Android 8.1 feature finally addresses the public Wi-Fi speed lottery

Public Wi-Fi networks can be a true saviour. If you need to download an email attachment, make a video call or upload a photo to social media, those hotspots can be appear as a flowing ocean of connectivity in an otherwise barren dessert.

That is until you realise the connection is slower than a drunk tortoise on a steep, icy incline.

Thankfully, Google’s new Android 8.1 Oreo operating system (currently rolling out to Nexus and Pixel users), promises to bring an end to those false dawns.

Related: Android 8.1 features

While digging through the software, Android Police found new speed labels next to network IDs in the Wi-Fi settings.

They’re labeled, as slow, OK, fast and very fast. According to a Pixel User Community Manager that translates to:

Slow = 0 – 1 Mbps
OK = 1 Mbps – 5 Mbps
Fast = 5 Mbps – 20 Mbps
Very Fast = 20 Mbps+

Google’s support pages go into more detail, explaining what you should be able to achieve when connected to the respective network speeds:

Slow: You can make phone calls and send texts.
OK: You can read webpages, use social media, and stream music.
Fast: You can stream most videos.
Very Fast: You can stream very high-quality videos.

The addition will give Android users more insight into Wi-Fi quality beyond the normal signal strength. While useful it offers no indication as to whether users can expect reliable speeds.

Useful additions

The new feature is one of many useful additions within Android 8.1.

The update includes a battery indicator for connected Bluetooth devices, protection against malicious URLs within the web browser and an automatic disabling of the fingerprint sensor if unregistered digits attempt to gain access too many times.

Sadly, most Android users are still waiting for Android 8.0, let alone the updated version, which also fixes some annoying bugs.

Are you one of the privileged few running Android 8.1? Share your experience with us @TrustedReviews on Twitter.

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