We know what it’s like. You get home after a hard day, slump on the sofa and fire up Netflix to watch whatever new show everyone’s been banging on about at work.
Except you can’t, because your family’s all streaming YouTube videos, or your housemate’s BitTorrenting what seems like the entire internet, or the wireless signal’s just not strong enough to reach from your office to your living room.
Google’s new wireless routers aim to take the pain out of home networking and come with a range of internet smarts. Here’s what you need to know about them.
GOOGLE WANTS YOU TO BUY A FEW OF THESE THINGS
If you’re paying $1500 a month for a tiny unit in Sydney, you probably only need one Google Wifi router, which will set you back $US129. But if you’re lording it up in your country mansion, you’ll probably want to check out the three-pack, which will cover your home in one giant Wi-Fi blanket for $US299.
You need to position your devices so that they cover all the nooks and crannies at the house’s extremities, but it looks like Google’s app will help with the setup process.
GOOGLE WILL MAKE SURE YOU CAN ALWAYS WATCH THAT CAT VIDEO ON YOUTUBE
Google reckons it knows a thing or two about internet traffic, which is probably true – when its services temporarily went down a few years ago, global internet traffic dropped 40 per cent.
Using its expertise, Google’s going to be managing all of the tech inside the router, making sure that all of your devices get served with all the ones and zeroes they’re greedily requesting.
This includes beamforming technology, support for Bluetooth Smart, automatic channel management and all other traffic routing. Nerd stuff, basically.
THE ONE WITH THE COMPANION APP CONTROLS ALL
If, like most people, you’d rather have a solid internet connection than food or clean water, then you’re going to want admin privileges for Google Wifi.
Using the app, you can cut anyone off whenever you like. It’s clearly meant for parents and their kids, when you just need them to sit down, eat some food and stop playing Pokémon Go for a couple of minutes – unless they’re about to catch a Dragonite, in which case, cut them some slack.
IT’S RELATIVELY FAST, IF NOT THE FASTEST
If you’re shifting a lot of data between devices over wireless at home (and boy, do you know how to party), then Google Wifi may not be for you.
Its AC1200 wireless speeds are fast enough for 4K video streaming, but there are faster routers out there for less money. The Netgear R6400 (above, obvs) is one of our favourite routers and offers AC1750 speeds.
BUT, CRUCIALLY, IT DOESN’T LOOK LIKE A WIRELESS ROUTER
Take a look at the Netgear, though, and you’ll see it’s an antenna-stuffed black box that even a hardcore gamer would keep out of sight because it’s too ugly.
Google Wifi, meanwhile, is a sleek white puck, designed to look inconspicuous in a bedroom or even a kitchen. We’d even go so far as calling it the best-looking router we’ve seen to date.
Google Wifi goes on pre-order in November in the US, and is released in December. There’s no international pricing or release info at this stage (boooo), but we’ll let you know if and when that changes.
We’re yet to review it, but in the market of mesh-based home routers, Google’s option is the most keenly-priced and sleek offerings yet.
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