Google Wifi, the mesh router that Google unveiled first last October, is now on sale in Canada. The router sells either individually for $179 CDN, or in a 3-pack for $439 CDN, which is pretty close to U.S. pricing given current exchange rates. The Wifi solution’s mesh networking approach means it can seamlessly pair with other units to extend coverage throughout a house, without sacrificing signal strength, and while also handing off connections from one device to the next with such smooth transitions that you won’t notice the change even if you’re on a VOIP call when it happens.
The Wifi router does indeed provide strong coverage, based on my short tests, but the most interesting thing for users who might not necessarily need improved coverage is that it also comes with a companion mobile app, which makes it incredibly easy to manage tasks that typically aren’t all that user-friendly when it comes to home networking solutions.
The app lets you do things like prioritize certain devices for when there isn’t enough bandwidth to go around, see exactly what devices are connected, toggle and schedule access for specific devices and groups of devices, designate others as network managers and more. Google’s industrial design means these puck-like little cylinders won’t ruin your home decor if you place them around your house, rather than hidden away, which is basically the worst thing you can do if you’re hoping for good, consistent and far-ranging Wi-Fi coverage.
Unlike with other home networking devices you may have used that offer dual-band, Google Wifi won’t make you pick one band (either 2.4GHz or 5GHz) among two separate networks. The idea is you never think about what you’re connecting to what, but the result is just that your devices are always getting the best possible speeds available given network conditions. Google sorts this out using its own machine learning algorithms, which are actually also predictive – meaning they can anticipate upcoming busy times on certain bands and adjust connections in anticipation so you don’t encounter any problems.
If UX and network quality aren’t reason enough (and the fact that competitor Eero doesn’t currently sell to Canada directly), then there’s another reason Canadians should take note of Wifi’s launch: Canadians helped build it in a big way. Every aspect of the tech, from hardware, to software, to the companion app, was worked on to a “significant” degree by Google’s engineering team in Waterloo. Wifi goes on sale today at the Google Store online, as well as at Best Buy Canada, Staples Canada and Walmart Canada, and Google says more retailers will follow.