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Google Wifi makes managing more than one network easy

There have been many good words praising Google Wifi and Google OnHub. Most of them center around how easy it is to set up a full-house Wi-Fi network and how taking away the confusion makes keeping one running well something anyone can do. They're all true, and for anyone who just wants fast Wi-Fi everywhere in their house and has no need for advanced features and settings, Google Wifi is a perfect fit.

Fewer words have been written or spoken about the Google Wifi app. It's an integral part of the experience and the friendly wording and simple tools will help you make the most out of your new network even after you've set it up. And everything that's great here also applies if you have more than one network running.

Your cloud meets Google's

When you set up a Google Wifi network — whether using the new mesh routers or a Google OnHub router with the latest software — you sign in with your Google account. All your settings and information are backed up not only on the device firmware but as data inside your online cloud on a server somewhere that Google has set up to hold our data.

Having an online account is trading convenience for privacy. But sometimes it's worth it.

This can be a bit off-putting, and there are legitimate concerns about giving so much data to one company. I have them, too. We all should. But Google has been shown to value our privacy almost as much as we do and gaffes have been minor and few in number. So far. While it's fine to be a little uncomfortable about it, there's no denying that a lot of value is to be had from this arrangement.

One great way to see that value is if you need to setup and manage more than one Google Wifi network. Each is part of your Google account, and that means you can make any adjustments or new settings from anywhere with a data connection — even if that connection isn't part of a Google Wifi network.

I have a Google Wifi network at my house. It consists of three Google Wifi mesh routers and an ASUS OnHub router using the latest software to merge it into the mesh. I can control who has access and what priority any devices on the network have, manage a guest network and even turn on my Hue lights. I can do this from anywhere right through my phone. I can even set someone else as a trusted person to manage my Google Wifi network.

Google Wifi lets me keep mom and dad's network in tip-top shape instead of a cable company technician.

My parents needed a good router for their place so I picked them up a TP-Link OnHub router a while back. Mom and dad are pretty smart folks, but hooking up a cable modem and Wi-Fi router isn't something they felt comfortable with. I set it up for them and used my Google account in the process. They have reliable and fast Wi-Fi all through their house (and in dad's workshop thanks to the TP Link's forward firing antennae) and I can make sure it stays that way without a long trip. They both are able to do the things they like to do online and don't have to worry about any type of maintenance to keep their network running smoothly.

The best part of it all is that I didn't have to do anything special to enable remote administration or open any ports or anything else. It just works because it was designed to just work this way. This is a small thing, but it's an important thing for those who need it. Without it, my parents would be at the mercy of the cable company when it comes to equipment and service. Instead, they have me. That makes it one of the best features of Google Wifi for our family.

Jerry Hildenbrand
Jerry Hildenbrand

Jerry is an amateur woodworker and struggling shade tree mechanic. There's nothing he can't take apart, but many things he can't reassemble. You'll find him writing and speaking his loud opinion on Android Central and occasionally on Twitter.

21 Comments
  • i love my OnHub, but this is exactly why I'm getting a 3 pack of Google Wi-Fi, so I can setup my mom's house, and be able to address minor issues with the app as needed
  • Great explanation. Have heard great things about onhub and Google Wi-Fi.
  • I tried to order Google WiFi back in early December and have been on wait list ever since. Amazon is also giving me about a two month lead time unless I pay a big premium to another seller. I guess nothing different when you consider the Pixel XL shortage. How long did you wait for your Google WiFi?
  • Hey I just wanted to say I have a similar situation. I have a network at my Grandparents and one at home. I had to use different Gmail accounts though. How did you manage to get both under one account?
  • I picked mine up due to a an article on DroidLife saying they were back in stock for a limited time last December. The problem with the wait list is that until they're in stock for a significant amount of time, the notification from the wait list is useless. I'd use an app in the Playstore called Store Stock Checker. It gives you real time updates on what is and isn't in stock, and it has tabs on the top for Phones, Home, VR, Streaming Devices, and Tablets. It's what I used to get my 6p when stock was erratic after launch. I completely forgot about it but if I hadn't I would've had the Google WiFi 3 pack much sooner. So give it a shot, it can't hurt, although it does pretty much send notifications of everything, so most of them you won't care about.
  • I haven't gotten a single notification from the waitlist. Has anyone?
  • I signed up for it as well and never got a notification, that's why I suggested the Store Stock Checker app. When I got my 6p, I used it to get one because I'd heard they'd been in stock a few times yet I never got a notification. After that it took a few days and I got one. Then, a couple weeks later I got a notification from the wait list, but by that time they had quite a bit of stock. It seems like the wait list doesn't notify anyone until it's in stock for a certain length of time. So my advice is to get the app, notifications show up right on your phone like you get from eBay apps. Saves a lot of headaches.
  • Or, if you were the 3,000th person to sign-up on the waiting list, and they received 1,000 items, they notified the first 1,000-or-so people so they don't get a huge influx of people trying to score said item, just to be turned away again.
  • Then it makes even more sense to use the app, unless you want to wait. When I got mine, I actually didn't use the app, I just happened to see and article on DroidLife that said they were in stock. I couldn't wait to get them because my current router was working around 20% of the time, so it was either try and get them ASAP or go with something else. If you've got all the time in the world then maybe the wait list is the right way to go, all I said was that if you don't want to wait in line, the app is faster, and there's nothing stopping anyone on the wait list from using it as well. Now while I understand that since it was a new item, they weren't sure how it would be received. So they might not have wanted to mass produce a ton of product and have it sit there. However, the same thing happened with each Nexus launch as well, so there's no excuse in that situation. If there is one thing that Google needs to fix other than its ADD with new projects, it's getting a better hold on product launches. They don't even sell in the numbers that Samsung, LG, or even HTC do, so to be this backed up for this long is a little ridiculous. It was forgivable for OnePlus since they were a new company, but this isn't Google's first rodeo and they need to do better.
  • Keep checking, I managed to order a three pack from the google store a few days ago. Arriving next week. I was already on the wait list but never got a notification.
  • I checked now and it's in stock... Well, what do you know...
  • Oh, this is good information to have. My mom is still paying $10/mo to AT&T to lease their mid-range wireless cable modem, so I'm going to get her a wireless router and let her use one of the old Surfboards I have in my basement. Super easy remote management on my end would be a big selling point.
  • Update: I didn't have to use separate accounts. I am now managing both from one account. I never would have known. Thanks for the article. I just added myself as a manager from one account and then I get a drop down list on the side of my networks. Super handy.
  • I have read that without access to Google Servers/services, that it can not function. So if Google discontinues the servers, that it is a dead product. But here I read it stores it in the firmware. Can we get clarification from the author of the article? Thank you for a great article.
  • If I unplug my modem and have no internet connection my Wifi network still works. That's not possible unless the network info is stored locally,
  • If you are going to promote an app shouldn't you highlight the extreme permissions it requires, e.g. Device & app history
    - read sensitive log data
    Identity
    - find accounts on the device
    - add or remove accounts
    Contacts
    - find accounts on the device
    Location
    - approximate location (network-based)
    Camera
    - take pictures and videos
    Other
    - receive data from Internet
    - pair with Bluetooth devices
    - access Bluetooth settings
    - full network access
    - use accounts on the device
    - prevent device from sleeping
  • Google Wifi is a network device that you can pair with the phone during setup by scanning a bar code after you signed in with your Google account. Tell me what you think is extreme here.
  • I can comment on these:
    -- read log data : the app allows you to send log information about your network to Google for support purposes
    -- Identity : you connect the app to your google account
    -- Contacts : you can invite other contacts (with google accounts) to be managers of the network
    -- receive data from internet : it manages your network through the internet
    -- bluetooth : uses bluetooth for initial setup (it's how the app communicates with the hardware)
    -- full network : again, it manages your wifi network both locally and through the internet
    -- use accounts on the device : connects with your google account
    -- prevent device from sleeping : during a network test, it keeps the screen on (otherwise, the test restarts) I can't comment on Location and Camera
  • If you can't find Google Wifi, the Google OnHubs are discounted on Amazon (and elsewhere) and work just as good. Same app and same features. They also work with Google Wifi for wireless/wired mesh. They don't have a lot of features net-heads want (choose your own IP addressing scheme, QoS, built-in DDNS and VPN), but they weren't made or marketed to net-heads (which I understand is very frustrating to said net-heads).
  • Can I buy the 3 pack and only use 2 in one home and 1 in another smaller home?
  • 32str8, yes each one can either be made the "primary" or "secondary". But they only work as a secondary wifi point (forming a "mesh") with a Google Wifi or Onhub as the primary. You can't connect them to a non-google wifi router and get all the features. I have 3 at my home, 1 at my parent's house, and 1 at my wife's business -- 3 different networks. And I can manage them all from the same app.