For pretty much as long as I’ve had internet in my home, my Wi-Fi game has been weak to say the least. I’ve had the most basic and boring Netgear Wi-Fi router that covered maybe two-thirds of my house which needed to be unplugged and reset far too often. I was long overdue for some sort of an upgrade and what I chose to go with was Google Wi-Fi. The relatively new mesh Wi-Fi system made by Google that is probably one of the easiest systems to set up, in my experience very reliable and also not a bad looking router compared to what’s currently on the market. Even though it’s been out for about two months now, availability for Google Wi-Fi has been scarce at least from the Google store which for some reason still has a wait list. I was able to snag a couple from Staples and they arrived in one day. So that would be my suggestion if you want one at least until Google or Amazon have more in stock. A single Wi-Fi point will run you 129 bucks and a 3-pack sells for $299 and how many you need really depends on how large your home or office is. As far as the unboxing experience is concerned, these come in some super nice like hard shell boxes that could probably be reused for something. I’d have a hard time throwing them away but we’ll go ahead and tear off the plastic wrap here and struggle to slide off the sleeve. And flipping open the box were greeted by that super clean Google Wi-Fi point. Putting it off to the side for just a second we’ll dig a little deeper inside the box and as far as instructions are concerned you get one single card that has the two simple steps you need to set these up and I’ll go over the full setup in just a minute so you can get an idea of what’s required. Google also gives you just a couple other things with this Wi-Fi point inside the box; you get a power cable of course and this is a USB type-c power cable. It’s kind of short so it might not reach everywhere you need it but I can at least respect Google’s push for USB type C. A little inconvenient since you probably can’t use any longer replacement cables you have lying around but hey USB C is the future right. You also get one six and a half foot Ethernet cable, you don’t have to use this one. You’re more than welcome to use any Ethernet cables you already have with your existing system but it’s nice to see that you at least get an extra. In my opinion the router itself is one of the more attractive pieces of hardware you can buy.
While I would usually try and hide my previous ugly bulky Netgear thing, I really wouldn’t mind having Google Wi-Fi sit out. It’s also really compact, it’s 4.1 inches in diameter and 2.7 inches tall so it really doesn’t take up a lot of space. All the ports and other information are found underneath the unit, so you’ll see the QR code and setup codes used to get everything up and running and you’ll also see the three ports tucked underneath everything too. The USB C power port in the middle and two standard Ethernet ports on either side; one for internet access and the other for a wired connection to any device you need. Having only two wired connection points might be an issue for some people but for me it’s not an issue at all. I just don’t have any devices that need a wired connection. For setting up the Google Wi-Fi point you only need the power cable, any Ethernet cable you want to use and the unit itself along with your internet modem. Plug in the USBC power cable in the bottom first and then plug in the Ethernet plug in the green labeled port and this is the one that goes into your cable modem on the other end. For most people those are the only two cables that will be coming from the Wi-Fi point. Cable management is pretty clean and around back you’ll also notice the reset button on the unit. You can press that if you need to reset the router but in my experience that button has never needed to be pressed.
If everything thus far is working properly, the Google Wi-Fi point should be lit up and ready to go. And from here setup is going to continue using the Google Wi-Fi app on your smart phone that you can download from both the Google Play Store or App Store. It’s free to download and is required to set up and use the Google Wi-Fi system. For the app, the first thing you’ll need to do is turn on Bluetooth. Once that’s enabled the app will start to search for the Wi-Fi point that’s plugged in and after a few moments you’ll be prompted to scan the QR code that was located underneath the router. After that son the only other step is to mark where this Wi-Fi point is located so you can identify it on the app from all the other ones you have installed, set up a name for your Wi-Fi network as well as enable a WPA2 password for security. And then Google will do the rest; setting up the mesh network and making sure it’s all in working order. If you’re setting up just a one Google Wi-Fi point, the whole process took maybe 10 minutes or less. I had absolutely no issues with a router or the app whatsoever; no web addresses to visit, no issues with my internet service provider or modem, nothing at all.
Now one of the main reasons I went with Google Wi-Fi is because it’s a wireless mesh network kit which means you can seamlessly connect a couple Google Wi-Fi points together to extend the range of your Wi-Fi network. This isn’t new exactly, there are a couple other mesh network systems on the market like Hero and Orby and they have great reviews too. But I just landed on the Google Wi-Fi system out of personal preference. My house is more than 2,000 square feet and my internet access point is basically on one edge of the house, so my old Netgear router barely made it halfway through the home before the signal dropped to an absolutely unusable level. I tried a couple Wi-Fi extenders but they were pretty much garbage if they even work at all. My second Google Wi-Fi point will be in my kitchen which extends my Wi-Fi network through the entire house and then some. And for setting up the second point you only need to connect the power cable to it, that’s it. It doesn’t need to be connected through Ethernet or anything else. The app prompts you automatically after the first set up and asks if you have any more and after you plug it in just identify where it’s located. Once again the Google Wi-Fi app takes care of the rest, automatically setting up the Wi-Fi point, activating the mesh network and making sure everything works.
Once your network is up and running the app is where you can see all of your Wi-Fi points and network status and it’s also where you can make any changes if you need to. The settings are really easy to access and pretty self-explanatory. So for example you can easily change the network name or password, setup priority devices or even see all the devices that are currently connected. You can also perform a network check to confirm the status of your internet and see what kind of speed you’re getting from the different points. And this is as I was getting which is about what my ISP advertises I should get. One last note you can also easily set up a guest network through the app as well if you need to. So the Google Wi-Fi app is good and setup is really easy but I can see the argument that having to always have an app on your smartphone for your home Wi-Fi network might be a little inconvenient. It’s not the worst thing in the world, I mean it’s handy and really user friendly but it is yet another app to crowd up your home screen. As far as a technical specs ago Google Wi-Fi has simultaneous dual band 2.4 gigahertz and 5 gigahertz capabilities supporting 802 11 ABG and AC WPA2-PSK security and you can connect as many Google Wi-Fi points together as you need. There doesn’t appear to be a maximum so theoretically you could have 5 or 6 or maybe even more if you have a really big office space. I’ve never been impressed with any internet setup or Wi-Fi system I’ve ever had but I am at Google Wi-Fi. I really appreciated how easy it was to set up and for the average consumer I think that’s a big plus. The little Google Wi-Fi puk is also kind of nice-looking too. Most importantly though as far as multi-router set ups go, the price is really reasonable for what you get. Hero is 500 bucks for a pack of three, Netgears, Orby is $400 for two and Luma is Google’s only real competition at $300 for three. So Google’s price is definitely right. In a month or so I’ve had Google Wi-Fi in my house, it’s been absolutely flawless and definitely one of the best purchase decisions I’ve made.