TEST – The US giant is launching a wireless terminal intended to speed up connections and solve interference problems. We tested it in preview.
Saturated traffic, unstable connection, insufficient throughput, blocked connection by walls … As more and more mobile devices are used at home, smartphones and tablets in the head, and the connected objects are inviting gradually at home, The Wi-Fi network created by the domestic box often has a hard time showing up. It is to resolve these problems that Google has decided to intervene. Its weapon: a Wi-Fi terminal characterized by a quantity of technical tricks that change everything.
First, the device, a small white lacquered cylindrical housing, is rather elegant and has antennas that emit 360 degrees. Once connected to the Internet box by an Ethernet cable, it can be placed in the middle of the living room or on a shelf to cover the entire room. Then, this terminal is able to communicate with the wireless equipment on two frequencies, in 2.4 GHz and 5 GHz. Depending on the distance and the quality of the signal, it automatically switches from one to the other, without interrupting the connection, to provide the best connection. But above all, an algorithm allows it to avoid the phenomena of congestion. While Wi-Fi transmitters choose once and for all the transmission channel that seems to them optimal, and without taking into account the other surrounding networks, The Google Terminal analyzes the traffic of all wireless devices several times a day to select the least congested channel. Finally, it is possible to install several terminals, linked together wirelessly, to expand the Wi-Fi network and extend it to different rooms. Not only will the connection be more efficient, but it will be possible to switch from the living room to the room without losing the link and, for example, to continue a videophone call without interruption.
Equivalent to a wired link
In practice, the system is fairly effective. One application facilitates the installation: just photograph the QR code printed under the terminal to establish a first connection with a smartphone. In a few steps, the Wi-Fi network is created from the Internet box of the house. No problem in the living room: the signal is strong and stable, and the connection fast. Measurements with the SpeedTest application show a rate of 98 Mbps, the equivalent of a wired link and almost double that obtained with the Wi-Fi box.
Now let’s try to install a second terminal on the floor, where the concrete walls usually disrupt the Wi-Fi signal. We inform the app on this new access point, which automatically connects to the terminal of the living room. The bit rate is a bit lower: 45 Mbps, but is perfect for watching streaming videos. Moreover, it is enough to move the terminal and to bring it as close as possible of the living room to gain in performance.
For the sake of conscience, we set up a third terminal in the garden shed located about ten meters from the house, too far away to properly receive the Wi-Fi signal from the Internet box. Surprise: in spite of a weak signal, the terminal in question manages to communicate with that of the floor of the house and offers a flow of 15 Mbps! Even if the app advises to bring the two access points closer together for better results, this connection is sufficient to enjoy an Internet connection in the shade of the garden.
In addition, the app can make different settings, such as creating a separate network for guests or forming groups of devices and deciding the schedules to which they can connect. In short, for a very reasonable price (139 euros or 249 euros for a duo of terminals), Google Wi-Fi looks like an ideal solution for dwellings where wireless links are capricious.