The past couple of years have made it clear that having a dependable Wi-Fi network at home is essential -- especially if you're working or learning from home, gaming online with friends or calling up loved ones for regular video chats. And, if you've established such networking habits over the course of the pandemic, you might've noticed that the signal from your router isn't as strong as you'd like it to be in some parts of your house. Those wireless signals can only travel so far on their own before your speeds drop off, especially if your home's layout and construction are creating obstructions that those signals struggle to penetrate.
This is where mesh routers come in. With multiple devices spread throughout your home, a good mesh router is more like a team of routers that can relay your wireless signal back to the modem better than a stand-alone router, especially when you're connecting at range. With the right system, you could enjoy wireless speeds that are about as fast as your network is capable of through the majority, or entirety, of your home. Better yet, you won't have to juggle your connection between your main network and a separate extension network like you will with a simple range extender -- the mesh router will automatically route your connection accordingly within a single network.
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The rub is that mesh Wi-Fi systems are more expensive than range extenders and typically costlier than traditional, stand-alone routers, too. If your home is large, it might take a mesh setup with three devices or more to offer strong speeds in every room. The good news is that we've seen lots of new mesh competition hitting the market in recent years, and that's driven prices down significantly. Though we'd recommend aiming a bit higher, you can even find basic, entry-level mesh systems for as little as $20 per device.
Some of the best mesh Wi-Fi models include systems from Eero, which popularized mesh networking before being bought by Amazon in 2019, as well as the latest setups from Asus, Netgear Orbi and Google Nest. Mesh systems like those regularly sold for as much as $400 or even $500 a few years ago, but now all of these manufacturers and others offer multipoint mesh router systems -- including the main router and the additional satellite devices, or nodes -- that cost less than $300, if not less than $200.
We've still got lots of routers and mesh systems we'd like to try out -- including a growing number that use Wi-Fi 6 technology promising better performance and faster speeds. More mesh routers that support Wi-Fi 6E, which means they can access a newly unlocked mass of bandwidth in the 6GHz band, should be arriving in the coming months, too, but it's probably much too early to invest in a system like that (and believe me, they won't come cheap).
Expect regular updates to this post as new Wi-Fi mesh routers like those make it to market. For now, here are the top mesh routers we'd recommend right now for anyone ready to make the upgrade.
Nest WifiChris Monroe/CNET
Several years ago, Google Wifi became a breakout hit thanks to its easy setup and its ability to spread a fast, reliable Wi-Fi connection throughout your home for all of your connected devices. Now, there's the Nest Wifi, a second-gen follow-up that adds in faster internet speed and a better-looking design, plus Google Assistant smart speakers built into each range extender. The price is a little lower this time around, too -- $269 for the two-piece setup above, with roughly the same area of Wi-Fi coverage as a three-piece, $300 Google Wifi setup from years back.
On average, the Nest Wifi notched the fastest top speeds that we saw from any Wi-Fi 5 mesh router (and faster speeds than the newest Linksys Velop system, which supports Wi-Fi 6 and costs more than twice as much). Plus, the two-piece setup offered enough signal strength to provide sufficient coverage at the 5,800-square-foot CNET Smart Home. It also aced our mesh tests, never once dropping my connection as I moved about my home running speed tests, and I never caught it routing my connection through the extender when connecting directly to the router was faster, either.
The lack of Wi-Fi 6 support might seem like a missed opportunity, but the Nest Wifi does include support for modern features like WPA3 security, device grouping and prioritization and 4x4 MU-MIMO connections that offer faster aggregate speeds for devices like the MacBook Pro that can use multiple Wi-Fi antennas at once. It's also fully backward-compatible with previous-gen Google Wifi setups, which is a smart touch. All of it is easy to set up, easy to use and easy to rely on, making it the most well-rounded mesh router pick of the bunch, and the first one I'd recommend to just about anyone looking to upgrade a home network.
It was a little surprising that we didn't see a Wi-Fi 6 version of Nest Wifi in 2020 or 2021, but that might have been a savvy move on Google's part -- a mesh router will get the most out of Wi-Fi 6 if it adds in a second 5GHz band for dedicated traffic between the router and its satellites, and tri-band designs like that get expensive fast. Among dual-band mesh routers, I'd much rather have a top-of-the-line Wi-Fi 5 system than an entry-level Wi-Fi 6 system. Even among new competition, the Nest Wifi fits that bill.
Read our Nest Wifi review.
Best for large homes
Eero Pro 6Amazon
Eero was an early pioneer of the mesh networking approach, and in 2019, it got scooped up by Amazon. Then, in 2020, we got two new versions of the Eero mesh router: the Eero 6 and Eero Pro 6, both of which add in support for -- you guessed it -- Wi-Fi 6.
Each system is priced at a value, netting you a three-piece setup with two range-extending satellites for about as much as some competitors charge for a two-piece setup. That's great if you live in a large home and you need your Wi-Fi network to cover a lot of ground -- the additional mesh Wi-Fi network extender will make a big, noticeable difference in your speeds when you're connecting at range.
But between the two of them, I strongly prefer the Eero Pro 6, which costs $599 for a three-pack or less if you can catch a sale. Unlike the regular Eero 6, which disappointed in my tests with poor band-steering, the Eero Pro 6 setup I tested worked like a charm, spreading fast, reliable speeds across my entire home. Plus, it features a tri-band design with two 5GHz bands, which is key for optimal mesh performance. It's also a great pick for Alexa users thanks to a built-in Zigbee radio that lets you pair things like smart locks and smart lights with your voice assistant without needing any extra hub hardware.
$599 isn't inexpensive by any stretch, but it's about as good a price as you'll find for a three-piece, tri-band mesh router with full support for Wi-Fi 6. That makes it a worthy and sensible upgrade for large homes. And if you don't need a three-piece system, you could consider the Eero Pro 6 two-pack, which costs $399.
Read our Eero Pro 6 review.
In 2016, Google made its first foray into mesh networking with Google Wifi, a puckish, three-piece mesh router system. Like other mesh routers, you connect one Google Wifi device to your modem and then scatter the others throughout your home to spread a speedy Wi-Fi signal from room to room. The $300 system tested well and quickly earned a spot as one of CNET's top recommended routers.
Then, at the end of 2019, Google unveiled a follow-up. Rather than calling it Google Wifi 2, Google called the system Nest Wifi, which matched the company's efforts to rebrand the Google Home Mini smart speaker and Google Home Hubsmart display as the Nest Mini and Nest Hub.
But don't let that fool you into thinking it's just the same system with a different name. Though they both make the same basic pitch -- steady, reliable, whole-home Wi-Fi -- Google Wifi and Nest Wifi come with some key differences. And, with both currently available from major retailers, you'll want to be sure you understand those differences before you buy in. Let's run through them:
A new, Nesty design
With stout, cylindrical devices that pair together wirelessly, Google Wifi and Nest Wifi both take the same basic approach to design -- but that doesn't mean that Google didn't spruce things up for generation 2.
For starters, Nest Wifi softened the edges and ditched the blue LED lights to give the system a gentler look that's meant to better blend into your home's decor (and yes, they look a lot like marshmallows). And while the Nest Wifi router is only available in white, the range-extending Nest Wifi Points come in your choice of three colors -- white, blue, or coral.
That brings up another key hardware difference. With Google Wifi, each device is identical. You can connect any of them to your modem to serve as your network's router, and you can use any of them as range extenders in other rooms of your house. That's not the case with Nest Wifi, which features a dedicated router and smaller, separate range extenders -- those Nest Wifi Points.
Google Wifi devices each include an Ethernet WAN port and a separate Ethernet LAN port. That gives you the option of a direct, wired connection to any Google Wifi device in your home, and it lets you wire your Google Wifi devices together for faster speeds, too. The Nest Wifi router features those same two Ethernet jacks, but the Nest Wifi Points don't include Ethernet jacks at all.
Oh, and speaking of those Nest Wifi Points, Google built a microphone and a speaker into each one. That lets you use the things like smart speakers, with the full intelligence of the Google Assistant just a quick voice command away.
Bring your home up to speed with the latest on automation, security, utilities, networking and more.
Along with the usual voice-assistant staples like asking for the weather, playing music and turning smart homegadgets on and off, you can also ask the Google Assistant to run a quick speed test for your network, or to pause the Wi-Fi for a device or group of devices. Google also built touch controls into the top of each Point, which lets you pause playback or adjust the volume with a quick tap. And, if you'd rather disable the voice controls altogether, you can flip a physical switch to turn the microphone off.
Google Wifi vs. Nest Wifi
|Google Wifi||Nest Wifi|
|Wi-Fi standard||Wi-Fi 5||Wi-Fi 5|
|Range||1,500 square feet per point||2,200 square feet per router, 1,600 square feet per point|
|Built-in smart speakers||No||Yes (Points only)|
|Capacitive touch controls||No||Yes (Points only)|
|Top wireless transfer speed, 5 feet (router only)||451 Mbps||612 Mbps|
|Top wireless transfer speed, 75 feet (router only)||201 Mbps||431 Mbps|
|Single router price||$99||$149|
|Additional extender price||$99||$129|
|3-piece mesh system price||$259||$299|
Speeds and specs
With three years of development separating them, Google Wifi and Nest Wifi come with different hardware capabilities. For starters, Google Wifi is an AC1200 mesh system, which means that the combined top speeds of its 2.4 and 5GHz bands is 1,200 Mbps. With Nest Wifi, that speed rating jumps up to AC2200, so between the 2.4 and 5GHz bands, you're getting a more capable access point.
Just remember that your router can only connect you to one band at a time -- though both Google Wifi and Nest Wifi will automatically steer your connection between the two bands to optimize speed and signal strength. That band-steering worked particularly well when we tested both systems, so this seems to be one of Google's strong suits.
Now playing:Watch this: Nest Wifi puts Google Assistant into your router
Like with all routers, those AC1200 and AC2200 speed ratings are derived from optimized, lab-based speed tests that don't take factors like distance, obstructions and interference into account, so your actual top speeds will likely be a lot lower. In our own lab, we clocked Google Wifi with top wireless transfer rates of 451Mbps at close range and 201Mbps at a distance of 75 feet. With the more capable Nest Wifi, those numbers jump to 612 and 431Mbps, which is impressive for an AC mesh router.
That AC bit tells you that both Google Wifi and Nest Wifi support Wi-Fi 5 (802.11ac), which has been the go-to version of Wi-Fi for the past several years. A new, faster, AX version of Wi-Fi called Wi-Fi 6 just started rolling out last year (802.11ax), but Google opted not to include support for it with Nest Wifi.
However, Google did upgrade the antennas with Nest Wifi, boosting it up to a 4X4 configuration that's capable of simultaneous MU-MIMO transmissions that are more robust than the 2X2 Google Wifi. Nest Wifi also supports the newest WPA3 encryption standards -- Google Wifi doesn't.
Google Wifi comes with its own, dedicated control app that does a good job of walking you through setup and offering basic controls. It doesn't offer as many advanced features as something like a gaming router will, so it isn't ideal if you like having lots of advanced network settings at your fingertips.
Nest Wifi relocated the controls into the Google Home app, so you'll control your router alongside things like Google Assistant smart speakers and compatible smart home gadgets. Along with parental controls and other user-friendly features, you can run a quick speed test from the app, and you can group devices together to quickly turn their Wi-Fi access on and off. It's more streamlined and simplified than the controls in the original Google Wifi app, but you can still use those Google Wifi controls with Nest Wifi if you so choose.
The bottom line
Google WifiJosh Miller
Google Wifi had a good run as one of the top mesh systems of the past few years, and it's still on sale at some retailers. If you spot it on the shelf and see the solid reviews online, you might be tempted to buy in.
The best argument for Google Wifi at this point is that it works with Nest Wifi in full, backward-compatible fashion. If you've already got a Nest Wifi router and you want to extend its range to a back room in your house, you can save a little money and get the job done with a Google Wifi Point instead of a Nest Wifi Point. It won't be quite as fast, but it'll save you a few bucks, and might be the way to go if you aren't interested in the Google Assistant voice controls that come with Nest Wifi Points. Aside from that, I'd recommend that most people stick with Nest Wifi devices for a network that's fully up to speed.
For almost everyone, I think the new Nest Wifi is the much better mesh system. It costs a bit more than Google Wifi does at this point, but not by much -- and for the extra money, you're getting faster top speeds, stronger connections, and access to the latest encryption standards, which is good for future-proofing. The lack of Wi-Fi 6 support is a little disappointing, but not as disappointing as you might think -- especially if you're holding out for the arrival of Wi-Fi 6E routers in 2021.
Google Wifi vs. Nest Wifi: Which mesh router should you buy?
A Google Wifi vs. Nest Wifi comparison is a good place to start if you're looking for one of the best mesh routers around.
Yes, Google isn't just a major force on the internet, it's also a big player in how people get on the internet to begin with. Google introduced one of the earliest mainstream mesh Wi-Fi systems in 2016, offering quick and convenient setup with app-based controls.
The original Google Wifi was one of our favorite mesh routers of 2016, but in 2020 Google offered a new mesh Wi-Fi package under the Nest brand name. The Google Nest Wifi mesh kit knocked it out of the park, improving upon the original in almost every way, including the addition of smart features that we wish more companies would adopt.
But the original Google Wifi didn't disappear. In fact, Google updated it in 2020, giving it a new low price, but retaining the hardware and performance we loved in our original Google Wifi. Both old and new versions are still being sold, but the similarity in hardware means that the only substantial difference is price.
This leaves shoppers wondering which Google-powered mesh Wi-Fi system is better. Comparing the original Google Wifi to the newer Nest Wifi, we've got the lowdown on which of these award-winning mesh networking kits is best for you.
Google Wifi vs. Nest Wifi: Specs
|Google Wifi||Nest Wifi|
|Price||$99 (single), $149 (3 units)||$169 (single), $269 (with 1 access point), $349 (2 access points)|
|Wi-Fi spec||802.11ac/Dual Band||802.11ac/Dual Band|
|802.11ac Type||AC1200 MU-MIMO||AC2200|
|Number of Antennas/Removable||4/No||4/No|
|Ports||2x 1Gbps LAN, USB-C for power||(Router) 2x 1Gbps LAN, power; (Extension) None|
|Processor||Quad-core 710MHz||Quad-core 1.4GHz|
|Memory/Storage||512MB/4GB||(Router) 1GB/4GB; (Extension) 768MB/512MB|
|Wi-Fi Chip||Qualcomm IPQ4019||Qualcomm QCS 400|
|Dimensions||4.1 x 4.1 x 2.7 inches||(Router) 4.3 x 4.3 x 3.6 inches ; (Extension) 4.0 x 4.0 x 3.4 inches|
|Color options||Snow||Mist, Sand, Snow|
Google Wifi vs. Nest Wifi: Price and availability
On the Google Store, you can find Google Wifi listed for a very affordable $99 for single units and $149 for a trio of interchangeable units. If you need two or four or five points for your Google Wifi system, you'll need to add them individually.
While the Google Wifi was originally introduced in 2016, Google did re-issue the product in 2020 with very minor changes and a lower starting price. The hardware was largely identical, but the power connector was changed from USB-C to a standard barrel connector, and the Google "G" logo was changed from a simple sticker on the device to a letter moulded into the plastic of the housing.
The older models can still be found on Amazon, selling for different prices than the 2020 version sold directly by Google.
|Google Wifi (2016 model)||Google Wifi (2020 model)||Nest Wifi|
|2-pack||n/a||n/a||$269 (1 router + 1 point)|
|3-pack||$189||$149||$349 (1 router + 2 points)|
|Add-on units||$78||$99||$149 (1 point)|
The Nest Wifi, on the other hand, is sold as either a single router, or in packs of two or three, bundling a single router with one or two points, respectively. A single router sells for $169 alone, or $269 when bundled with a single Wifi point, or $349 for two points. Individual Wifi points can also be purchased for $149 each.
Google recommends adding no more than five points to a single network, for a total of six units (1 router + 5 points). According to Google "Adding more may be detrimental to Wi-Fi performance."
And here's the best part. If you already own a Google Wifi, and want to upgrade to the newer Nest Wifi, the older Wifi points will still work with the newer Nest hardware, giving you additional expansion units for even more coverage area. The performance may not be as good on the older devices, but it's a simple way to upgrade for less.
Google Wifi vs. Nest Wifi: Design
The biggest obvious change from 2016 to now is in the physical design. The original Google Wifi mesh system had a collection of interchangeable units called points, all identical, and capable of connecting with each other to create a seamless mesh network. One point connects to your modem, serving as the central unit, and the rest act as your mesh extensions throughout the house.
With a white plastic body, a cylindrical design and distinctive LED stripe around the center of each Wi-Fi point, the Google Wifi design manages to feel a little dated, even though it was only introduced 5 years ago.
The newer Nest Wifi updates the design of the mesh kit, retaining the cylindrical look, but softening it with rounded corners, removing the stylized LED indicator stripe and adding color options beyond plain white.
But the biggest design change that the nest introduced is a shift away from interchangeable points to a system that uses a central router unit, that is then expanded with mesh points throughout the house. The router and points differ slightly in both look and features.
Google Wifi vs. Nest Wifi: Features
The original Google Wifi offered plenty of advanced features for its time, with simple mesh networking and 802.11ac connectivity that was top of the line when the system was introduced.
Each Google Wifi point is equipped with a pair of Ethernet ports, letting you connect your cable modem to the central unit, or attach other devices to the extended mesh network through the various points around the house.
But the real standout feature back in 2016 was the ease of setup. Using the Google Wifi App (since changed to the the Google Home app), you could set up each Google Wifi device simply by scanning a QR code on the base of the unit, with setup taking roughly five minutes per unit as multiple points were used for the mesh network.
When it initially launched, the Google Wifi mesh kit was notable for its early smart home capabilities, which included IFTTT functionality.
When Google introduced Nest Wifi in 2020, it updated this feature set with a number of new functions.
Smart home features were a major focus, as the Nest name might suggest. In addition to app-based network management, Nest Wifi works with the entire Nest family of products, and major names like Philips Hue, Tile trackers, GE, TP-Link, and Kasa. From smart locks to smart lights and plugs, your whole house full of connected devices should be compatible with the Nest Wifi system.
But the biggest feature change to come with Nest Wifi was integrated smart speaker technology, putting a Google Home smart speaker into every expansion point. It's a clever remove on Google's part, offering a simple path to putting smart speaker technology into multiple rooms of a home, and doing so without requiring an extra device alongside a satellite mesh unit. (Check out the best Google Home speakers to see our picks for standalone smart speakers.)
Similar smart speaker technology has been offered on other products – the Netgear Orbi Voice came out a full year before the Nest Wifi and TP-Link announced an Alexa-equipped mesh system during CES 2021 – but only Google has thought to do so in its flagship mesh networking equipment.
In addition to letting you control certain router features with voice commands, it also gives you the option of asking about the weather, playing music, or controlling the various connected devices in your home. You can use the multiple Google Home-equipped Wifi points as an intercom system between rooms, and even play music that follows you from room to room.
The only area where we failed to see the expected advancement was in Wi-Fi standards, with the Nest Wifi still using 802.11 AC instead of the newer Wi-Fi 6.
Google Wifi vs. Nest Wifi: Performance
The biggest differences between the Google and Nest versions of Google's mesh system are in performance and range, with the newer Nest Wifi offering faster throughput and larger coverage areas across the board.
The Google Wifi offered maximum throughput of 464.4 Mbps, which is still fairly impressive for an affordable mesh Wi-Fi system. But the Nest Wifi stepped that up substantially, with a top throughput of 653.2Mbps. That even tops some of the Wi-Fi 6 models on our best mesh routers page.
The Nest Wifi also offers better range, translating into larger coverage areas with the same number of units. Where a single Google Wifi unit covered 1,500 square feet, the Nest Wifi router covers 2,200 square feet. Adding a second or third unit only increases expanded range further, as indicated in the chart below.
|Google Wifi||Nest Wifi|
|Single router||Up to 1500 sq ft||Up to 2200 sq ft|
|2-pack||Up to 3000 sq ft||Up to 3800 sq ft|
|3-pack||Up to 4500 sq ft||Up to 5400 sq ft|
Google Wifi vs. Nest Wifi: Security
Since the first Google Wifi, Google has built security features into its mesh Wi-Fi products.
The 2016 Google Wifi boasted an Infineon Trusted Platform Module (TPM) that encrypts network traffic and verifies firmware installations to protect the entire network at the router level. You can also pause the internet connection to one or all devices in the home.
But the Google Wifi lacks any built-in malware protections, and doesn't offer any substantial parental controls, like content filtering or deeper access controls.
The Nest Wifi, on the other hand, adds precisely the sort of features that the Google Wifi was missing. It keeps the TPM-based encryption, and upgrades to WPA 3 (Wi-Fi Protected Access) security – another bit of security that was added to the 2020 version of Google Wifi.
But the Nest Wifi also gets some better parental controls. The ability to pause Wi-Fi access is enhanced with the ability to schedule Internet time-outs or set routines to disconnect the kid's devices for scheduled events like homework or bedtime. Parents can also filter content by site, applying Google SafeSearch to block millions of inappropriate adult websites.
The best part? These parental controls can be accessed right from your smartphone, or through Google Assistant – including the Google Home built into the Nest Wifi points throughout the house.
Google Wifi vs. Nest Wifi: Which is best for you?
When you get right down to it, both the Google Wifi and Nest Wifi are highly capable mesh systems, with decent features and reasonable prices. But if you want the best mesh Wi-Fi kit you can get right now, the Nest Wifi is the clear winner.
The Nest Wifi offers a much more comprehensive feature set, including broader smart home compatibility and powerful parental controls. The Nest offers better range and faster performance. And the inclusion of Google Home in every Wifi point is a no-brainer for anyone looking to add a great smart speaker to one or more rooms in the house.
That said, the Google Wifi is still a smart choice for budget shoppers, and while the feature set isn't as rich, the performance is still quite good, especially if range is less of a concern. If you don't care about Google Home, or if you're already an Alexa household, then the lack of smart speaker in the Google Wifi isn't even making it to your pros/cons list.
The Nest Wifi is the latest and greatest, to be sure, but there's still plenty of reason to get Google Wifi.
TODAY'S BEST DEALS
In many ways, the release of Google Wifi was the one that flung mesh Wi-Fi routers into the mainstream market. It may not have been the first mesh router on the scene, with the likes of Netgear Orbi or Samsung Connect Home getting there first, but it has set the benchmark of what to expect out of mesh Wi-Fi routers.
Google Wifi offers better value than most of the competition, combining a robust feature set and an affordable price tag in a compact and minimalist design that looks good just about anywhere you put it. It’s set a high bar, especially because it’s effortless to install and set up via the mobile app.
Whether you’re doing that or trying to fix your network and connectivity issues, you’ll be impressed by Google Wifi price, performance and features. It’s an easy choice – and a great deal – if you’re trying to switch to a mesh router system.
Google Wifi price and availability
With what it has to offer accessibility- and features-wise, Google isn’t asking for much, particularly for what the Google Wifi can do. The first generation Wifi cost $259 (about £204, AU$399) for a set of three units, comprised of one main “Wi-Fi point” (the one you connect to the modem or gateway) and two secondary Wi-Fi points. Google promises that three Wi-Fi Points can cover up to 4,500 square feet (418 square meters) in a location.
The new generation of Google Wifi devices takes a full $60 off the price of the three-pack-system, on sale now in the US and UK for $199 / £189 (about AU$499). A single Google Wifi unit can be bought for only $99 / £89 (about AU$199), which is the same as the last-gen price. If you are working with a small apartment space, it's more than enough coverage and remains an unbeatable deal.
If you’re in the UK, you’ll also have the option of the Google Wifi in both a 2-pack and a 3-pack, which will cost you £229 and £329, respectively. Google Wifi has disappeared from Google's Australia product page, so there's no option to buy either the first-gen or the newly refreshed Google Wifi mesh router. This strongly suggests that while the Australian rollout is a bit further behind the US and UK's, it is likely imminent and will almost certainly see a similar price cut on the three-pack of networking points.
The Google Wifi is a phenomenal value – it provides more units for less cash than any of its rivals, like the Netgear Orbi, with other wireless mesh routers coming in at $400 (about £320, AU$520), at least, for the same number of mesh nodes.
Wireless Connectivity: IEEE 802.11a/b/g/n/ac, AC1200 2x2 Wave 2 Wi-Fi (expandable mesh; dual-band 2.4GHz and 5GHz, TX beamforming); Bluetooth Smart ready
Processor: Quad-core ARM CPU (each core up to 710MHz)
Memory: 512MB RAM
Storage: 4GB eMMC flash
Beamforming: Implicit and Explicit for 2.4 & 5GHz bands
Ports: 2 x Gigabit Ethernet ports per Wifi point (1 WAN and 1 LAN port each)
Dimensions: 4.1 x 2.7 inches (106.1 x 68.7mm; D x H) each
Weight: 12oz (340g) each
Google Wifi design and setup
Google not only has an edge in pricing on its hands, but it also has the sleekest designed Wi-Fi units and possibly the easiest setup of any offering. Each Google Wifi unit, a simple, little cylinder with a white LED band in its center, delivers the same capability.
This means that any Google Wifi unit can act as the core ‘router’ of the system, while the others can extend the wired signal, sent to the unit wirelessly, with their included Ethernet ports as well as wireless internet. All three units are powered through USB-C.
Setup is also completely smooth, just like the Google Wifi’s hardware design – using a free iOS or Android app to facilitate the whole process. We’re not going to dig into the nitty gritty of the process, but the Google Wifi App will allow you to configure your network by first scanning the QR codes on the Wi-Fi point connected to your modem or gateway.
The app will then ask you to give your new network a name and set a password, then pair any supplementary Wi-Fi points you have, by scanning their QR codes – you’ll then be able to name individual nodes in the app. Again, it only takes a short time for the first Google Wifi node to recognize additional nodes and for them to start working.
You are not going to get the same depth of access as even Netgear Orbi offers, so band switching isn’t a choice. However, Google Wifi does handle this behind the scenes automatically.
The Google Wifi app does provide more useful settings, like continuous monitoring of your network, as well as the points and devices connected to it. The app has an included internet speed test as well, like Ookla’s mesh test that measures the health of your Points’ connections, alongside a Wi-Fi test that measures your connection strength from within the network.
This is the most complete and sophisticated suite of controls we’ve ever seen on a Wi-Fi mesh system to date, in spite of its lack of dropdown boxes and toggles.
Additionally, you can prioritize bandwidth to one device for a time, control smart home devices and pause internet access to certain devices in a family setting – all from the confines of this app.
And, now Google has expanded Google Wifi’s Network Check feature to test multiple devices, so that you’re able to spot potential bottlenecks in your network, as well as rearrange your Google Wifi access points when you’re trying to optimize network performance.
Here is how the Google Wifi fared in our brief suite of tests (conducted on a 100Mbps service):
Ookla Speed Test 5GHz (Download | Upload):
Within 5 feet/1.52 meters; no obstructions: 101.41 | 117.83 Mbps
Within 13 feet/3.96 meters; three plaster walls: 97.05 | 118.67 Mbps
Ookla Speed Test 2.4GHz (Download | Upload):
Within 5 feet/1.52 meters; no obstructions: 47.53 | 96.72 Mbps
Within 13 feet/3.96 meters; three plaster walls: 50.95 | 82.98 Mbps
1.5GB Steam download 5GHz (peak speed):
Within 5 feet/1.52 meters; no obstructions: 12.6 MB/s
Within 13 feet/3.96 meters; three plaster walls: 12.2 MB/s
1.5GB Steam download 2.4GHz (peak speed):
Within 5 feet/1.52 meters; no obstructions: 7.2 MB/s
Within 13 feet/3.96 meters; three plaster walls: 8.8 MB/s
Google Wifi performance
The Google Wifi is able to match, if not surpass, Netgear Orbi’s performance. Drawing the absolute most out of our 100Mbps Wi-Fi service, we have surely not seen any router be able to deliver the same service. But, the core difference here is that Google Wifi is able to bring this high performance to every room of our, albeit small, house.
We’re able to stream 4K video through Netflix to our Roku Premiere in the basement, as well as play Overwatch in the office where the modem is situated without any problems. Wi-Fi mesh systems like the Google Wifi aren’t focused as much on throughput as they are on coverage. Still, this product certainly delivers.
The traffic prioritization feature makes sure that your gaming session is receiving more of that critical bandwidth than the other devices in your house that are used most frequently for Facebooking and streaming HD videos. Additionally, the network can automatically repair itself should one or more of the Wi-Fi Points accidentally lose power.
Even though we know that Google Wifi operates its mesh system over existing Wi-Fi bands (2.4GHz and 5GHz) over the 802.11s mesh protocol instead of Netgear Orbi’s tri-band system that communicates over a second 5GHz Wi-Fi band, we haven’t seen a considerable difference between either’s performance. We do see marginally faster download speeds in MB/s on the 2.4GHz band from the Orbi over the Google Wifi. However, that could also be a possible anomaly.
Where the Google Wifi really excels over similar routers is in its striking price to coverage ratio. You can get similar coverage from rivaling systems with fewer units, sure, but the flexibility you get from having more units – just in terms of minimizing dead spots – is massive.
Google Wifi final verdict
The Google Wifi is the simplest and most effortless router we’ve ever set up, bar none. And, that’s considering the two extra devices required to finish the process. For a reasonably affordable price point, there are more units on offer than most of Google’s rivals, as well as the best setup and management app so far.
Despite the finer hardware controls it lacks, and the lack of AC3000 or AC2200 throughput, Google deliberated every toggle and test it could present in an easily understandable way through its app. There’s even bandwidth priority control. Pair that with a clean, uncluttered hardware design that’s better to showcase in plain view than any other routers we’ve seen yet, and what you have is one of the best Wi-Fi systems that money can buy in 2019.
Images Credit: TechRadar
First reviewed April 2017
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Joe Osborne is the Senior Technology Editor at Insider Inc. His role is to leads the technology coverage team for the Business Insider Shopping team, facilitating expert reviews, comprehensive buying guides, snap deals news and more.
2021 google wifi
If you have a solid internet connection, you owe it to yourself to get a mesh Wi-Fi system. It’ll help to cover more of your apartment or home in fast Wi-Fi. You can get Google’s Wifi in a three-pack for $150 at Amazon, down from $200. This 25 percent discount is the biggest price markdown yet. And considering that Google sells a single Wifi unit for $100, it doesn’t make much sense to opt for that when you can get another two for just $50 more.
Now, Google’s newer Nest Wifi does offer better range and more features than this product, but these are still worth getting if you’re on a budget (not to mention, it’s cross-compatible with Nest Wifi, should you ever upgrade). Each Google Wifi router has dual gigabit ethernet ports, and plugs in via a 15W power adapter. Unlike the previous iteration of this product that Google released in 2016, this slightly updated version that launched in 2020 has a tweaked logo, and Google says that 49 percent of its plastic part weight is made with recycled material.
Google Wifi three-pack
Google’s Wifi mesh system released in 2016, and even though it’s been succeeded by the Nest Wifi, it’s still worth snagging one of these routers as a replacement or to add onto your Google or Nest Wifi setups.
I said in May 2021 that Microsoft’s once-pricey Surface Duo was finally the cost of a normal phone. But now, it’s the cost of a midrange phone at Woot through the end of the day, or until it sells out. The AT&T-locked version of the phone with 128GB of storage is just $398 new at Woot, while the 256GB version is $470. These are the lowest prices yet, but keep in mind that Microsoft has yet to deliver on promises of Android 11 software. Also, recent rumors might be pointing to a newer model on the horizon.
Microsoft Surface Duo (AT&T)
The Microsoft Surface Duo is the company’s first Android phone, and it features two full-size screens attached by a 360-degree hinge.
There’s another phone deal happening on the Samsung Galaxy Note 20 Ultra with 128GB of storage at Amazon. Usually $1,200, you can pick it up for $950, which is about $25 above the lowest-ever price. This phone will work with any US carrier via LTE, as well as with all US carriers that offer 5G. Read our review.
Apple AirPods Max over-ear headphones still aren’t in what’d I’d call “affordable” territory, though the price is getting cheaper week to week. At a retailer called Simply Mac, you can snag a set at $440 — the lowest price yet — by adding them to your cart and entering the code INSTA20 at checkout. Read our review.
Apple AirPods Max
Apple’s AirPods Max feature exemplary build quality, sound phenomenal, and keep up with the best at noise cancellation.
Nintendo’s Super Smash Bros. Ultimate for the Switch console is $46 today at Amazon. It has been this price before, but it’s worth alerting you to this deal, in case you’ve recently picked up a Switch. This is the latest version of the game, and it earns its namesake as the ultimate version of Smash Bros., with more characters, stages, and modes than any of its predecessors. Read our review.
Super Smash Bros. Ultimate
Nintendo’s latest brawler pits beloved characters from the company’s franchises (as well as plenty from outside of Nintendo’s own realms) against each other.
Much to our dismay, Sonos products rarely go on sale. However, if you happen to be a Costco member, you can purchase the Sonos Beam Shadow Edition for $370 either in-store or online. While not as immersive as the higher-priced Sonos Arc, the Beam is still a notable upgrade for listeners who still rely on their TV speakers, with excellent sound, a clean design, and support for Amazon Alexa, Google Assistant, and AirPlay 2. Costco’s so-called Shadow Edition is no different — the exterior is just dark gray instead of black or white. Read our review.
Sonos Beam Shadow Edition
The discounted Shadow Edition of the Sonos Beam is identical to the standard model, aside from the color. As such, it boasts great sound and serves as a competent smart speaker for your TV.
If you haven’t yet seen Minari, the brilliant 2021 film about a Korean-American family struggling to make a living while finding purpose and happiness in the Ozarks, you can rent it for just $1 for the next few days through myriad streaming services (it was recently $20 to rent, since it skipped theaters). Check it out in 4K UHD at Amazon Prime Video, Vudu, Apple iTunes, the Microsoft Store, and Google Play.
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Google's latest mesh WiFi system hits an all-time low for a three-pack
Families who are still largely working and studying at home might find that their WiFi network is feeling the strain, especially if someone's setup is far away from the router. If you're on the lookout for an upgrade, it may be worth considering the . A three-pack of nodes currently costs on Amazon. That's the lowest price we've seen to date on the most recent model, which at a price of $199 for the three-pack.
Buy Google WiFi (three-pack) at Amazon - $149
The idea behind a mesh system is that, after you set up the nodes around your home, they can work together to provide a stronger WiFi network across a larger area than many single routers are capable of. Google WiFi supports speeds of up to 1.2 Gbps, the company says. It claims a single point can support multiple simultaneous 4K video streams, though the size of your home, building materials and layout can impact signal strength.
The system uses WPA3 encryption and dual-band connectivity, as well as security updates and parental controls. You can manage the network using the Google Home app.
It's worth noting Google WiFi isn't quite as fast as the Nest WiFi system. Each node can cover up to 1,500 square feet, compared with 2,200 square feet for the Nest WiFi router and 1,600 square feet for each additional point. The latter also has a built-in Google Assistant smart speaker. A Nest WiFi three-pack costs $350, though. If you're in the market for a solid mesh system that won't break the bank, Google WiFi might do the trick.
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Clutching at him with her nails, she crawled her head on the pillow. The man accelerated and groaned in convulsions completely lay down on her. They lay until the big arrow showed ten o'clock in the morning. Not today, I might be late for the interview.