By Jayvee Fernandez
So Google Wifi was recently launched in the Philippines. No I’m not talking about Google Fiber Internet. I’m referring to the Wifi device that makes setting up a home (or office) WiFi system better. Have you ever been to an airport or huge shopping mall and the Internet WiFi connection follows you wherever you go, from the first floor to the movie theatre without breaking signal? This is the power of mesh technology, which is the main selling point of the Google WiFi device.
I have to admit that Google Wifi is extremely easy to set up.
Google made their hardware easy to set up because everything is done via a smartphone app on Android or iOS. Download the app, follow the on-screen instructions (“how many WiFi units do you want to connect?”) and scan the QR code on each WiFi device to pair it with your account. Note that Google WiFi uses your Google Account, which is pretty much ubiquitous nowadays.
It took me less than 10 minutes to daisy-chain 2 WiFi units (dining room and home office room) but I had trouble setting up the third unit in the second floor. As it turns out, I had to “cheat” and bring the unit downstairs to make sure it was as close as possible to the router so as to avoid interference. I placed it upstairs again after pairing.
Google Wifi is for homes that need to fix dead Wifi spots
This is really the main reason why you would want a mesh system for your home. If you live in a two floor home, your second floor will usually lack signal. If you live in a sprawling bungalow, your router will usually be located at the middle of the house and signal tends to taper by the fringes. Typical solutions to this would be to buy WiFi range extenders, which really work fine to be perfectly honest. But setting these up can be a chore for those who are not technologically gifted. Google WiFi can actually be bought in a bundle of 3 units (or more if you really have a huge home) so you don’t have to worry about dead spots.
It is a great overall home solution but may not be the best performance option for online gaming on a PC or console
This is where it gets tricky. When I first set up the 3 Google Wifi units, I disconnected my default home set up to see if I can get better speeds. I have to note that I use a Powerline connection because my gaming PC is a room away from the router. The Powerline adapter converts the electric wiring of my home into a sort of long ethernet cable so technically speaking I am plugged via ethernet. The adapter acts like some sort of Nydus canal (hehe) to my router. However, it is important to note that Google Wifi comes with two ethernet ports, which allow you to plug up to two wired devices.
This is my home mesh set up:
Jayvee’s Home Mesh Network
Router / Primary Google WifI device with ethernet cable connecting to Android TV
Google Wifi device at the second floor
Google Wifi device inside the home office
Powerline Adapter that connects to gaming PC and CCTV network
So as you can see, the beauty of Google Wifi is that it can work in tandem with some third party brands. I just had to make sure that my family TV and gaming PC are connected via ethernet to avoid the WiFi interference since I live in a residential area with many other signals.
It makes it easy to set parental controls and create guest accounts
Logging into the backend of your router can be a challenge for most casual users. Everything can be done in the app. Google Wifi allows you to easily create Guest WiFi connections and even set “family time” parental controls by shutting off the WiFi when your kids are watching too much YouTube. Because everything is done via the app, this can be done remotely. So you can monitor your kids even when you’re out of the house.
The companion app makes it easy to troubleshoot your home Wifi system
Again, I have to stress the beauty of the app. In the past, I would just set up my Wifi and forget about it — then complain when something wrong happens. Now, Google Wifi monitors the overall health of your Wifi system. It can tell you when Internet goes down (therefore an ISP problem), or if the problem is on my end (the mesh network gets severed, the physical location of the Wifi unit is not optimized for speed, etc). It also tells you which devices are connected to your mesh network, allowing you to prioritize devices (for instance if you are streaming video or downloading) or to kick out someone from the network. It even updates the firmware and tells you what the new features are. These are honestly the “boring” things made more interesting because all the information goes to my phone.
In the Philippines, Google has partnered with PLDT Home Fibr, selling Google Wifi as a bundle. Existing Fibr subscribers can upgrade to Google WiFi as well. For more details check out https://pldthome.com/wholehomewifi.