Google Wifi, the mesh router that Google unveiled first last
October, is now on sale in Canada. The router sells either
individually for $179 CDN, or in a 3-pack for $439 CDN, which
is pretty close to U.S. pricing given current exchange rates.
The Wifi solution’s mesh networking approach means it can
seamlessly pair with other units to extend coverage throughout
a house, without sacrificing signal strength, and while also
handing off connections from one device to the next with such
smooth transitions that you won’t notice the change even if
you’re on a VOIP call when it happens.
The Wifi router does indeed provide strong coverage, based on
my short tests, but the most interesting thing for users who
might not necessarily need improved coverage is that it also
comes with a companion mobile app, which makes it incredibly
easy to manage tasks that typically aren’t all that
user-friendly when it comes to home networking solutions. The
app lets you do things like prioritize certain devices for when
there isn’t enough bandwidth to go around, see exactly what
devices are connected, toggle and schedule access for specific
devices and groups of devices, designate others as network
managers and more.
Google’s industrial design means these puck-like little
cylinders won’t ruin your home decor if you place them around
your house, rather than hidden away, which is basically the
worst thing you can do if you’re hoping for good, consistent
and far-ranging Wi-Fi coverage.
Unlike with other home networking devices you may have used
that offer dual-band, Google Wifi won’t make you pick one band
(either 2.4GHz or 5GHz) among two separate networks. The idea
is you never think about what you’re connecting to what, but
the result is just that your devices are always getting the
best possible speeds available given network conditions. Google
sorts this out using its own machine learning algorithms, which
are actually also predictive – meaning they can anticipate
upcoming busy times on certain bands and adjust connections in
anticipation so you don’t encounter any problems.
If UX and network quality aren’t reason enough (and the fact
that competitor Eero doesn’t currently sell to Canada
directly), then there’s another reason Canadians should take
note of Wifi’s launch: Canadians helped build it in a big way.
Every aspect of the tech, from hardware, to software, to the
companion app, was worked on to a “significant” degree by
Google’s engineering team in Waterloo.
Wifi goes on sale today at the Google Store online, as well as
at Best Buy Canada, Staples Canada and Walmart Canada, and
Google says more retailers will follow.