Google launching its WiFi product in New Zealand this week

A Google WiFi unit next to a smartphone (the units are controlled via an app)

Google will launch its WiFi product in New Zealand on Thursday.

Google WiFi is a hardware system designed to spread a strong wi-fi signal around a home, so even rooms that used to get a weak wireless signal will get fast broadband.

It's billed as much easier to set up than the router and wi-fi extender setup usually used to address "dead spot" situations (US reviews have been broadly positive, such as this recent one from CNBC; tech specs are on the official Google WiFi page here).

The company says Google Wifi uses a technology called mesh Wi-Fi. Within our mesh network, each Google Wifi point creates a high-powered connection, and the different Wifi points work together to determine the best path for your data.

The result is Wi-Fi coverage in every corner of your house, not just right next to the router, Google says. A review unit is due to turn up at NBR Towers later this week (Netgear's rival Orbi system is also incoming).

A smartphone app for controlling Google WiFi lets you put broadband on pause for kids’ devices, or create recurring pauses for dinner or homework with scheduled pause. It also shows you which devices are connected and how much bandwidth they’re using. You can also prioritise devices within your network so you can stream that latest TV episode without interruptions, Google says.

Google Wifi will be sold as a 1-pack for $229 (for an apartment or small home) and a 3-pack for $599 from Noel Leeming, Harvey Norman and JB Hi-Fi. The idea is you buy enough units as you need to cover your house. It's horses for courses, but a Google animation has two units covering an average ground floor.

A rep for Google says 24/7 phone and chat support will be available free.

While it seems a technically adroit product, the broader question remains: Who does Google want to make wi-fi hardware?

In the US, Google WiFi can be seen as a staging post for the Google Home smart speaker, which utilises Google's virtual assistant, which in turn hooks users up with Google's search engine and all the advertising and marketing revenue opportunities that entails.

Google's local spokesman says there are no plans to launch Google Home in New Zealand at this point, however. Kiwis who've imported a Google Home unit themselves say it works well, including its handling of the New Zilund accent.


12 · Got a question about this story? Leave it in Comments & Questions below.

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12 Comments & Questions

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Glad to see Google selling more than chormecast here. Hope they keep it up with Pixel and Home.

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But will they be paying tax?

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Just imported two Google homes. Can't wait to see how they work

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Just buy some X claim Xi3 access points. Sure you have to cable them back to your existing router. But after you have experienced proper commercial grade Wifi. No consumer Wifi ever comes close.

I hope that NBR will try connecting 20 or so devices to Google Wifi. And see if they can all get full speeds at the same time. As that is a far better test than just seeing if 1 device gets good coverage.

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You completely missed the point here. Simplicity is key for the majority of consumers. What you describe is not.

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The Xclaim access points are really easy to setup. Plug them into your router via the supplied power supply that combines power with the ethernet data to the AP. Wait for the AP to update itself to the latest firmware. Download the setup app to your phone. Type in the serial number from the AP. Complete setup using the App. Done.

Easy to do as long as you can run a cable. And you keep using your ISP supplied router. Which for non technical users is important. As normally isp tech support refuses to help you if you use a different router to the one that they supply.

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Run the cable - why would I want to do that ?

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Also check that it supports VLAN tagging on its WAN port. Otherwise it won't work on most UFB connections.

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It's not a router...

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Actually it is. Google say to plug your primary wifi point into your modem. And on the other supported configurations page https://support.google.com/wifi/answer/7215624?hl=en-GB&ref_topic=6243113

It lists a setup involving a modem > 3rd party router > Google wifi. And there is a note saying that configuration will result in double NAT routing. Which means that Google wifi is definitely a router.

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It IS a router. It just doesn't support VLAN tagging.

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I've just upgraded an old Wifi router to run the open source DD-WRT (painless process - most routers supported! Another great option is OpenWRT) which makes possible to deploy an old access point as a Wifi extender for your existing main AP. Not only zero cost but also makes use of hardware you probably already have sitting in a drawer..

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