Google has made wireless internet cool with its new Wi-Fi router.
Announced today at the firm’s Made By Google event, the new router looks to be one of the simplest wireless devices to set up, and offers a host of features that’ll make large home Wi-Fi networks easier to manage.
Related: Best Wi-Fi range extenders
Google WiFi operates on a mesh network. It's the same tech that's used when you connect to a hotel's Wi-Fi network and don't lose connectivity whether you're in the lobby or in your room. It's that, but on a smaller scale.
What this means is that however many Google WiFis you have, the network will intelligently adapt which Wi-Fi channels are currently operating at best performance and ensure you’re always connected to the router that’s providing you the best signal. Google calls this Network Assist.
You can buy the routers individually or in packs of three. They cost $129 separately or $299 for all three. Right now it looks like you can only use a maximum of three simultaneously, and this will cover a house up to 4,500 square feet in size.
The router uses 802.11ac W-Fi with a maximum throughput of 1200MB/s split between the 5GHz and 2.4GHz bands. Each router will get two gigabit Ethernet ports, which is two fewer than even the cheapest routers you can buy today.
Google has also added an Android app that lets you manage individual routers. In the rather heavy-handed parenting example shown on stage, the company suggested you might want to hit “pause” on a device or group of devices so your kids will stop binging on PewDiePie and come downstairs and eat their dinner so the family can just have ONE NICE MEAL TOGETHER, JUST THIS ONCE. Ahem.
It looks like a nifty implementation although, to be fair, other Wi-Fi router companies have had similar features and apps for a while. Google just appears to be better at showing them off.
It’s a very pretty little box, and you can add multiple routers to your network with minimal fuss. There aren’t any external antennae, so let’s hope that plastic shroud isn’t too thick.
Interestingly, the company has also made it easy for guests to fiddle with your connected smart home gadgets, with a page found at http://on.here available locally that lets you control gadgets such as Nest thermostats and Philips Hue light bulbs.
There's also '24/7' live support from Google technical assistants.
Pre-orders start in November, for shipments in December. Oh, and it's not coming to the UK right now but Google "hopes" to grace us with it in the future. Bear in mind that that last year's OnHub never arrived here either, so don't hold your breath.