January 22, 2019 TECHNOLOGY

Product Note: Google Wifi Mesh Router

By Nicole Black
Courtesy of Google

Courtesy of Google

Reliable WiFi has quickly become something that we all expect and need, whether at work or at home. Sure, it’s a first-world problem, but it’s an important one now that access to the Internet is an integral part of our day-to-day lives.

So, when the router that I’d relied on for many years (the Apple AirPort Express) began to overheat a few months ago, I knew I needed a new, dependable router—and fast. I searched for a similar router from Apple and learned, much to my consternation, that it had been discontinued years ago. I needed to find a replacement, and I needed to find it right away.

After running a few searches, I discovered the Google Wifi mesh router. It seemed like a good choice, and after a bit of additional research and a few clicks of the mouse, I ordered a set of three. In no time flat, they were on their way to my home.

I’ve used this router system for two months now and wholeheartedly recommend it to anyone seeking an affordable, reliable router for their home or office. One of the best parts about the router is that, because of the mesh network, it has extensive reach. An added bonus: Setup was a breeze.

Setup

The router is controlled via your smartphone, so the first thing you need to do prior to setting it up is download the free Google Wifi app (available in iOS and Android). Next, you plug in your primary WiFi point.

The number of WiFi points that you use is determined by the size of your home or office. For a smaller space (500 to 1,500 square feet), you’ll need one WiFi point. For a medium-sized space (1,500 to 3,000 square feet), you’ll need two. And for a larger space (3,000 to 4,500 square feet), you’ll need three.

The first WiFi point is set up near your modem and a power source. Once you’ve plugged it in and connected it to your modem, you’ll need to follow the prompts on your phone to set it up. Using your phone, you’ll be prompted to scan the QR code of the first WiFi point and then provide additional information to complete the setup. Then you move on to the next WiFi point(s) and set those up in the same way.

Appropriate placement of your WiFi points will be determined by the size of your home and other factors. In my case, I chose to put one on each floor of our house, although the app recommends placement on a single floor for the best coverage. But after researching the issue online, I decided to put mine of separate floors given the footprint of our home.

Once you’ve set up the mesh network, you should have great coverage throughout your home or office. This was definitely the case for me. Prior to setting up the Google Wifi, I often had difficulty accessing WiFi from certain locations in our home, but after setting up Google Wifi, I was able to access the Internet no matter where I was.

Additional Features

But wait, there’s more! Not only does Google Wifi provide reliable, consistent Internet access—it also offers a number of other great features. For starters, you can prioritize a specific device right from your smartphone. This means that for the next hour, that device receives a faster Internet connection than any other device using the network. This is a great feature if you’re working from home and don’t want to compete with the video and audio streaming occurring on other family members’ devices.

Speaking of family members, there are also family controls built right into Google Wifi. These allow you to, among other things: (1) group devices with labels, such as “kids’ phones”; (2) pause WiFi access on demand for any given device or group; (3) schedule Internet timeouts for specific devices or groups; and (4) block chosen devices or groups from accessing millions of adult websites.

Pricing

With all these benefits and features, you might expect a large price tag. The good news is that’s not the case. Google Wifi is surprisingly affordable. The normal price is $129 for a 1-pack or $299 for a 3-pack, but at the time this article was written, they were on sale for $99 for a 1-pack or $249 for a 3-pack. So, if you’re in the market for a new WiFi router, don’t overlook the Google Wifi mesh router—it’s an affordable, feature-packed option that’s worth your consideration.

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Nicole Black is a Rochester, New York, attorney, author, journalist, and the Legal Technology Evangelist at MyCase legal practice management software. She is the nationally recognized author of Cloud Computing for Lawyers (2012) and co-authored Social Media for Lawyers: The Next Frontier (2010), both published by the American Bar Association. She also co-authored “Criminal Law in New York,” a Thomson West treatise. She writes regular columns for Above the Law, ABA Journal, and The Daily Record, has authored hundreds of articles for other publications, and regularly speaks at conferences regarding the intersection of law and emerging technologies. She is an ABA Legal Rebel and is listed on the Fastcase 50 and ABA LTRC Women in Legal Tech. She can be contacted at niki.black@mycase.com.