Comcast xFi pods vs. Plume – which between these pod mesh systems works best?

Mesh connectivity is great, because it helps you to solve the problem of spreading out the Wi-Fi connection throughout a larger space. However, not every mesh setup will work for you, regardless of how similar two mesh systems may seem to each other; just like in the xFi pods or Plume pods.

The major benefits of using Wi-Fi extenders is their roaming ability – in other words, every node (or satellite) is a part of the same network, and they provide seamless connection from one point to the next. This allows you to not worry too much about logging into the extender, only the main router – and even if you move between rooms, you will not automatically leave the system. In addition, they will not need you to do management of the individual nodes, unlike a range/router extender, or an access point/router combination.

What are the differences between the xFi pods and Plume?

 
Comcast xFi pods
Plume
Dimensions (inches)
7.9 x 2.8 x 2.6 (much larger design, but still compact)
1.3 x 2.3 x 2.5 (smaller design)
Average throughput speeds (close proximity)
100 Mbps
483 Mbps
Upload speeds
25 Mbps
100 Mbps
Download speeds
200 Mbps
250 Mbps

Comcast xFi pods vs. Plume – How they compare

Design and features

Whereas you find most Wi-Fi systems using at least two or three nodes that create a mesh network, the Plume uses multiple pods, all compact in size, which you can plug into a wall outlet and cover all the rooms in your home with Wi-Fi. Both the Plume and xFi pods are hexagonal in shape, although the Plume is smaller – measuring 2.5 x 1.3 x 2.3 inches.

You can get them in three colors: silver, champagne, and onyx, and Plume recommends that you use one for every room in your home and one for each hallway to promote optimal performance. There is also no limit to the number of pods you can use. The price of one seems affordable, but it can get very pricey if you are covering a typical large home that has a basement.

Each Plume pod has one Gigabit LAN port at its bottom and two prongs at its rear. They also have 2×2 antennas, a Bluetooth radio, and two radio bands (one 5GHz and one 2.4GHz), but they lack processors because all their computing is in the cloud.

On the other hand, the xFi does not have too many differences from the Plume, except the number of antennas – the xFi has four internal ones. Its design also includes a one 2.5Gbps Ethernet port, radios of ZigBee and Bluetooth LE that connect to IoT (internet of things) devices, and three 1Gbps Ethernet ports. If you decide to use several of them to create a mesh network, the pods will still work well with the latest advanced gateway system (though this only applies if you use a Comcast plan with minimum speeds of 300 Mbps).

Both the Plume and xFi pods are compact, and we like the variety in design of the Plume, but the xFi wins here because of the greater variety of features it provides.

Performance

The Plume pods are of the AC1200 type, which means that they provide speeds of 300 Mbps on the 2.4GHz band, and 867 Mbps on the 5GHz band. They use adaptive Wi-Fi technology to handle the varying traffic loads, through shifting bandwidth allocation to pods that will need greater bandwidth. In order to achieve this, Plume uses usage and traffic patterns – but this comes at the disadvantage of lacking device-prioritization, guest networking capability, and parental controls.

The close proximity test revealed an impressive score of 483 Mbps, which is far greater compared to the xFi pods that stand at 100 Mbps. however, the Plume struggles at a 30-foot distance, with a score of only 53.2 Mbps – although the xFi pods do not fare much better, only scoring 45 Mbps. in both cases of the xFi and Plume, you should note that the pods are not meant for superb range performance, because you are meant to place a pod in each room of the house or building.

The performance of the Plume is stronger compared to the xFi, which makes it our winner in this category.

Setup

You can control and set up the Plume system through the smartphone app, which is available for both Android and iOS.  The app is easy to use, and its home screen displays all the installed pods by name. When the pods are active, the home screen indicates this by a white pod, and the circles surrounding the pod indicate the number of devices that are connected. The main pod is represented by a green pod on the screen, a red pod shows a pod that has lost connection with the main router, and an active pod without any clients is indicated by a grey pod.

The main settings of the app will allow you to change and rename pods, while the advanced settings allow you to choose the Router mode (where you can set Plume as one network), or Auto mode (where you can use the Plume as a bridge to another network).

The xFi pods can be managed through Comcast’s Advanced Cyber security feature, which will add some security protection for your network, at no extra charge. You can also manage the pods through the xFi mobile app. The issue we have here is that the benefits of the Advanced Cyber security do not actually apply to users that use their own routers or modems; it is only for those that use a Comcast router, which you have to lease from them, and makes the overall system very expensive.

We like the ease of setup in the Plume, as well as its versatility to work with various router brands – this is very different to xFi, which can only work with Comcast routers.

Comcast xFi pods vs. Plume – A comparison review

Comcast xFi pods – Overview

Xfinity Comcast xFi Pods WiFi Network Range Extenders - Only Compatible With Xfinity Rented Routers, Not Compatible With Customer Owned Routers (1-pack (Single Pod), White)
  • Only compatible with Comcast rented routers/modems. Not compatible with consumer owned routers....
  • Plug-In and Easy Self-Install. Self-Optimizing Network. More Consistent WiFi Coverage

When it comes to the xFi pods, we consider them as options you can use alongside your XFinity internet. They have an advantage over the Plume – their support for Wi-Fi 6, which is meant to optimize the connection for more networked devices. The problem here is that the promising design and performance does not necessarily translate into actual benefits, because the xFi pods only apply if you are using a Comcast router.

To help users in management of the xFi pods, the company developed a platform exclusively dedicated for the job – the XFinity xFi platform. This helps you to monitor the devices, as well as setting schedules and other parental controls. The thing we do not like is the high price tags, even though Comcast is seeking to encourage more people to buy them by paying in installments.

Pros

  • It has parental control settings
  • Compact design

Cons

  • Expensive
  • Connection speeds are below-par
  • You can only use them with a Comcast router system

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Plume Adaptive system – Overview

Plume SuperPod AC3000 Tri-Band Whole Home Wifi System, Adaptive WiFi, Parental Controls, Advanced IoT Security, 5 Year Warranty & Lifetime Membership. Covers 3-4 BD Homes. Wall Pluggable. US only.
  • ADAPTIVE HOME WIFI: world's first and only self-optimizing Wi-Fi technology that delivers a reliable and...
  • WHOLE HOME WI-FI COVERAGE: compact, wall Pluggable superpods with dual Ethernet ports ensure whole home...

We can consider the Plume Adaptive Wi-Fi as an extra system that you can use as an extender. It is available as a six-pack, three-pack, or single-pack from their website, which you can pick according to your needs. Regardless of your choice, the Plume Wi-Fi system uses small pods that you can plug into a wall outlet, which eventually create one wireless network that allows for roaming without losing the connection.

It is very easy to install and manage, courtesy of its mobile app. With that said, it lacks many features you would expect to find in other Wi-Fi systems, and it cannot match the performance of the best Wi-Fi extenders in the market today.

Pros

  • Attractive and compact design
  • Easy to expand the network
  • Easy to manage and install

Cons

  • Very expensive
  • Lacks a device prioritization system
  • Lacks support for guest networking and parental controls
  • Middling throughput performance
  • Unavailable in most stores

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Verdict: So what is better? The xFi pods or Plume?

If we are being honest, it is difficult to treat any of these extenders as an easy standout. However, our winner is the Plume because of the good performance at close proximity, and the ease of network expansion when you need extra coverage. With that said, it is still a disappointment because of the lack of important features such as guest networking, device prioritization, and parental controls.

FAQs

Can I connect my computer to an xFi system?

Yes, as you can connect the desktop PC to the xPod, and the pod connects to the Comcast modem wirelessly.

Will Plume replace my router, and can it work with my current ISP?

While the Plume system can replace the router you have, it is still flexible enough to operate with the existing setup you already use.

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