Google WiFi Review

Summary

Google WiFi helps you stay connected

We like being connected. When we travel, we expect solid WiFi in our hotels. When we work remotely, we seek consistent WiFi in cafes. And, most importantly, we expect strong, fast, and consistent WiFi in our homes. If you have a large home, that strong, fast, and consistent WiFi may be true for some rooms, but more often than not you have dead zones in your house where the WiFi either doesn’t reach or doesn’t reach well. This is why you need a WiFi booster.

How do WiFi booster work?  At their simplest, they take the WiFi signal from your router, strengthen it, and then rebroadcast it farther than it reached before. With WiFi boosters, dead zones and no-zones often become non-existent. With so many WiFi boosters on the market, it can be hard knowing which one is the best WiFi booster for you. We’re here to help. 

If you like Google products, you’ll love Google Wifi. In fact, it’s one of our favorite WiFi boosters on the market thanks to its looks, ease of use, performance, and price. Google WiFi is not just a WiFi booster but is actually a WiFi mesh system comprised of a router and extender. If you have a large home, Google WiFi may be the best WiFi extender for you. We recommend the three pack. It’s easy to set up and can cover up to 4,500 square feet. Not enough? You can purchase more units and easily connect them.

What is a WiFi Mesh System?

Some WiFi extenders require you to create multiple WiFi networks with different names and switch networks as you move through different areas of your home. A mesh system doesn’t. Instead, a WiFi mesh system enables you to create one network, with one name, for your WiFi extender(s) that will remain constant as you move throughout your home. 

Pros

  • Price: Google WiFi is significantly cheaper than competing mesh WiFi units on the market.
  • Aesthetically pleasing: Google WiFi is comprised of three small, round, white units resembling hockey pucks. They are unobtrusive and can blend well on a bookshelf or wherever you chose to put them.
  • Ethernet ports: Each unit contains two ethernet ports which enable you to connect your Smart TV, gaming console, streaming player, and other devices directly to the units to allow for even better streaming.
  • Automatic updates: The system automatically updates itself when new releases are launched so you’re guaranteed to always have the latest and greatest.
  • Easy setup: Setup is fast and simple – particularly if you’re already a Google user.

Cons

  • Few advanced features: Google WiFi is a very basic mesh WiFi system so if you are looking for a system with a lot of bells and whistles, this isn’t it.
  • Google account and smartphone required: Google Wifi must be set up with a smartphone and a Google account. If you don’t have a smartphone you should choose another WiFi extender. If you don’t have a Google account you can quickly set one up, but it will add to the setup time.
  • Google Connection: This WiFi mesh system requires a constant connection to Google. This is what helps keep the devices updated with the latest software developments and keeps them safe from hackers. However, most WiFi extenders do not require a constant connection to the vendor in order to function, so if this is a deal breaker, consider looking at another WiFi mesh system or WiFi extender.
  • Connection: If you should lose a connection to the internet (ex: power outage), settings and options are very limited
  • Lower AC rating: Google WiFi uses AC1200 technology and isn’t capable of the AC3000 or AC2200 throughput like some WiFi booster competitors are
  • No integrated modem: While the other mesh systems we reviewed (Netgear Orbi and eero) have integrated modems, Google Wifi does not. As such, you will need a separate modem in order for the system to function. This will need to be connected to one of the Ethernet ports on the “primary” Google WiFi beacon.

Product Stats

Google WiFi works with any modem

  • AC1200 2×2 Wave 2 Wi-Fi

  • Expandable mesh Wi-Fi.

  • 2 Gigabit Ethernet ports per point

  • WAN and LAN on primary Wifi point.

  • Both act as LAN ports on additional Wifi points.

  • Simultaneous dual-band Wifi (2.4GHz / 5GHz)

  • Supports IEEE 802.11a/b/g/n/ac.

Product Features 

Google WiFi is not only a WiFi booster but a router as well. It replaces your existing router and then works with your modem to spread WiFi throughout your home. It is compatible with major internet providers including Verizon Fios, Comcast, Time Warner, and more. 

All Google Wifi units are powered through USB-C, and any unit can function as the core router for your system. The others will then emit WiFi signals throughout your home.

Each unit covers approximately 1,200 square feet; when you move out of one unit’s range, it will seamlessly transfer you to the next unit’s range.

Another benefit of Google Wifi is that the system upgrades automatically when new updates such as greater security features are added.

How Many Units Do You Need?

How many Google Wifi units do you need?Most people purchase WiFi extenders and WiFi mesh systems because they have a large home and WiFi doesn’t reach every room. While we recommend the Google WiFi three pack for larger homes, if you live in an apartment you may be able to get by with just one. Here is the recommend breakdown:

  • One Google WiFi Unit: If you live in a small home or an apartment that is between 500 – 1,500 square feet, one unit will suffice
  • Two Google WiFi Units: If your home or apartment is between 1,500 – 3,000 square feet, you may want to invest in two Google Wii units.
  • Three Google WiFi Units: If you have a large home that is between 3,000 and 4,500 square feet, we recommend purchasing three Google WiFi units. If your home is larger than 4,500, try four.

Setup

Google WiFi's app is easy to use

 

The below are required for setup:

  • Google account
  • Android device (4.0+) or iOS device (iOS 8+)
  • Google Wifi app
  • Broadband Internet connection
  • Modem

If you are familiar with Google, setup will be a breeze. Simply power on one of the units, connect it to your modem, and then download the free iOS or Android app. Next, you’ll receive a notification and will be ready to go. Begin the process with a single tap, and then the app will walk you through the rest of the setup and give you tips along the way.

You’ll name your network, set up a password, and pair the additional WiFi points and name them as well. Once everything is installed and functioning, you can use the same app for additional features. Want to prioritize bandwidth for a specific device like gaming or streaming 4K video? The app will help you do that. You can also monitor your networks and the devices connected to it, as well as conduct internet speed tests to ensure your WiFi strength is consistent.

In summary:

  1. Step one: If you have not done so already, set up a Google account.
  2. Step two: Next, figure out where to set up your key Google WiFi beacon. It will need to be connected to a modem via Ethernet cord, and ideally should be in a central location and at eye level.
  3. Step three:  Connect the Ethernet cable to the WAN port on your Google WiFi unit and then connect the other end to your modem. Next, plug the unit into a power outlet. The light will flash blue, indicating it is working and ready for the next step.
  4. Step four: Download the Google WiFi app on your iPhone or Android. Note that the app is only compatible with iOS 9+ and Android 4+.
  5. Step five:  Open the app, tap “Get Started,” and sign into your Google account and follow the instructions for setup. The app will automatically find your WiFi point and prompt you to scan its QR code, located on the base. Once you do this, your phone will automatically be connected to your Google WiFi point.
  6. Step six: Name your location. The app will provide you with a list of location names such as Kitchen, Living Room, Bedroom. Select the location or make a custom one and when you are finished, tap “Next.”
  7. Step seven: The next step is to setup WiFi. You will need to create a name for your WiFi network and then tap “Next.” Then you’ll create a password and tap “Create.”
  8. Step eight: Set up additional WiFi points if need be.
  9. Step nine: Review your network and make adjustments if necessary.
  10. Step ten: Install additional software. Once your WiFi points are setup, the app will download and install the Google WiFi software. This includes the latest features and security updated and can take up to ten minutes. After the update is done, the WiFi points will automatically restart. When all WiFi points are light up again and the light is a solid teal, you will be fully setup and ready to use your Google WiFi.

Warranties

Similar to most WiFi boosters on the market, Google WiFI has a one-year limited warranty. Per Google, it “warrants that a new Device (including any ancillary parts that may be packaged with it) will be free from defects in materials and workmanship under normal use in accordance with Google’s published user documentation for one year from the date of original retail purchase in its original packaging by you.”

Conclusion 

Google WiFi unit

We love Google products, so it should come as no surprise that we love Google Wifi. It is incredibly easy to set up, affordable considering that you get a router and two additional extending units, and aesthetically pleasing. It simply blends into the background.

If you are looking for a WiFi mesh system as opposed to a simple WiFi extender, this is the best value, as it is significantly cheaper than competing mesh systems.

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