By Ryan Whitwam.
While Apple is getting out of the router business, Google is doubling down. Or maybe tripling down, if you really buy into mesh networking.
Google WiFi is set to ship in the next few weeks, and a third-party test of Google’s new wireless solution shows it clobbering other mesh networking systems.
Google WiFi is not Mountain View’s first attempt at selling a consumer router. In fact, the last one wasn’t even very long ago. Just over a year ago Google released the OnHub router. This device was billed as a hub for smart home devices with easier setup and slick management via a mobile app. Although, after numerous updates the OnHub has virtually no smart home features and even basic things like network attached storage don’t work.
Google says the the OnHub isn’t dead, but Google WiFi is clearly the direction the company wants to go. You can get a single 802.11ac router for $129, but the magic comes into play when you have more than one to form a mesh network in your home. A three-pack clocks in at $299, which should be enough to cover a 4,500 square foot home. As you move around the house, Google WiFi and similar mesh routers can shift your connection to different nodes to keep your speeds as high as possible.
The test performed by Allion USA didn’t make use of three routers. It used two routers in a typical 3,000 square foot home, split into two levels with one router on each. They tested Google WiFi, Eero, and Luma in the same environment. The results were very kind to Google’s product.
According to Allion USA, Google WiFi was 75% faster than Eero and twice as fast as Luma in the living room. This was a centralized location with good access to the signal, but Google WiFi fared even better at the periphery of the network. In an upstairs bedroom on the opposite side of the house from the router, Google WiFi was about 10% faster than Luma and a whopping five times faster than Eero. When in close proximity to the router, Google WiFi still won out with at least 20% faster speeds.
These tests were done independently by Allion USA, but in cooperation with Google. Not to imply there’s anything untoward going on here, but Google probably wouldn’t have told us anything about the test if Google WiFi hadn’t won handily. Google WiFi is available for pre-order right now at the Google Store, Amazon, and more. The shipping date is currently listed as December 5th.