For some reason the internet is in a fizz over Google Home – sure it’s a revolutionary product, but it’s a bit before it’s time. The thing people need today is better WiFi and Google is offering that in spades with their “Google WiFi” product.
Walk into a store today and for $199 you can buy a single Google WiFi – don’t bother though, you’re better off sticking with your existing modem/router.
However, for $499, you can buy a three-pack Google WiFi which might just change your life.
people are installing the NBN, getting these new speed plans, only to complain that their internet speed is slow. Nine times out of Ten the problem is one of two things:
- You chose a shitty NBN telco or speed plan (Change telcos and ask for a higher speed); or
- Your WiFi network is rubbish and while the internet coming into the house is great, the internet being spread by WiFi is poor.
Problem Solved, get a WiFi “mesh system”. We’ve looked at two others so far, Netgear Orbi and Linksys Velop. Both are more expensive than Google WiFi so naturally people will be drawn to the Google solution.
This is the best Google Product I’ve used. Out of the box, three small simple devices. Open up the app and it’s a guided tour through the setup. Any of the three can be your starting point, you just get going and follow the steps.
About 15 minutes later, I’ve got three of them throughout my home – much the same locations as I placed the Velop devices.
Speed tests show my 95mbps NBN connection available at 94mbps in the distant depths of my home. Winning.
For $499, this is a revelation.
Google WiFi also does regular speed tests on your network – perhaps the ACCC should be working with Google on their broadband monitoring program – the speeds I saw were about 4-5% slower than what I get using my ISP speed test or Speedtest.net – but that’s likely because of the location of the Google server more than anything.
It’s darn cool – I can’t help but recommend it to you.
There is no web interface to the Google WiFi back end – unlike most routers where you can adjust settings, change passwords, monitor access, all of that is done in the App. Which is good – I guess, just taking me a while to get used to.
When you dig into the app, you find things that may well be available in the complex world of modem router admin pages, but strewth, they’ve never been this easy.
Device priority – streaming Netflix on the TV? Worried the kids gaming or streaming will cause it to buffer? No worries – set the TV as the priority device for an hour. Do the same for any device.
Need to kick the kids off WiFi? Setup a group, put all the kids devices in it – then pause them. It’s like flicking a big off switch.
The app is the best part of this, alongside the simplicity of it all.
Why then is a Netgear Orbi more expensive? Great question. The problem (for Netgear) is that their product is so much more advanced. It’s a better networking device. Orbi is a tri-band WiFi system, and one of those bands is the dedicated backhaul between the Orbi Router and Satellites. With Google WiFi, if you have too many devices connected, the network will degrade and slow down because all the traffic is shared.
Essentially, Google WiFi is a slower system. You won’t notice that in a house with 15 devices, but load up the network and it will have an impact.
There is only two Ethernet ports on each Google WiFi too – so limited expansion for the home entertainment unit compared to Orbi.
That said, it’s a damn sight cheaper, and this mobile app is amazing. If anything, Netgear and Linksys need to spend a whole lot more time and money on the user interface and features of their administrative back end sites and apps, that’s the thing they simply must take away from Google WiFi.
For a big home, with lots of devices, you are better off with a Netgear Orbi. But for many people, simply looking to plug the holes where WiFi dead spots exist and finally share a solid fast internet connection across the house, Google WiFI is an outstanding value product.
Web: Officeworks – $499
Trev is a Technology Commentator, Dad, Speaker and Rev Head.
He produces and hosts two popular podcasts, EFTM and Two Blokes Talking Tech. He also appears on over 50 radio stations across Australia weekly, and is the resident Tech Expert on Channel 9’s Today Show each day and appears regularly on A Current Affair.
Father of three, he is often found down in his Man Cave.