Published on January 3rd, 2017 | by Greg0
Google Wifi: Let The Signal Flow
The reality is this: the essential promise of home wireless has yet to make itself fully available to many consumers. After several generations of upgrades, most people are stuck with a single 802.11 router for their house, regardless of how large it might be or how thick the walls are. Sure, there are extenders, but most of them require you to change between networks and can be a pain to setup. Seamless networking for bigger spaces has previously been reserved for commercial places, like airports and malls, but it’s now entering the mainstream.
Best of all, the technology is easier to use than most other routers on the market! Google Wifi brings the simplicity and technological strength of the brand, paired with an aesthetic that is cleaner and fresher than you might expect. The company has a mixed track record with consumer hardware, but over the last few weeks, we’re happy to report that they’ve managed to create something pretty special here. An outgrowth and vast improvement over last year’s OnHub, this is a smarter router that just about anyone can setup, using just a smartphone or tablet, iOS or Android.
For those with smaller apartments or gamers with a lot of wired devices, the traditional route might still be preferable- any of the many routers that we’ve checked out in the past can allow you more options, features, and more ethernet ports than the single one available here. But Google’s Wifi brings reliability and mesh networking to the table, which sets it apart. We installed the trio of their little hockey pucks across four floors of a brownstone house in Brooklyn, the perfect test bed for a real world, urban environment. There are perhaps a dozen other networks visible across multiple bands and frequencies, along with the usual other impediments to good signal- microwaves, cordless phones, and the like.
With the main device set up next to your cable or DSL modem, install the free app on your phone and follow a few simple steps (including taking a picture of a QR code). After you’re ready to go, you can add the other two, one at a time, requiring nothing more than plugging it into a nearby power outlet. A mesh network is automatically established, and the software will warn you if need additional units (or should change their locations). And a single visible network will work across your multi-story house or home, with no need to worry about different names or passwords. You can even stay on a Skype call as you move between floors, seamlessly swapping between the different hubs. If you’re the type who wants QoS controls, open source firmware, and port mapping, look elsewhere- only some parental controls are included. But Google Wifi is the best way we’ve seen to eliminate dead zones and offers a fast, easy wireless solution. A single unit is $129, but the three-pack as tested is $299, online and in stores.