7 Multi-room wifi systems tested: a hot mesh

Mesh is nice when it works, but no universal solution


Google Home Wifi

Google's mesh-enabled consumer solution was launched in the United States at the end of 2016, where we had to wait a year longer in the Netherlands. A complete set consisting of three nodes costs you on average 306 pounds / 349 euros, while for a separate unit you pay an average of 122 pounds / 139 euros according to our Price Comparisoner. Google Home Wifi is a dual-band system that falls under the AC1200 class. The system has a combined Wi-Fi speed of 1167 Mbit/s, distributed over 300 Mbit/s at 2.4 GHz and 867 Mbit/s at 5 GHz.

Google Home Wifi keeps it affordable, but does not convince on every level.

With the design of its Home Wifi system, Google is clearly following the trend that governs the mesh market: homely products are its trump card. A node from Google looks pretty neutral. The round units are white in color with a subdued gray G on top and a thin LED-light stripe that runs almost over the entire side. Between the ends of this line we find the only physical button, which is barely noticeable and performs a factory reset when pressed for a long time.

On the bottom of the node there are two gigabit ports, a dedicated LAN and WAN connection. Between the two ports there is space for a USB-C connection to which the power supply can be connected. In addition to the textual network credentials, we also find a QR code that you can use to quickly connect to the network. Once again the nodes are interchangeable and therefore cannot be distinguished from each other in function or form.

Google's underlying vision of its mesh system is clear: accessibility is the most important focus. It is therefore particularly aimed at users who have generally have little knowledge about networks and who simply want to create a functioning Wi-Fi network. The downside of the accessibility that Google aims for is that the possibilities for setting up this router are somewhat limited.

Operation takes place through an app - there is no web interface - and a Google account is required for use. Notwithstanding Google's promise to not track surfing behaviour or display advertisements, we are not happy about that. Although the app interface does not offer as many possibilities as, for example, those of ASUS, it does look nice and is user-friendly. There is also support for multiple languages.   

Then on to the performance of Google Wifi. The results are quite mixed. The mesh system of the American internet giant places last of the test field in four tests. On the other hand, it also takes the gold medal once (laptop 1 to node 1) as well as bronze when we measure the speed of the connection from laptop 2 to node 1 and node 1 to laptop 1. Considering the fact that Google Wifi does not offer a wireless dedicated backhaul and does not cost a lot of money, the performance is certainly not bad, but it is not hugely impressive either.

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