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Already a Cox high-speed internet subscriber, or are you thinking about subscribing to a Cox Internet package? Either way we understand you could have questions and concerns about the new feature incorporated into the Cox Communications Internet service since the announcement in 2020.

Our today’s article looks into this development and aims to settle the anxiety felt by current and in-the-loop to-be subscribers. So, let’s take a look at what Cox turning your home internet into a public WiFi hotspot is all about!

About the Cox update to Panoramic WiFi Gateway

There was a lot of commotion last year when existing Cox Internet customers were intimated, with little elaboration, about the upcoming update to their leased Cox Panoramic WiFi Gateway. The said update was intended to introduce a pre-enabled “Guest Access” feature that would turn the Panoramic WiFi Gateway into a Cox Hotspot thus allowing any Cox Internet subscriber to connect. And that is exactly what worried existing and potential subscribers. The idea that another Cox subscriber would be able to use their in-home gateway to connect to the Cox network did not sit well with them.

This update from Cox did not however affect subscribers using a Cox-provided gateway device other than the Panoramic WiFi Gateway or third-party compatible internet equipment.

How to use the Cox Hotspot via Panoramic WiFi Gateway?

The Cox “Guest Access” feature on the Panoramic WiFi Gateway allows anyone, with subscription to a qualifying Cox Internet plan, to connect when they are in the range. Meaning if you’ve family and friends over, who are also Cox Internet customers, you don’t have to provide them with your in-home network password to connect. Rather this totally separate feature on the Panoramic gateway device will allow them to get online as they would with any of the 3 million Cox out-of-home hotspots (if eligible). All they’ll require is their Cox login credentials.

Here is what your guests need to do in order to connect to CoxWiFi via your in-home gateway device?select the network named CoxWiFi and sign in using Cox credentials. The sign in process is required the first time only, unless you make the device “Forget the Network” and try to reconnect afterwards. Otherwise once you are logged in, the guest device will automatically connect when in the range of CoxWiFi.

How does the Cox Hotspot feature affect your in-home WiFi?

With this new feature the Panoramic WiFi Gateway now broadcasts an additional SSID (network name) i.e. CoxWiFi which creates an extension of the Cox Hotspot network using a data stream totally separate from your in-home network. The data consumed by those who connect to the Panoramic WiFi hotspot is associated with the guest user’s own Cox account. So any concerns you may have regarding speed slow downs and data consumption can be put to rest.

Since the Guest Access feature utilizes a separate network and runs on a different data stream than your Cox WiFi plan, it does not affect the security of your in-home network. If at all there is a downside to this arrangement, it is the minor impact on the performance of your in-home WiFi because all wireless networks use the 2.4GHz and 5GHz bands, and there can be WiFi interference with more devices  connected to the gateway. The good thing is the Cox Hotspot is limited to 5 devices connected simultaneously, so largely speaking everyone gets to enjoy a better online experience.

How do you enable or disable the Cox Hotspot feature?

As we said, the “Guest Access” comes enabled from Cox’s end. Meaning if you wish to enable it, you don’t need to lift a finger. But if you wish to disable the feature to avoid passer by Cox subscribers from logging in to CoxWiFi via your Panoramic Gateway device, here is what you need to do:

  • Sign into your Cox account here using your Cox credentials. Remember you must use the primary user ID and password.
  • Navigate to the Password & Security section, and click on Privacy Settings.
  • You’ll see the Cox Hotspot section display here. Check the radio button next to Disable, and Save the changes.

In case you wish to enable the feature when you have guests over at home, you can follow the same steps and Enable Guest Access on the Panoramic WiFi Gateway. Allowing your guests to connect to your Cox Hotspot, helps you keep your in-home network safe since you need not reveal the network info to them. Nor do you need to encounter any awkward moments because they’ll be using a separate data stream, and utilizing their own data not yours!

With all that said, Cox does encourage you to keep the feature enabled, as it allows more people to take advantage of an available Cox WiFi Hotspot.

What to do when your device connects to Cox WiFi instead of the in-home network?

Devices that regularly connect to your private in-home WiFi network are blocked from logging into the CoxWiFi SSID via your Panoramic Gateway in order to keep things streamlined. But if for any reason, your internet-enabled device automatically connects to CoxWiFi instead of the home network SSID you need to put this right by accessing your device’s settings.

Go to the relevant section under Network & Internet (this may vary somewhat depending on the device you are using), select CoxWiFi, and then select “Forget the Network”. Your device will now connect to the in-home network by default. 

The rationale behind the Cox Panoramic WiFi update

The thought of having strangers in the range of your in-home CoxWiFi Hotspot able to connect via your gateway may not sound very comforting at first. But when you understand how Cox has designed it to work, and  how it impacts you, as well as the rationale behind the recent update, you’re likely to drop your qualms about the whole affair.

After all, other major internet service providers either already have this practice in place or they are in the process of introducing it to their respective broadband services. The intention is to deliver ready WiFi access to subscribers wherever they maybe. Think of it as a collaborative approach, similar to the one used by ISPs like Cox, AT&T, Xfinity, Optimum and Spectrum, which allow their on-the-go subscribers to connect to CableWiFi via the collective network of WiFi hotspots nationwide. 

The endnote

Find yourself convinced about the advantages of the new Guest Access feature on the Panoramic WiFi Gateway? Well, you can call us at 1-855-349-9316 for more details on available offers and Cox Internet prices at your address. And, if you are an existing customer who requires assistance with disabling the Guest Access in Spanish language, you can call Cox Customer Service representatives at 1-844-520-8979. They will be happy to guide you as necessary.

Frequently Asked Questions

Are Cox Hotspots free?

When you are subscribed to a Cox Internet package (Essential and above), you get FREE access to the 3 million nationwide Cox WiFi hotspots. Meaning when you are out and about, you can connect to a Cox WiFi hotspot and save on mobile data. Call at 1-855-349-9316 for an upgrade or a new subscription.

How do I find hotspots in my area?

Go to www.cox.com/hotspots to find hotspots in your area. Use the Cox hotspot map on the page for the purpose. Or just enter your address, city, state or ZIP to get the answer.