3 Reasons Google Wifi Should Be on Your Router Wishlist

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If you have shopped for a router in the past couple of years, which isn’t always fun, odds are you’ve seen “mesh networks” or “Wi-Fi systems” for sale at your favorite retailer. These systems consist of multiple access points that act as one to blanket your entire home with Internet connectivity, with the goal of eliminating the dead spots that commonly plague single-router systems. While the concept of mesh networking is not new, its presence in the consumer space has just gotten its sea legs, creating yet another option for customers to consider when deciding to upgrade. While options are a good thing, information overload is common in the tech world, and upgrading can sometimes feel like a chore. After spending a few weeks with Google’s Wifi Mesh System, I’m convinced that swapping out your old 802.11b/g/n router for something that’s ready to meet today’s demands doesn’t have to be daunting. In fact, if you still have one of those old “good enough” Wi-Fi routers captaining the Internet ship in your home, I have laid out three reasons Google’s new Wi-fi system should be on your short list.

Google’s Wifi Mesh System

Accessible

You don’t have to “know a guy” or spend hours reading tech forums to find information on mesh networks. Mesh Wi-Fi systems have become just as popular as traditional routers, and you’ve probably already encountered them on virtual and brick-and-mortar shelves. If you’re concerned that this technology is still “too new,” I understand—being an early adopter comes with some risk. Considering how important it is to stay connected these days, no one wants to be a Wi-Fi beta tester. The adage of “practice makes perfect” applies to tech manufacturers, too. Because Wi-Fi systems are no longer in their infancy and many brands are on their second or third generation of products, a lot of fine-tuning has been done to help ensure that these systems are ready for prime time.

Accessibility goes beyond being able to locate a product in a store or reading a review on the Internet; it’s the precursor for usability. If the system isn’t approachable and easy to use, it immediately loses some appeal. Do you remember what it was like configuring routers of yesteryear—installing drivers, resetting your modem, calling tech support? Thankfully, those days appear to be behind us, and I’m impressed with how easy it was to set up and configure Google Wifi’s three access point system. Simply download the Google Home app to your smart device if you don’t already have it, follow the onscreen instructions for setting up the system based on your home, and wait a few minutes while the software configures everything in the background. All in all, I had Google’s Wifi system ready to go in a matter of minutes; check marks all around for being accessible and usable.

Expandable

Most people do not want to upgrade their router every year. I am immersed in new tech, and I can’t imagine doing this. There is a sense of comfort that comes with knowing your router will not be obsolete six months after installation. So, if a router or Wi-Fi system can grow as your needs do, you may be able to keep your fear of missing out on the latest and greatest tech at bay. While my test system came equipped with three access points, which should cover up to 4500 square feet, depending on your home’s construction, you can add more access points if needed. Google recommends a maximum of five access points on a single system, which is frankly far more than most people will ever need—but it’s good to know that expansion possibilities exist should you need them.

On the software side, firmware updates are delivered automatically over the air to ensure you get new features as they are released, and any system vulnerabilities are patched.

Performance Ready

When I tested Google’s original system, way back in 2017, I walked away impressed with the company's emergence as a hardware manufacturer. With Google’s new system being similar in specifications to the one I reviewed, I expected more of the same with this latest revision: rock-solid performance. While Wi-Fi 6 is emerging and all the rage these days, this system’s dual-band Wi-Fi 5 (802.11ac) connectivity is more than capable of delivering high-speed connectivity to the 40+ devices I have on my network.

One of the first things I do after installing a new router is test the download and upload speeds it is receiving from my modem and delivering to my connecting devices. I am a Verizon Fios user and subscribe to its 1GB service, so I was happy to see that I was getting approximately 777 Mb/s download and 769 Mb/s upload speeds directly from the router. Wirelessly, Google Wifi delivered download and upload speeds of about 360 and 435 Mb/s, respectively, from about 15 feet away from the main access point, which is on par with other Wi-Fi 5 systems I have tested. Each wireless access point also houses a gigabit LAN port for connecting your wired devices, such as desktops or gaming consoles.

Furthermore, within the Google Home app, you can choose to prioritize specific devices, ensuring they always have the bandwidth they need to perform their best. However, bandwidth was never an issue during my testing, and I found this system’s three access points to be more than capable of covering my entire home, front porch, and backyard with Wi-Fi coverage of at least 100 Mb/s. I did not experience any hand-off issues between the access points as I roamed my home as I have with other systems. As I walked from room to room, there was no noticeable drop in bandwidth at all.

The Google Home app also allows you to control multiple aspects of your system, which includes the parent-friendly “Family Wi-Fi Mode.” This mode allows parents to pause Internet access for a group of devices at any time, like bedtime, and set a schedule. You can even block inappropriate websites. The app also includes other common router settings, such as setting up a guest network and enabling additional security protocols such as WPA3.

Upgrade Time?

If you have one of those older routers I referenced early on, congratulations—you have resisted the itch to upgrade. I get it, if it’s not broke don’t fix it, but consider this: the Internet of Things isn’t getting smaller. As we add more and more devices to our networks, we need a system that can keep pace with the ever-evolving Internet landscape. Is Google Wifi the fastest Wi-Fi system available? No, but it’s not aiming to be. Google Wifi was designed to be reliable, flexible, and powerful, and in my opinion, it succeeds at all three.

Are you finally ready to swap out that old router? Have you considered a mesh system? Tell us in the Comments, below.

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