We have had quite the journey with our home internet over the years. From Bell to Rogers, back to Bell and over to TekSavvy, then back to Bell again — all in the name of consistent wireless WiFi at the best possible price.
We’ve moved our modem between three locations throughout our home trying to achieve Internet nirvana.
We’ve waffled between going with the best price and customer service with TekSavvy versus the stability and broader range provided by Bell. There has never really been a clear-cut answer.
But maybe that could all be settled thanks to Google WiFi.
Google WiFi creates what’s called a “mesh network” throughout your home as more of the units are plugged in and connected. That means that they essentially talk to each other to prevent interruption and ensure that you get the strongest WiFi connection available no matter where you are in your home. Those dead spots or rooms with slower speeds, in our experience, improve dramatically (or completely disappear) when you set up your mesh network just right.
It won’t take long to figure out how many units you need — just walk around your house or yard and run testing on the free app you use during set-up. We started with one unit (plugged into our Bell box in the basement) and this provided coverage about equal to our Bell router. Then we added a second unit on our main floor, and while this improved coverage somewhat in our backyard and garage, it made little difference elsewhere. So we added a third Google Wifi point in our master bedroom. For our 2,200-square foot home (that is probably closer to 3,000 feet of living space when you factor in our finished basement), three was the right number. We went from “good” connection to “great” at a speed of 31 Mbps — considered “pretty quick.” Enough to stream in 4k. And that’s for eight connected devices.
Speaking of the app, it’s exceedingly intuitive. We did the full set-up without ever looking at the manual, using only the app for a bit of guidance. This is idiot-proof.
Since introducing Google WiFi’s mesh network in our home, we can use our bluetooth speaker at the very back of our yard no problem and stream TV shows and movies without issue both on the bottom and top floors of our home. Before, during peak hours, we’d get a lot of thinking time when streaming. Not anymore.
The overall aesthetic of the unit itself is really nice. Very minimalist and it blends easily with all of the different decor in our house, which ranges from contemporary to transitional to farmhouse chic.
You can set up a guest network if you’d rather not hand out your personal WiFi password. This is a cool feature, and while it’s not one that we’d bother to use, I can see why it would be handy and provide peace-of-mind for some. Off the top of my head, I’d think those who list their spaces on something like a home swap or AirBnB would really appreciate an option like this.
There’s also a “pause” option that I can create to control how much time my kids are spending on WiFi-enabled devices. Admittedly, since it’s summer and we’re out much more than we’re in, I haven’t tried this yet — but I like that it’s there.
Google WiFi does not come without an investment. A single WiFi unit costs $179.99 and a three-pack, which the average suburban home owner would need, will set you back $439.99. It is, however, important to note that this is on par (or cheaper) than other mesh network options from other brands.
The plugs themselves stick out of the wall A LOT. So much that we can’t put one behind a dresser in our bedroom without the dresser looking strangely far from the wall. Google really needs to address this as so many plugs are placed in people’s homes where furniture will need to go. Seems like an easy design fix to me.
For whatever reason, we can’t fully unplug our Bell router because it means we lose access to our Fibe TV. The good news is that the box accepts two ethernet cables, so we just moved all of our devices over to our Google WiFi. This isn’t really a gaffe but it was confusing at first because this was supposed to replace not complement our router.
Win 1 of 2 Google Wifi units!
Two separate prizes of a single Google Wifi unit are up for grabs. Age of majority Canadians only, excluding Quebec. Prize has no cash value. By accepting prizes, winners agree to release Google, Mommy Gearest and all affiliates and agencies from any and all liability. Winners understand they must provide full mailing addresses and phone numbers for shipping purposes to a third party for prize facilitation. Contest closes Aug. 20, 2017 as indicated in the widget.