XFi pods vs.Netgear X6S Wi-Fi extender – which mesh extender is more powerful than the other?

There are an increasing number of people installing Wi-Fi in their homes through using xFi pods or Wi-Fi extenders such as the Netgear X6S.This demand is due to the desire of experiencing steady coverage and speeds, not just sub-par router performance; you might rarely think of it, until you notice speeds slowing down because of the increasing demands on the router’s bandwidth like streaming content and doing your job.

You might assume the first solution is upgrading the router or your internet service when encountering this issue. However, it may not solve the problem – you can lower the cost of improving your coverage through getting a range extender.

Among all the Wi-Fi extenders we have tested up to this point, the Netgear Nighthawk X6S is the best extender we have handled so far, and it is what we use as our basis for reviewing Wi-Fi extenders.The xFi pods, on the other hand, are among the company’s recentattempts to get into the mesh networking market.

What are the differences between xFi pods and Wi-Fi extenders?

 
Comcast xFi pods
Wi-Fi Extenders (Netgear Nighthawk X6S)
Dimensions (inches)
7.9 x 2.6 x 2.8 (slightly smaller design)
8.1 x 10.01 x 5.2 (larger, bulkier appearance)
Number of antennas
4 (internal)
6 (internal)
Coverage
500 square feet
2000 square feet
Throughput speeds in close proximity (average)
420 Mbps
1.5 Gbps
Upload speeds
25 Mbps
200 Mbps
Download speeds
120 Mbps
400 Mbps

Comcast xFi pods vs. Wi-Fi extender – How they compare

Design

The Netgear X6S is easily one of the largest extenders you can find in the market, so you can forget about plugging it into a wall outlet. Measuring 8.1 x 10.01 x 5.2, it is quite large compared to most extenders, including the xFi pods. Because of its tower design, it is best to place it on a bookshelf, desk, or behind a couch. Additionally, the package includes a two-prong AC adapter.

Across its top are eight LED indicators that show the status of both the 5 and 2.4GHz bands, as well as USB and Ethernet activity, and data flow. There are also some added LEDs that show the throughput speeds at that moment, with both glowing white when the speeds are going well.

The main technology in use here is the Netgear’s FastLane3 technology, which dedicates one of the 5GHz channels to move data between the extender and host router, with one 5GHz channel moving 866 Mbps and another 5GHz channel moving 1733 Mbps, while the 2.4GHz band moving 400 Mbps.

On the other hand, the xFi pods are a nice-looking white hexagonal design in a white color, and it is small enough to plug into a wall. The antennas are all internal, although they are four in number – with support for one 2.5Gbps Ethernet port, ZigBee and Bluetooth LE radios (for connecting to IoT devices), and three 1Gbps Ethernet ports.

Comparing the two, the better pick here is the xFi pod – because of the compact approach, as opposed to the bulky Netgear X6S.

Performance

In terms of performance ratings, the Netgear X6S surpassed the competition thanks to its impressive performance. Through using the iXChariot software gives a maximum of 526 Mbps of data when using it at a distance of 50 feet. When compared to the xFi pods, this is about 20 times more than the maximum that the xFi pods can achieve, which reaches a maximum throughput speed of 420 Mbps.

The performance of the X6S is most evident in the range, as we noted that the extender could increase the range by as far as 170 feet, and still delivers a throughput that is great for streaming music and 4K videos. The power supply is also great, as it can remain connected for an entire day while staying cool to the touch.

The main issue we noted in the xFi was the slow performance, especially when looking at the very slow upload and download speeds (upload was averaging 25 Mbps, while download was averaging 120 Mbps). There is clearly still a lot the company should improve, especially considering that the xFi pods are quite expensive.

We prefer the performance speeds of the Netgear X6S due to the better connectivity and overall higher bandwidth apportioning.

Setup

The Nighthawk X6S uses both beamforming and MU-MIMO techniques in order to fulfill the needs of all your devices. It runs on a quad-core processor and six internal antennas that are capable of adding 2000 to 2500 square feet of coverage. The disadvantage is that the antennas are non-removable, which means you cannot replace them when they wear out, and their internal nature means you cannot aim them at target areas. However, the extender is not bad – you can set up other X6S extenders to create a mesh network quite easily.

Unlike most extenders, the X6S takes a long time to set up because of using a two-step process, but it is definitely worth the effort. You can either use the Netgear’s Genie smartphone app (which we did) or the WPS strategy that connects to the router. Both of these methods will allow you to access the Installation wizard that takes over and oversees the rest of the process.

On the other hand, you can set up the xFi pods through the XFinity app, as well as monitoring the devices that are connected in the app at that moment – that is, even though the pods are smart enough to troubleshoot and self-monitor.

Before the introduction of xFi setup and pods, many have complained about the router/modem combo that Comcast has used for many years. However, things are changing, because the company is changing that perception, and the result has started off with xFi pods.

Once again, the Netgear X6S wins in the setup category, since it is easier to do so, and it works with a variety of routers; unlike the xFi pods that only work in a Comcast setup.

Comcast xFi pods vs. Wi-Fi extender – 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

These pods come in either a three- or six-pack, which you can then plug into power outlets and form a mesh network. The only difference it has with the Netgear X6S is that it can only work with Comcast routers, while the Netgear X6S can work with multiple routers.

The pods can work with the xFi Wireless Gateway or Advanced Gateway, as the Comcast Company announced when launching the xFi platform. Basically, the xFi platform allows you to manage the XFinity Wi-Fi service through its web interface design, as well as allowing you to get alerts when new devices connect, set up parental controls, and streamline the setup process.

Pros

  • Connectivity is reliable
  • Relatively compact design

Cons

  • Only works with Comcast routers
  • Expensive
  • Low throughput speeds

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Netgear X6S Wi-Fi extender – Overview

NETGEAR WiFi Mesh Range Extender EX8000 - Coverage up to 2500 sq.ft. and 50 Devices with AC3000 Tri-Band Wireless Signal Booster & Repeater (Up to 3000 Mbps Speed), Plus Mesh Smart Roaming
  • Extended wireless coverage: Adds Wi-Fi range coverage up to 2500 square feet, and connects up to 50...
  • Seamless smart roaming: Uses your existing network SSID name so you never get disconnected as you move...

This extender has very good data speeds and an excellent range, as well as coming in with extra tricks you will not find in other extenders – which include the ability to use any standard router with the X6S when you want to create a mesh network. You can also expand coverage by adding extra X6S units.

The setup primarily uses a desktop design that is larger than the average Wi-Fi signal booster, although its size has an advantage: it can accommodate up to six antennas, and it offers coverage of up to an impressive 168 feet. Definitely worth the money even though it is expensive.

Pros

  • Good performance
  • Excellent port variety
  • The software is easy to set up
  • Tri-band operation

Cons

  • Quite expensive
  • Very large footprint
  • Only includes 90-day support

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Verdict: So what is better? The xFi pods or the Netgear X6S Wi-Fi extender?

At the end of the day, the Netgear X6S extender is our winner for this review, because it leads in both coverage, management of the network, and throughput speeds. The software allows it to work with a variety of routers as well, even though its main problem is its bulky design.

FAQs

If I lose one of the three-set xFi pods, can the remaining two still work well?

Yes, the operation will not be affected as long as you operate the device close to the pods.

Must I have a tri-band router for the Netgear X6S to operate at an optimum?

No – it is actually flexible enough to accommodate any wireless router. It does prefer the tri-band or dual-band types though.

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