As more and more people look for internet solutions for their homes, it becomes much more critical that companies come up with solutions that are easy to use and manage, that are expandable and that are within an acceptable price range. One such solution is Google Wifi.
Google wifi provides what is known as a mesh network (read more on how Google Wifi’s mesh network works). A mesh network distributes a wifi network to a larger area, providing more coverage, better signal as well as faster download and upload speeds.
In addition to these three benefits, mesh networking is also easy to set up. In this regard, it does not have the complicated configurations associated with other wireless router solutions like the Linksys EA9500 or some D link routers which use lots of powerful antennas to spread the network around.
What is a router?
Routers connect a modem, usually fiber, cable, DSL and in some instances actual wireless broadband modems, to these devices to allow them to connect to the internet. Most routers, be they wifi routers or otherwise, provide connections to the internet either through an ethernet cable or wifi. The Google wifi router provides both Ethernet and wifi ports for both kinds of connections.
In addition to providing these connections, routers can also be your first line of defence against intrusions into your network. Most routers come with built-in protection from most of the common forms of attack.
Google Wifi: Design
The Google wifi’s hardware is beautiful. It has a tiny form factor, ideal for those working with limited spaces, an all-white body and a single illuminated LED ribbon all around.
The LED ribbon can communicate different errors too! Red means that something is wrong, either with the internet or ethernet connection, a gentle teal glow tells you that everything is OK and if the strip is off, that means that you may have disabled that particular Google Wifi point on the app or the point lost power.
One of the things we love most about this wireless router is its no-clutter, minimalistic look. At the bottom, there are only three ports, one USB-C port for power and two ethernet connections. Since you will use one of these ethernet connections to connect to your modem, you are left with only one for any other wired devices.
If you are using the three Google point setup, then the additional two Google points will give you four additional ethernet ports. These ports might come in handy when you need to connect to something like an Xbox 360, PlayStation 4 or even a home theatre system.
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How to Set UP Google Wifi
Google wifi remains one of the easiest wifi routers to set up. The first thing you do is download the accompanying Google Wifi app. The app is available for Android and iOS for free. Next up, you need to sign in using your Google account and after that, you are ready to get connected.
The first thing to do is to, of course, connect the Google Wifi Router to a power outlet. There is an included USB-C power cord that makes that a breeze. Then, you need to connect the wifi router to your cable, DSL or fiber connection using the included ethernet cable. Once you have both of these connections, all you have to do is open the app, point it to the QR code on the bottom of the Google wifi unit and follow the prompts on the screen.
Here is a video to help you set up your first wifi point
One of the best things about setting up multiple wifi points is that the Google wifi app tests each of the nodes as you position them, maybe in the home or any other space. This helps you get the best placement for each of the nodes depending on how large the space you are in is.
It also takes out the uncertainty of not knowing if you have set everything up correctly and the trial and error that happens afterwards.
Here is a video explaining how to set up additional wifi points.
Google wifi additional features
One interesting feature is that you can adjust the brightness of the led to your heart’s content. Also, you can limit internet delivery to specific devices at certain times. Think of when you need the kids to come down for dinner 🙂
The Google wifi app also lets you manage some home automation devices that are on the same network. For all these and more options and adjustments, you can view the cards available on the app.
Google wifi Technical Specifications
Wireless Connectivity: IEEE 802.11a/b/g/n/ac, AC1200 2×2 Wave 2 Wi-Fi (expandable mesh; dual-band 2.4GHz and 5GHz, TX beamforming); Bluetooth Smart ready
Processor: Quad-core ARM CPU (each core up to 710MHz)
Memory: 512MB RAM
Storage: 4GB eMMC flash
Beamforming: Implicit and Explicit for 2.4 & 5GHz bands
Ports: 2 x Gigabit Ethernet ports per Wifi point (1 WAN and 1 LAN port each)
Dimensions: 4.1 x 2.7 inches (106.1 x 68.7mm; D x H) each
Weight: 12oz (340g) each
Here are some results of the Google Wifi conducted on a 100Mbps service:
Ookla Speed Test 5GHz (Download | Upload):
Within 5 feet/1.52 meters; no obstructions: 101.41 | 117.83 Mbps
Within 13 feet/3.96 meters; three plaster walls: 97.05 | 118.67 Mbps
Ookla Speed Test 2.4GHz (Download | Upload):
Within 5 feet/1.52 meters; no obstructions: 47.53 | 96.72 Mbps
Within 13 feet/3.96 meters; three plaster walls: 50.95 | 82.98 Mbps
1.5GB Steam download 5GHz (peak speed):
Within 5 feet/1.52 meters; no obstructions: 12.6 MB/s
Within 13 feet/3.96 meters; three plaster walls: 12.2 MB/s
1.5GB Steam download 2.4GHz (peak speed):
Within 5 feet/1.52 meters; no obstructions: 7.2 MB/s
Within 13 feet/3.96 meters; three plaster walls: 8.8 MB/s
Google wifi’s Performance
As you can see from the benchmark numbers above, Google wifi was able to take full advantage of the internet connection, even when placed behind some obstructions. If you regularly stream 4K content or are a heavy media consumer, then you will be happy with the performance.
Even though you do get speeds that are slower than what you would get on a wired connection, the main point of these mesh network systems is to provide coverage and connect lots of devices at once as opposed to providing the highest throughput.
One of the other features we loved was the traffic prioritization feature. All the Google wifi points can detect what devices are using the most bandwidth and then send more traffic to them. Let’s say you are playing a game on the XBox and someone else is using a phone to surf the internet. You will see more bandwidth sent to the Xbox than to the mobile device.
Another cool feature is that the network can repair itself in case one of the wifi points goes down. This ensures consistent, albeit weaker, coverage when using two out of the three wifi points
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Is the Google wifi worth it?
What we liked about the Google wifi is how well and consistently it was able to cover the space it was in. The easy setup, as well as the helpful videos and mobile app, did help a lot too.
The price for the three units was also a big one for us, with the Google wifi retailing for less than what some competitors sell for two or even one of their units. The only thing we did not like was that the speeds on the 2.4GHZ frequency were a bit lower than those on the 5GHZ frequency. Also, the Google wifi uses AC1200 technology, which provides lower throughput than you would expect from the Linksys Velop (AC2200) and the Netgear Orbi (AC3000).
That said, the AC1200 2×2 technology used here ensures the wifi unit can maintain consistent speeds by using multiple channels simultaneously.
Our verdict on the Google Wifi
Google wifi remains one of the easiest routers to set up, even if you have to set up the two additional devices. It also beats out the competitors with a price that is just irresistible to most.
The ability to control everything about the Google wifi points from the provided app is also a huge plus. That, with the simple, elegant design ensure that Google wifi remains our choice for the best wifi router on the market right now.
Frequently Asked Questions
Where is Google wifi available?
Google wifi is available all over the world as long as you have an internet connection.
What devices can connect to Google Wifi?
Every device that can connect to wifi or has an ethernet port can connect to Google Wifi.
Can the Google wifi be used as a wifi extender?
Technically, yes. If you have the three units, two of them feed off the one connected to the ethernet/fiber or DSL connection to form the mesh network.
How do I get Google Wifi?
Getting Google wifi is as simple as purchasing either one or three of the units from a retailer. See the latest Google wifi prices on Amazon here.
What is the Google wifi mesh?
For additional information and the technical specifications of a mesh network, please visit this link.