Google have finally announced that Google WiFi will be coming to UK shores on 6th April 2017, along with Google Home. The mesh WiFi networking device has been pretty heavily publicized and has been available for purchase in the States since December 2016 and typically receives between 4 or 5 stars in reviews. So, has the 4 month wait been worthwhile?
Google WiFi has some rather impressive sounding technical specifications alongside its mesh networking capabilities to improve general browsing and throughput. Whilst the concept is simple, implementation has never been and it’s not technology that has ever trickled down to general consumers – its tech that has remained in workplaces.
Each of Google’s WiFi devices is referred to as a “point” (think of it as a WiFi Access Point, or a WAP) however each device functions as a full-fledged Wireless router. These access points are not simply wireless extenders – they intercommunicate and pass your full theoretical broadband bandwidth between themselves via their mesh network. You can add additional access points as and when required, extending your total coverage as much as is necessary for you. However it’s worth noting that, despite their small size when compared to your standard wireless router, these devices can cover a fairly impressive square footage. Google estimate that a single WiFi point will provide coverage for houses/apartments up to 1,500 square feet!
Google WiFi features
- AC1200 Wave 2, dual band, 2×2 wireless networking
- Simultaneous dual band – 2.4GHz + 5GHz
- 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac
- Two Gigabit Ethernet ports per Wifi point (WAN and LAN on primary Wifi point; both act as LAN ports on additional Wifi points)
- WPA2-PSK security
- All WiFi points are controlled from a single application – Google WiFi
How it works
By utilising mesh networking, Google WiFi can ensure that whatever device you have connected to your home network is always connected to the fastest access point available to you dependent on where you are in your house. There’s no requirement to switch networks, no requirement to configure multiple access points and you’re no longer stuck to a single wireless router based on the lower floor of your house – leaving you with a single bar of signal when you’re sat in your bedroom upstairs.
The Google WiFi points will also switch over to using the least congested channels as and when required, without any manual intervention – which is great if you live in an apartment block or housing estate where there are a lot of other people living fairly close by. Not only will each point switch up its channel, but it will also connect your device to the best/fastest available band for your device. It will intelligently check what your device is capable of, how far away from the AP you are and will then place your device either in the 2.4GHz or 5GHz.
There are now a fair few options on the market that provide similar functionality to Google WiFi, to name a few: NETGEAR Orbi, BT Whole Home, Linksys Velop, Devolo GigaGate, Ubiquiti AmpliFi and Luma Surround WiFi.
It will be interesting to see how Google’s offering compares to the existing devices and whether performance will live up to the hype. The pricing structure is competitive with other brands, with the 1-pack coming in at £129 and the 2-pack coming in at £229 from the Google Store. Google WiFi will also available to purchase from Currys/PC World, Argos, Maplin and John Lewis with availability via Amazon coming soon thereafter!