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article imageGoogle launches a 'new kind' of reliable Wi-Fi router

By James Walker     Oct 5, 2016 in Technology
Google has unveiled a new Wi-Fi router that makes it easier to manage networking in homes. Google Wifi follows on from last year's OnHub router. It has an unobtrusive design that optimises signal strength and an intuitive mobile management interface.
Google Wifi was announced alongside the company's new Pixel and Pixel XL phones, Daydream View VR headset and Google Home smart speaker yesterday. As part of Google's "Made by Google" campaign, Wifi is one of the first hardware products from the company to be designed and built entirely in-house.
Last year, Google launched OnHub, a home-oriented Wi-Fi router focused on design and simplicity. Wi-Fi routers are used by billions of people to get online from mobile devices. They have a negative image associated with them though. The majority of consumers use poorly-built routers supplied by their service provider, offering mediocre signal strength and a confusing configuration site. OnHub sought to change that, creating an elegant router that’s easy to use.
Google Wifi is the next step in the company's mission. This time around, Google is focusing on further increasing the signal strength of the router. The chassis design amplifies the emitted signals, enabling them to penetrate further through walls and travel for longer distances. This helps to eliminate Wi-Fi dead zones in your home.
Google Wifi
Google Wifi
Google has also improved the handling of high-bandwidth activities. Google Wifi is resilient to demanding workloads, such as simultaneously managing streaming video from one user and online gaming by another. The system can easily be expanded with additional routers, enabling you to spread strong and fast Wi-Fi across the rooms of your home.
"Most of us get Wi-Fi in our homes through a centralized router, but using a single router to spread signal throughout your whole home is like expecting one light bulb to light up every room," said Google. "Walls and distance make it difficult for a single device to send a strong signal to every corner of your home, resulting in slow Wi-Fi and dead zones."
Google Wifi is able to take responsibility for its own management, helping home users who aren’t particularly technically savvy. Its built-in Network Assist technology runs automatically behind the scenes, intelligently choosing the best Wi-Fi channel and band for your device. As you go to different rooms in your home, Network Assist will seamlessly transition your connection to the closest router, helping you stay online and avoid network drop-outs.
Google Wifi
Google Wifi
Google has replaced the clunky web interface of typical Wi-Fi routers with an easy-to-use mobile app. It enables you to take more control over the router's operation within a minimal interface. You can view the number of connected devices, how much bandwidth each is using and whether router updates are available. There's also robust parental management tools that let you temporarily disconnect devices, set access rules or prioritise network traffic to different devices. This allows you to prevent one user from consuming all the bandwidth.
Google Wifi will be available to pre-order in the U.S. from November. It will retail at $129, a reasonable price for a high-end router. More traditional offerings are available for considerably less though. Google hopes that Wifi's ease of use and unobtrusive design will make it popular with consumers. Three-packs of devices will be offered for $299, letting you cover your home with dependable Wi-Fi.
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