relative ip segment that you would be able to communicate
I.e. Your laptop connected to xfinity wifi with ip 10.1.0.2. If you attempt to browse anything on the net, you are refirected to authenticate/authorize ...
Your wifi printer is connected to xfinity wifi with ip 10.1.0.3
I am uncertain whether your system could directly communicate with the wifi printer in this stage.
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Author Comment

by:K A
ID: 42054125
Thank you, Arnold... I can say for certain that the laptop IS able to connect to the internet using the tower.  Is this what you are asking?  In the Properties of the wireless connection it says "xfinity."  Therefore, do you think if we got one of those travel routers that we could create our own 255.255.255.0 subnet?  And the laptop and printer both could connect using that subnet?
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by:John Hurst
ID: 42054126
You would have to work with the Wi-Fi network on the printer to ensure it sets up on the same subnet.
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masnrock earned 1200 total points
ID: 42054130
The short answer is yes a travel router would do the trick. The quirk is you have to connect to the network you create for yourself. Your printer should be set up to connect to the travel router network as well.

Yes it creates a double NAT and arnold did bring up a good point about whether the Internet will work in the scenario. But you won't know until trying.
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by:K A
ID: 42054132
Thanks, all... that should get us going in the right direction.
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by:arnold
ID: 42054149
I am puzzled why your friend would go to such lengths given you can connect to the printer using a usb cable.
It is not the most convenient, but if convenience is the on,y need a wifi router that when needed provides shared connectivity. Limit is that printing information from the net would involve possibly a two step process. Queue the printout, switch to which wifi the laptop is connected allowing the prints while losing access to the Internet.
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Author Comment

by:K A
ID: 42054162
Arnold... (and John)... pretty simple really as to why the USB cable connection is not the chosen option:

1.  Man puts noisy printer in back bedroom to keep it out of the way.

2.  Man lies on sofa in front of TV watching Shawshank Redemption over and over, with laptop on his belly, printing out company reports in the back bedroom.  Printer noise doesn't interrupt a single line of Shawshank.

3.  Later, man goes out to back deck for a beer, takes laptop with him, and continues to print reports.  Doesn't even have to drag the printer along.  It's a beautiful thing.

:)
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