Google takes another crack at the reinventing the Wi-Fi router

Image: Google

Tucked into Google's Pixel announcement today, the tech giant previewed Google Wifi, its latest router alternative. Connecting the home or office via an expandable number of router points, Google intends to help users create a “mesh-style” network similar to Eero's solution.

Image: Google
The system is modular, with users able to add additional units to expand coverage into new areas. Google said its Network Assist software will automatically select the best connection behind the scenes, ensuring users are getting the fastest speeds.

“Network Assist keeps your network strong even as your roam about the house by intelligently transitioning you to the best Wi-Fi point and placing you on the right Wi-Fi channel to avoid congestion,” said Mario Queiroz, VP of product management at Google, during the announcement.

These types of Wi-Fi innovations remain something of a hypothetical threat to data demand. The more users that divert to fixed Wi-Fi points – and the correct style is “Wi-Fi,” despite Google's product name – the fewer remain connected to wireless connections.

But so far, the innovations haven't proven exceptionally disruptive. Google's last try at redefining the router – its $200 OnHub product – didn't accomplish much beyond proving a concept, and other innovations have yet to redefine the ecosystem.

Still, Google's offering represents a modestly priced contender from a big name, so it's something to keep an eye on. Each Google Wifi point costs $129, and a pack of three costs $300. That makes it significantly cheaper than Eero, its closest parallel, which retails at $200 or $500 for a three-pack.

Google didn't ditch the OnHub trial completely. The router's companion app, which allows users to monitor and control devices linked to the router, takes several cues from the direct control functionality OnHub provided.

The router is an 802.11ac device with 2.4 GHz and 5 GHz. It has 2x2 antennas, supporting beamforming, and has two gigabit Ethernet ports. It also packs some impressive processing power, with a quad core processor, 512 MB RAM and 4 GB flash.

For more:
- watch this Google preview video for Wifi

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