Hey guys…. Time for a little more Tech Talk w/TK!!!
As I have said before, a quality Mesh Network System can help keep you and your family productive these days. Whether you’re working, learning, or simply relaxing by streaming a movie or show, having a solid Wi-Fi signal is critical. While some (like me) may like the idea of having a hardwired connection, being able to connect in any room gives you the flexibility we all need today. After all, we are all spending a lot more time at home these days, and we need to be creative about where we are working sometimes.
As advertised, Google Wi-Fi is a whole-home mesh network system “that just works”. After its original launch back in October 2016, Google brought back the whole-home mesh network system again in October of 2020. While not much changed outside of some minor aesthetics and power adapter changes, Google did bring back the popular system at a lower price point of $99 for 1 point and $199 for a 3 pack. The price drop makes adding a quality mesh network option very accessible to most consumers.
Having used the Google Wi-Fi Mesh Network System since 2016 (yes I am that guy), here is what I have found.
- Easy to set up. Like most mesh systems, just download the app and follow the instructions. Pretty straightforward.
- Solid signal. If you live in a house with a lot of walls like I do, having a strong signal really helps to keep things connected. By adding points around your house, you get a strong Wi-Fi signal where you need it.
- One network, no switching. As I mentioned in previous posts, unlike old-school range extenders, that extend your network by creating a new one, Google Wifi allows you to extend your network with a consistent name and seamless switching between points. Move around freely without dropping your connection.
- Visible connectivity LED. An adjustable bright LED ring surrounding the device lets you know how you’re doing. White you’re good, blue you have some work to do, and red you’re dead.
- Two ethernet ports. These can be used to connect a device via a hard line for optimal speed and stability or to connect your Google Wifi device directly to your network for optimal performance when available.
- Control everything from the app. Set up your network name, change the password, add new access points, see who’s connected, and customize your performance settings all from the app. Of the ones I have tested, I like the Google interface the best. It seems to be the most polished and complete. That said, they offer 2 options (Google Wifi and Google Home) for app control. While Google Home is the heir apparent, allowing you to coordinate all of your smart home devices and network, it is not as straightforward as the dedicated Google Wifi app. I hope they continue support for the Google Wifi app in the future for geeks like me.
- Affordable starter kit. At $199 for a 3 pack, you get a solid base to start your home mesh network system
- Very stable. At least in my experience, Google Wifi seems to be a very stable connection. The smart wifi system supposedly learns your usage patterns to help provide you with an optimal connection, without having to tweak settings. Updates occur regularly, without prompting overnight, ensuring that you always have the latest firmware in place on your system. It takes care of the maintenance for you, so as they say, it just works. I find this very helpful, as I don’t have to continually check on the status when I install it for friends and family.
- Manage all your networks remotely. Having 1 app with my extended family’s networks available for review is great. If something does get out of whack, I can log in and help them troubleshoot basic issues from anywhere. That’s both a good and a bad thing right 😎?
The Not So Good:
- Not the fastest out there. Each point provides an AC1200 dual-band signal. While solid, it is not as fast as competitors offering a WIFI6 or tri-banded options
- A bit bulky in form. The white puck design is very clean and basic, great for placing on a table. That said, as that is the only design option, you will need to buy mounts to manage the long power cable and point if you want to be able to mount it on a wall out of the way. A smaller point option that plugs directly into the wall would be great for places like attics and basements.
Interested in checking it out for yourself? Included below are a couple quick links.