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Google Wifi comes to Canada to improve unreliable wireless signals

Google Wifi is now available in Canada, as a single unit for $179 and three-pack mesh combo for a cool $439.

That's a steep premium over the U.S. price of $129 and $299 respectively, and even at the latest exchange rate includes quite a bit of a premium. Still, Google Wifi is a very good router setup, evolved from Google's own OnHub program that it worked with Asus and TP-Link to develop.

Google Wifi simplifies the router setup experience dramatically, using your smartphone as the primary administrative hub and performing updates silently in the background to ensure that speeds stay fast and coverage stays reliable. On its own, Google Wifi provides a moderate amount of coverage for an apartment or small home, but it's when one combines the units together — it supports two or three "pucks" for a mesh setup — that things get really interesting.

Instead of using a repeater, which merely captures the signal from the main router and tries to amplify it, Google Wifi uses mesh technology to seamlessly spread signal evenly around the house so speeds stay constant, and there are no nasty drop-off points in remote corners. Here's what Jerry Hildenbrand said in his review:

I heartily recommend Google Wifi to anyone looking for a way to cover their whole house with a network connection. But I also can recommend the Amplifi system and have plans to look at what Eero and Luma have to offer. I can't say one is any better than the other, but I can tell you that each is a good choice. This is a good place to be, where we have a choice of products that work the way we expect them to work. If you're deeply tied into the Google ecosystem, go with Google Wifi for a multi-device setup. You'll like the On.Here integration for connected devices, and the Zigbee and BLE radios mean more functionality may be coming, though we heard that before with OnHub and it didn't materialize.If you just need one Wi-Fi router and want something expandable (and pretty cool to use through the app) definitely go with Google Wifi here. The price is comparable to any good Wi-Fi router and you'll appreciate both the network performance and ease of use.

Jerry refers to other mesh router products, such as Amplifi, Luma and eero, but none of them are available in Canada. Google Wifi's biggest competitor is Netgear's Orbi system (opens in new tab), which for $499.99 comes with a base unit and a single satellite, but its units have much larger antennas and have generally received glowing reviews from the rest of the industry.

Google Wifi is available April 28 from the Google Store, Best Buy, Staples Canada and Walmart.

See at Google Store (opens in new tab)

Daniel Bader was a former Android Central Editor-in-Chief and Executive Editor for iMore and Windows Central. 

  • Also, FYI Best Buy is charging $499 CAD for the 3-pack (while it's $439 CAD on the Google Store)
  • Add tax and the price difference is not that far off, probably save yourself 40$ (3 pack) getting it from Merica
  • Things to be aware of with Google WiFi: 1) wired devices, like printers, NAS boxes, other computers, that you might have around the house will be inaccessible to your WiFi devices once you install Google WiFi. Google WiFi sets up a separate subnet on a IP range that you can't change. 2) To get around #1, you have to run all wired devices via an external switch (you probably already have one in house) which connects to the second cat5 port on the Google WiFi puck. 3) you have to re-IP your entire network. No way to set up your net wifi system to the same IP you had before. A moderate pain if you had punched holes through your firewall for specific things from outside your home. All your IP address reservations need to be moved to the Google WiFi. 4) keep those addresses handy because​ you may have to re-enter them if the puck loses power. 5) in house DNS server? Forget about that. The DNS server built into Google WiFi filters DNS responses that terminate on its in-house network. Luckily this isn't all that common in the home environment. On the plus side you do get booming fast wifi all over the house. Even in the neighbors house. Those neighbors will hate you because your Google WiFi puckes will be saturating​ all the wifi channels, on both 2.4 and 5ghz bands. Check that out with Wifi Analyzer in the play store.
  • My GWF always seem to be on the same channel. Maybe they're spaced far enough apart that it doesn't matter.
  • It looks like it, but You will find that it occupies many channels at the same time. (This isn't unique to Google Wifi, but GWF does it way more than others I've tested). Go to the market. Download the free Wifi Analyzer app. Switch to the screen that shows the Wifi Networks, and the horizontal green signal strength bar graphs.
    Your router will be at the top because its close. Notice it says CH ... (Instead of a channel number) right next to the wifi symbol. Tap that. You will now see the signal strength of each Puck, (broken out by MAC address). It will list the channels that puck is using.
    On 5G they tend to run all on the same channel, but on 2.4g they spread out and occupy all the non-overlapping channels. Note: with different WIFI tools, you will find that the Pucks create channels between themselves that do not broadcast their name (BSSID). You can't connect to those, it just rejects any attempt to do so, i'm not complaining mind you. Like I say, this solved ALL the wifi problems in my house. If there were Google Wifi owners in the houses close to me I might not be so happy.
  • Good info, will play with this when I get home. The only screen I've used much is the one with the curves mapped out.
  • BSSID is not the name, you're thinking of (E)SSID. BSSID is often called Wifi MAC.
  • Anybody who buys GWF be sure to replace the provided Ethernet cable with your own Cat6 cable. For whatever reason, the Google supplied cable leads to some unexplainable latency and is a known issue in the GWF forum. It went away when I made that change.
  • It would've been better if you'd posted actual numbers as to how much latency was introduced. Cables should give less than a microsecond, and if there's more then I'd suspect error correction or some other form of retries.
  • Of course. I get sick of waiting and order a second Asus OnHub to enable mesh in my home and the next day Google finally remembers their neighbours to the north.
  • @badmonkey: They inter-operate. You can order a single puck and mix and match OnHubs with GWF.
    (I'd actually recommend this).
  • I learned last week that for some reason the OnHub has to be the main point and the GWF points have to be the satellites. Kind of a pain if you already have a GWF network established. Took a half hour or so to factory reset them all.
  • Don't understand this. I bought mine from Google right when they came out months ago. I'm in BC, Canada.
    I've generally had a good experience with it (I have a 3-unit setup) although I am suffering from the random net dropout problem that seems to be going around. Google tech support are being quite helpful!
    Would love to see a serious comparison test of all the recent crop of consumer mesh systems.