|Release date||December 5, 2016(United States)|
|Operating system||Linux-based, 9460.40.5|
|System-on-chip used||Qualcomm IPQ4019, Quad-core ARM CPU, each up to 710 MHz|
|Dimensions||Diameter: 4.17 in (106.12 mm)
Height: 2.70 in (68.75 mm)
|Weight||12 oz (340 g)|
Google Wifi is a mesh-capable wireless router developed by Google. It was announced on October 4, 2016, and released in the United States on December 5, 2016. Further international rollout followed, with the United Kingdom on April 6, 2017, Canada on April 28, 2017, France and Germany on June 26, 2017, and Australia on July 20, 2017.
Google Wifi aims to provide enhanced Wi-Fi coverage through the setup of multiple Wifi devices in a home. Wifi automatically switches between access points depending on signal strength. Wifi can be purchased as a single unit or in a multi-pack. One Wifi device looks like a little white cylinder. For the technical aspects of its functionality, Wifi features 802.11ac connectivity with 2.4GHz and 5GHz channels, 2x2 antennas, and support for beamforming. It has two gigabit Ethernet ports, and contains a quad-core processor with 512 MB RAM and 4 GB flash memory. Wi-Fi access can be controlled through a companion mobile app.
Google Wifi received mostly positive reviews. It was significantly praised for its design, setup process and performance, but received criticism for lacking a website interface and for lack of proper customization features for advanced users.
Android Police reported in September 2016 that Google was preparing to introduce a mesh-capable wireless router with enhanced range, along with its October 4 date of announcement and US$129 price point. Google Wifi was officially announced on October 4, 2016, with expected availability in the United States in December. The device became available in the United States on December 5, 2016, in the United Kingdom on April 6, 2017, in Canada on April 28, 2017, in France and Germany on June 26, 2017, and in Australia on July 20, 2017.
Google Wifi can be purchased two ways: as a single unit or a multi-pack. One Wifi device is a little white cylinder. When combining multiple devices, it will automatically switch between access points. The router itself supports 802.11ac connectivity with 2.4GHz and 5GHz channels, 2x2 antennas, with support for beamforming. Wifi has two gigabit Ethernet ports, and contains a quad-core processor with 512 MB RAM and 4 GB flash memory. A companion mobile app provides the ability to selectively control Wi-Fi access.
James Trew of Engadget praised the ease of setup for the device, writing that "Setting up a router isn't usually that hard, but it often involves an ugly web admin panel that -- ironically for a device that helps you enjoy the internet -- looks like it was designed in 2003. You'll set Google WiFi up with an app" and described the process as "all very simple and painless". Trew also liked the design, calling it "nice" and compared it to other routers by writing that "A quick internet search for "wireless router" returns a slew of angular black boxes with ugly antennas that might look okay in an office or basement, but nowhere else" and stated that "Google WiFi's white cylindrical design, however, is fairly unremarkable, and that's precisely the point". For performance, Trew was surprised to find that Google Wifi gave him a considerably higher speed than his previous router, describing it as "almost tripling the transfer rate of my old router every time". He also praised the app's ability to easily add more units around a house, the ability to manually prioritize what devices should get the highest Internet speed and the mesh network's capabilities of automatically switching between access points. However, he criticized the lack of a website interface and noted that the device might not be suitable for advanced users but rather "for people who don't enjoy navigating the typical router admin console (or don't even know that their router has one)".
Dong Ngo of CNET also praised the setup process, describing it as "self-explanatory, and dare I say, fun". Ngo also praised speed, calling it "fast" and that the coverage and reliability provided by the mesh system was "great". Similarly to Trew, Ngo criticized the lack of proper customization features, calling it "frustrating" and elaborating that "You can't do as much with the Wifi as you can with a regular router. To name a few, there's no MAC filtering, content filtering, or even support for Dynamic DNS (DDNS)". Ngo also noted that the Wifi system is connected to a user's Google account "at all times", meaning that, while security updates can be provided on a regular basis, the "constant connection to Google is required. That's a dealbreaker for some".
Dan Seifert of The Verge reiterated praise for design, writing "each unit is a compact, unobtrusive cylinder that can be tucked away on a shelf or counter and doesn’t look like a piece of computer equipment in the middle of your living room", and also for the setup, describing it as "painless and took about 10 minutes total to complete". Seifert wrote that "In each room, Google Wifi was able to provide a strong wireless signal and enough internet bandwidth for the most demanding streaming needs" and complimented the system for being able to provide his bedroom with decent speeds, despite it being "the furthest room" and the "hardest test" in his home. He noted that, while the app shows which access point a device is connected to, it "doesn’t allow you to force devices to hop from one to another". Overall, Seifert stated that "If all you care about is raw performance, [Netgear] Orbi is a better router, but for overall experience, including cost and maintenance, Google Wifi is an easier system to use".
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- Etherington, Darrell (April 28, 2017). "Google Wifi now available in Canada". TechCrunch. AOL. Retrieved April 28, 2017.
- Gartenberg, Chaim (April 28, 2017). "Google Wifi is now available in Canada". The Verge. Vox Media. Retrieved April 28, 2017.
- Hager, Ryne (June 26, 2017). "[Update: Now available in France and Germany] Google Wifi may be coming to France on Monday". Android Police. Retrieved June 27, 2017.
- Meyer, David (June 26, 2017). "Google Wifi: Now its home routers are firing up in Germany, France". ZDNet. CBS Interactive. Retrieved June 27, 2017.
- Gao, Richard (July 17, 2017). "Google Home and Wifi will launch in Australia on July 20th". Android Police. Retrieved July 18, 2017.
- Trew, James (December 6, 2016). "Google WiFi review: A hassle-free router comes at a price". Engadget. AOL. Retrieved April 22, 2017.
- Ngo, Dong (December 6, 2016). "Google Wifi review". CNET. CBS Interactive. Retrieved April 22, 2017.
- Seifert, Dan (December 6, 2016). "Google Wifi review: Wi-Fi that works". The Verge. Vox Media. Retrieved April 22, 2017.