Today we’re looking at the Google WiFi System (Google Whole Home WiFi Coverage)
My wife and I live in a fairly old house. Our old doorbell wiring didn’t work at all when we bought the house, so we “upgraded” at the time to a wireless doorbell system. And the wireless doorbell system served us well for many years.
Wireless Doorbells are simple little systems you can pick up at Big Box Hardware stores and from Amazon. You essentially mount a small wireless, battery-operated doorbell near your front door, and larger battery-operated wireless/chime receiver inside your house that plays a chime when someone rings your doorbell. These actually work great if that is all you need.
We recently discovered that the Ring Doorbell Company was making Wireless Video Doorbells that worked with Amazon’s Echo Devices. You essentially mount the Ring battery-operated video doorbell near your front door, and if someone rings the doorbell, Alexa will announce to you that someone is at your door. If you have multiple Amazon Echo Devices, they all announce that someone is at your door. Ring also streams the video to your cell phone.
After having some bizarre package delivery incidents, we decided to upgrade to the new Ring Video Doorbell 2 wireless system. The Ring Video Doorbell was actually simple and easy install, and the software worked great with Alexa. I highly recommend this to anyone looking for a new doorbell solution. (I’ll do a review on the Ring Video Doorbell 2 in the near future).
We have a tri-level house, and our existing home WiFi was pretty good inside the house. We had our WiFi router centrally located where we could stream to several devices in different rooms. We had a nice Asus Dual Band Wireless N Gaming Router, but our front door was actually pretty far away from the router. The WiFi signal was weak near the front of the house, so I looked into improving my WiFi coverage.
The Wi-Fi Alliance
I didn’t realise that WiFi had improved quite a bit since I originally bought that gaming router in 2013. I found out there was actually a Wi-Fi Alliance, and the Wi-Fi Alliance recently started using a WiFi Naming System to identify WiFi generations:
- Wi-Fi 6 to identify devices that support 802.11ax technology 2019)
- Wi-Fi 5 to identify devices that support 802.11ac technology (2013)
- Wi-Fi 4 to identify devices that support 802.11n technology (2007)
All these newer WiFi systems are backwards compatible. So if you decide to upgrade to WiFi 6, most your older existing devices (PS4, Cell Phone, Smart Thermostats) should all still connect just fine.
I guess WiFi 1, 2 and 3 were for Wireless A (1999), Wireless B (2000) and Wireless G (2003)? My Asus Wireless N Gaming Router was identified as WiFi 4.
At first, I started shopping for Wi-Fi 6 Routers. A lot of reviewers and users really like the Netgear Nighthawk, but I wasn’t sure if that Single Router Wifi Network would work well in my split-level (tri-level) house. I’m sure it would have been a nice improvement over my WiFi 4 router! After researching various reviews about networking in multi-level houses, many people suggested upgrading to a Mesh Network.
A mesh network is a group of routers that communicate wirelessly with each other to create a single WiFi network that provides an umbrella of network connectivity. This allows you to have multiple sources of strong WiFi throughout your home, instead of just a solo router.
Since I have a multi-story house, I decided to buy a mesh network. However, at the time I was looking to purchase, there weren’t really any WiFi 6 Mesh Networks. And many people think that WiFi 6 Routers are currently overkill and overpriced. I decided I would buy a WiFi 5 Mesh Network as a good balance of speed, whole-house coverage, and cost consciousness.
There are a several popular WiFi 5 Mesh Networks available on the market. I opted to purchase the Google WiFi system – a 3-Pack Mesh Network. The reviews were great, the pucks were small and my wife liked the looks of the Google WiFi System the best. Each puck is only about 4″ wide and only about 2-1/2 inch tall.
Each Google Puck 2 Gigabit Ethernet ports per Wifi (1 WAN and 1 LAN port each). So you can directly plug in a Network Printer, Smart TV or Gaming system.
Google Wifi Setup
Set up is very easy. You plug one Puck Router into an electrical outlet. You also plug into your Internet Source. For me, this was from my Comcast modem. You Download and Open the “Google WiFi” app and follow some simple steps and your WiFi is live very quickly.
Then I placed my 2 other pucks on the other 2 levels of my house, so I had one puck on each of the 3 levels of my split level house. The entire set up was done in less than 15 minutes, and it was painless.
I had no problem connecting any of my old gaming systems, TV’s or cell phones to the Google Mesh Network either.
Actual WiFi Speed Test Results – Before and After the Google WiFi System
Let me show you some actual “Before and After” WiFi speed test results from my Samsung Galaxy Cell Phone to show you the huge difference this upgrade made for me. I live near Chicago, and have Comcast XFinity. We have pretty fast internet speeds around here.
Before refers to My Old Asus WiFi 4 Gaming Router, and After refers to the new WiFi 5 Google Mesh Network
Living Room – Near my old Router – This was the area closest to my old router. I had been getting 81.6 Mbps download near my gaming area which was fine for gaming and streaming 4K from Netflix. After installing the Google Mesh Network, my WiFi speed nearly tripled. My download speed jumped to 235 Mbps
Front Door Area, by the Ring Wireless Doorbell – This was the area that was most finicky for me before the change. Streaming video from the Ring doorbell wasn’t exactly stellar. These reading were taken outside my house, near the front door. My download speed jumped 233%, and my upload speed jumped 157%. This actually made a huge different for streaming video from the Ring Doorbell.
3rd Level Bedroom – One last speed test from the upper level Master Bedroom in my split level house. My download speed on the top floor actually quadrupled!
I am extremely happy with the Google WiFi System. The pucks are small, unobtrusive and work well. I waited a few months to write this review, and I have had zero problems since the initial set-up. My speeds obviously improved, and the Ring Doorbell streaming has been fantastic.
If you have a small single story dwelling, you might be fine with a single WiFi 5 router, (or a newer single WiFi 6 router if you want some future proofing). But if you have a larger house, or a multi-level house, I highly recommend this Google Mesh Network. Google WiFi is very simple to install, and works wonderful. And if you have a really large house, you can even add more pucks to your system to increase your coverage.
One of the only downsides I have found over my previous Asus Gaming Router, is that my Gaming Router had 4 ethernet ports to directly things like gaming systems and smart TV. The Google WiFi only has one. If you want more ethernet ports, you might want to pick up and inexpensive Ethernet Network Switch.