So you’ve setup your Google WiFi home network and now you’re hoping to get the best possible coverage and explore some of the Google WiFi app’s features. Our complete tips and tricks guide reveals the best hidden features and tools of Google WiFi and how to get complete control over your setup, as well as solve common problems.
Google WiFi is one of the best home network solutions we’ve reviewed, thanks to its subtle design, simple setup, impressive range and fantastic app. Using that app you can control, monitor and manage every last part of your home WiFi, right down to the brightness of the router LEDs.
Here’s our guide to the best features of the Google WiFi and how to master your smart home network. And check out our Google WiFi review for our in-depth look at the setup and app.
How to diagnose any issues with your Google WiFi network and internet connectivity
Find that your internet connection has suddenly dropped, and no idea why? With most routers you wouldn’t be able to diagnose the exact problem, but Google WiFi can tell you exactly what the issue is.
Load the Google WiFi app on your phone and the main screen will give you an at-a-glance overview of your network. The WiFi Points central hub represents your routers, and coming off that you have the internet connection and connected devices. All three of these should have a green light in the upper right. If this is yellow instead, that means there’s an issue.
Tap the WiFi Points hub and you can test the connectivity between your Google WiFi routers by hitting ‘Test Mesh’ at the very bottom. This will give an error if the main router can’t talk with any of the secondary routers set up around your home. If that’s the case, try resetting the secondary routers in question – and finally the main router.
To check your network health you can also swipe left from that main screen and tap ‘Network Check’. This allows you to test both the mesh connection (between the routers) and the internet connection. Every time you test your internet connection, the results are saved by the Google WiFi app. Just tap that Internet icon from the main app screen and you’ll see all previous results.
Read next: Google Home review, the perfect robot servant?
How to perfectly position your Google WiFi routers
Google personally recommends using a single router if you’re in a small home, such as a two-bedroom flat. Medium-sized houses should use two routers, while anything larger may require more than two.
You should place these routers as out in the open as possible, and try not to obscure them with other household items. You want a nice, clear, uninhibited signal to be beamed out to your various devices.
As for distance, try and locate your secondary routers roughly two rooms away from the base station. If you have a two-storey house, stick the secondary unit on the other floor, as close to the centre of your home as possible. This should ensure quite widespread coverage.
Of course, if you have a specific area filled with demanding devices such as smart TVs, consoles and other streaming gadgets, then it makes sense to place a router here. This will guarantee strong coverage to your tech.
Don’t expect to find the perfect positioning straight away, especially if your home is spacious. Luckily the Google WiFi app has a handy WiFi strength tester built in, to help out. Just swipe left from the main screen and hit ‘Network Check’, and you’ll spy a Test Device option. This checks the WiFi connection to your phone, reporting on the general strength.
Try heading to different rooms in your home and running Test Device while standing still. If any rooms give a weak signal, try moving one of your routers closer and then repeating the test across your home. With any luck you’ll find an arrangement that offers total coverage. If not, you might want to consider purchasing an additional router.
How to allow someone else to manage your Google WiFi network
Whoever sets up the Google WiFi routers will be the ‘owner’ of the network, but it’s possible to allow other members of your household to manage the setup too.
Flick left from the main app screen and tap ‘Network & General’. In here there’s a Managers section. Hit that and tap the green icon in the bottom right corner and you can invite other Google users to get involved.
Google WiFi parental controls
Got kids who are always streaming crap on YouTube when they’re supposed to be asleep? Why not quash their unhealthy habits by cutting off their WiFi supply? Yeah, that’ll show ‘em.
Swipe left from the main Google WiFi app screen and tap the ‘Family Wi-Fi’ icon. Create a sensible name like ‘Kids’, and then select all of your kiddiewinks’ devices – tablets, TVs and anything else connected to your network – on the next page. These will then be grouped under ‘Kids’ (or whatever you called it).
If you want to immediately cut your kids’ access, just swipe left from the Google WiFi app’s main screen and tap on the Kids icon under Shortcuts. This will pause the connection for those pre-set devices. You can either set an end time, or simply leave them disconnected indefinitely – until the next time you tap the icon.
You can add or remove devices from the label at any time by tapping the pencil icon in the top right. You can also schedule for these devices to automatically lose connection at set times (e.g. from bedtime to the next morning) by tapping the three dots and hitting Family WiFi Settings, followed by Schedules.
How to set up a Google WiFi guest network
You can set up a guest network for visitors to use, which is handy if you have people staying over. To do this, flick left from the main screen and tap the ‘Guest WiFi’ shortcut in the Settings section.
The guest network will automatically be named the same as your current network, with ‘-guest’ at the end. You can change this and set up whatever password you like. Give these details to your visitors and they’ll be able to get online, although they’ll be lower priority compared with devices on your main network.
Guests can also stream videos and the like from their devices to anything connected to your main network, if you let them. For instance, they can show off their home movies on your smart TV. You can select which devices are available to guests when setting up the network.
How to solve 4K streaming issues with Google WiFi
Is your 4K telly failing to stream Ultra HD content? Or you’re experiencing stuttering when trying to play games online? Here’s what you need to do.
First, check your internet connection speeds. You can do this through the Network Check feature, as previously mentioned. If you’re getting good speeds according to the Google WiFi app, then perhaps other devices are sucking up all of your bandwidth. In this case, you need to make your streamer or gaming machine a priority device.
To do this, flick left from the main Google WIFi app screen and tap Priority Device. From here you can set your chosen gadget as the number one priority on the network, which means it’ll get all the bandwidth it needs.
How to get support for Google WiFi
If you need extra help with anything Google WiFi related, just tap those three lines in the top left corner of the app. In the menu you’ll spy a ‘WiFi Care Support’ option. This gives you a link for emailing Google’s customer support as well as the phone number. There’s also a link to the handy Help Centre, which offers answers to standard questions.
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