Google WiFi System Setup and Review - Router Replacement for Whole Home Coverage
We all know that WiFi is always difficult to setup for your whole home. There will always be holes where the signal will be low, or not at all. Luckily the guys at Google come to the rescue. Google just recently launched a pack that promises to replace your current router as well as your signal extenders (if you have them) and offer you the WiFi signal you are looking for for your whole home, called simple Google Wifi.
The Google WiFi pack come with 3 access points and according to Google these are enough to offer seamless WiFi coverage throughout your entire home, and will eliminate dead zones, low signal areas and buffering.
The Google System is designed to replace your current router, works with any internet service modems and it is compatible with major internet service providers such as Verizon, Comcast, Time Warner etc. One of these Wifi points covers up to 1500 sq. ft, which is pretty much impressive, and if you use all three of them you can reach up to 4500 sq. ft of coverage. The points work together and they can self synchronize via a simple app that gets you up an running in now time.
The app also acts as a router management point, allowing you to see what’s connected to your network, prioritize devices and of course parental control. The family controls allow you to pause the WiFi connection to your kids’ devices like during dinner or bed time.
The best thing about the Google WiFi system is the Network Assist technology, that keeps your connection fast no mater where you are in the house by always selecting the clearest channel and fasted supported bands for your devices.
Each access point comes with AC1200 2x2 Wave 2 Wi-Fi,2 Gigabit Ehernet ports (WAN and Lan on primary Wifi point, both of them act as LAN ports on additional Wifi points) and dual band Wifi (2.4GHZ/5GHZ) supporting IEEE 802.11a/b/g/n/ac.
To setup these bad boys you will need some things first: a Google account, and Android device running Android 4.0+ or an iOS device running iOS 8 or better, the Google WiFi app, a broadband Internet connection and in some cases a modem (where applicable).
Alright so this sounds pretty cool, but how exactly does Google Wifi work?
From the first look at Google Wifi it seems that these devices are Google’s evolution of the previous home routers, the OnHubs. The main difference of this set is that instead of single unit, you can get up to three in a single package.
All Google WiFi units are the same. When you use multiple units in your home, the first unit you install is the main router that connects to your modem, and the rest of the units act like access points and signal extenders to create a single WiFi network.
Depending on how your home is built, you can add setup the Wifi points to up to two rooms away from one another to maximize coverage. Don’t worry, you won’t be alone in settings things up, as the Google WiFi app will help you determine the best location to place the points by measuring the connection between the units.
How does the Google Wifi app work?
The Google Wifi app monitors and displays your entire home connection using a very friendly and easy to comprehend layout. It can be used to have a quick look over your entire home network, prioritize your Internet connection to specific device, as well as kill the connection for a particular device.
The app will show you what device is connected to what access point as well as customize the settings for that device. It comes with the possibility of setting up a Guest Wifi network, reserve IPs for specific devices as well as port forwarding. Everything can be done, and must be done via your mobile device. Google mentions that the Wifi app will receive an update for voice control such that you can control devices like Google Home or Amazon Alexa via your mobile phone.
Another cool thing is that if you already own a Google OnHub, this device will be automatically updated to the new Wifi network and you can use the same app to manage the OnHub as well, meaning that the OnHub will not be just a standalone router but also a Wifi Point acting just like another unit from Google Wifi.
Google Wifi System Setup and Tests
The time for setting up the network in our test case, took around 15 minutes and the app and an Android Phone (we used the OnePlus 7 running the latest Android release). The app is very intuitive and easy to use and even an inexperienced person can do it.
Using the dual-stream AC1200 router the top sustained WiFi speed was around 460Mbs. The nature of WiFi however means that each time you’ll extend the signal via a wireless connection, signal loss does occur, and this means lower speeds. In my particular case using the full extent of the wireless network the lowest speed I got was around 80Mbs which is not that terrible if you ask me.
As for coverage and reliability: these are just as advertised in my opinion. During a period of 24h testing, I did not experience any disconnects or packet losses with large data transfers between 6 clients (3 laptops, 1 desktop, 2 tablets). The system provided me with excellent signal strength from the start, allowing me to walk the house seamlessly without any disconnects or packet loss.
The last test was to make a VOIP call by using the Wifi network and transferring data at the same time, and the call was not even for one second affected.
How much does the Google Wifi System cost?
The price at the date of writing this article is around $129 for one unit or $299 for all three units, making it cheaper than other systems like the Orbi or Ero. For now we know that the system is available for purchase worldwide except for the UK and Australia, but we expect to see them in shops there as well very soon.