(OS/X El Capitan ... MacBook Pro)

From time to time, when I go to *System Preferences...Network...WiFi...Advanced," I find that two network-names have been added to the list without my knowledge or consent:

  • XfinityWiFi
  • PublicWifi

How do I know this?   Heh ... "Because I happen to live in a hole."   That is to say, "a little corner of Northwest Georgia (USA)" where there is exactly one wireless network: "Mine!"   I work from my home, so my computer rarely leaves it.

I have turned off "Remember networks that this computer has joined," and in any case I can positively say that this computer has never encountered, let alone "joined," either of these networks.

So ... what's going on here?!

  • What ISP do you have? Jul 26 '16 at 22:41
  • My ISP is ... my local telephone company. :-D ### There's a fiber-optic connection almost at the end of my driveway. In a few weeks' time, that optic cable will reach up to my house. ### (Yeah, even though I say that 'I live in a hole,' I am frankly so-o-o-o glad, these days, that I do!") Jul 26 '16 at 23:37
  • Are you the only one with physical access to the laptop? Is it the only Mac you own? Do you have any iPads or iPod Touches (you mentioned that you do not use an iPhone—I assume this means you do not own any iPhones)? Are these the only two networks that mysteriously appear?
    – samh
    Jul 26 '16 at 23:47
  • Yes, I am the only one. Yes, this is the only Mac. No iPads, and exactly one iPhone, "also on the same hill," and with no iCloud subscription anywhere. Yes, these are the only two networks that appear. ### Based on my very-careful observation of this situation (for some time now ...), I now frankly suspect the presence of a rogue. Jul 26 '16 at 23:51
  • Is it possible that there are now XFinity WiFi and Public Wifi networks being broadcast in your neighborhood? I've been in the metro Boston, Denver and NYC areas the past few months, and these networks (and other, such as Comcast and TimeWarner) Wifi networks show up on my phone if I am in range. Without a XFinity, Comcast or TimeWarner account, these are useless to me.
    – IconDaemon
    Jul 26 '16 at 23:54

Wireless networks are synced across iCloud, so if any other device such as an iPhone connects to these networks and is also signed in to the same iCloud account as your Mac, the networks will appear in this list.

  • Thank you, but I do not use iCloud. (Much to Apple [Computer]'s consternation ...) And neither does my phone. When I said that "I live in a hole," I meant it. (And, oh yeah, I like it that way ...) Jul 26 '16 at 21:53

An article posted on dslreports.com last December stated: In June of last year Comcast announced that the company was launching a new, Fon-like effort that involved new router firmware that turns your gateway into a publicly-accessible hotspot. More specifically, updated routers would now offer two signals: one being yours, and the other being a "xfinitywifi" SSID signal providing free Wi-Fi to other Comcast users in your general area.

The article also adds: Fortunately, users can disable this functionality if they don't want to share their bandwidth with strangers, but Comcast says this functionality is enabled by default. The public usage also thankfully doesn't count against your Comcast usage cap (if you have one in your market), and Comcast will push more bandwidth your direction to compensate for additional strain on your line. However, as we've been noting the program's opt out functionality doesn't always work and appears to reset after firmware updates.

So unless you buy your own cable modem/gateway device, you're going to have to live with this turning itself back on after every firmware update to your rented cable modem even after you opt-out.

  • ... but I don't(!!) get my Internet service from Comcast! :-O "### Like I said, "I very-happily live in a hole." I get my "much-faster-than-Comcast" fiber-optic(!) Internet service from my local telephone company. Jul 26 '16 at 23:35
  • 1
    Comcast advertising Wi-Fi networks on their hardware has absolutely nothing to do with what Wi-Fi networks show in the known networks list.
    – samh
    Jul 26 '16 at 23:44

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