Google’s successor to its easy-to-use OnHub router — now named Google Wifi — launched at retail Tuesday, adding yet another option for consumers looking for mesh networking for a better consistent signal across larger homes.
Google Wifi is available through brick-and-mortar retailers such as Walmart and Best Buy, as well as online through Amazon and Google’s own online store. A single access point costs $129, however, all retailers will also carry a three pack for $299, which is about a $90 savings over buying three single units.
What makes Google Wifi special is its setup and maintenance. Like OnHub, everything is done through a companion app, which allows just about anyone to set it up successfully. Maintenance of your network is automatic once it is set up, keeping the wireless network operating at peak performance.
For example, Google Wifi scans available Wi-Fi channels every five minutes to ensure devices are always on the “clearest” channel. It also assists in choosing the best Wi-Fi band for your devices, depending on their type as well as proximity to the router. That same feature also routes your device to the best access point ensuring a well-performing connection, Google says.
The app, in addition to providing easy setup and maintenance, is designed to give feedback in plain English. For example, if it believes you might get a better Wi-Fi connection by moving the access point, it will tell you, as well as alerts on whether it detects interference or other problems and how to fix them.
“Wi-Fi should be easy to set up, provide great coverage for your entire house, and do all the heavy lifting for you,” product manager Alex King says. “We built Google Wifi to answer those needs and more, and hope it improves your Wi-Fi experience at home.”
At $299 for three access points, Google Wifi is a good deal compared with other options on the market. Netgear’s recently announced Orbi is $80 more and only comes with two access points, while the Eero — one of the original consumer mesh Wi-Fi options on the market is still $499 (although it offers the most bandwidth). Only the Luma mesh router system comes in at a similar price (also $299), but it doesn’t include many of the maintenance features that Google has built into Google Wifi.
As of this publication, Google Wifi was only ready for purchase at Google’s own online store, however, other retailers should start allowing orders later in the day.