Thursday, July 18, 2019

Upgraded home Wifi to Google Wifi

Stories of home router vulnerabilities prompted me to check for updates to my home TP-Link router. In my case the router works well but there have been no updates for more than three years. Although the house is well covered, I sometimes notice pauses in streaming and I thought it was time to try something new.

Friend, and neighbour, John recently switched to the Google Wifi mesh network system and spoke very highly of them.

Researching online I found that the price for the three pack varies from AU$499 down to AU$347 at David Jones. Of course they don't have any stock locally but I was able to get another store to price match.

The hardware is nicely presented and designed. I would say it's Apple level industrial design. The pucks have two gigabit ethernet ports and USB-C power. The status light can be dimmed via the app for bedroom use.

Setup was smooth using the iOS app which discovers the devices as you plug them in via Bluetooth and configures the mesh. I had trouble with one device which didn't complete setup but I walked away and perhaps got out of Bluetooth range.

The iOS app is good and includes useful tools for measuring and testing both your internet connection right on the router and the mesh strength.




Wifi signal strength is uniformly strong throughout the house now, previously there were some small drops in signal. Measured internet speed over Wifi to a laptop running chrome is slightly lower than with the previous setup but it might be an anomaly.


I'm pretty happy with this performance. We are on NBN over HFC here.

The network is 192.168.86.0 and so I had to restart a bunch of devices to get them to update their addresses.

The device serves a web page on 192.168.86.1, with a mDNS hostname of http://testwifi.here which simply shows that it's online and offers links to the Android and iOS apps. It would be nice if there was a bit more that could be done through the web interface but I guess the phone app is the right focus.

There is also a web server at http://on.here which lets users control Philips Hue devices apparently.

The following ports are listening:

nmap -p- 192.168.86.1
Starting Nmap 7.70 ( https://nmap.org ) at 2019-07-25 10:02 AEST
Nmap scan report for testwifi.here (192.168.86.1)
Host is up (0.0096s latency).
Not shown: 65530 closed ports
PORT     STATE SERVICE
53/tcp   open  domain
80/tcp   open  http
5000/tcp open  upnp
8080/tcp open  http-proxy
8081/tcp open  blackice-icecap


Nmap done: 1 IP address (1 host up) scanned in 5.36 seconds

Port 8080 shows this:

 Port 8081 shows this:


The hardware is impressive, a quad-core ARM CPU running at up to 710MHz, 512MB RAM and 4GB eMMC storage. AC1200 2x2 Wave 2 Wi-Fi, Simultaneous dual-band Wifi (2.4 GHz/5 GHz) supporting IEEE 802.11a/b/g/n/ac, and transmit beam forming.

The devices implement the IEEE 802.11s mesh networking standard (along with some Google innovations, they say).

Note that the Google router sets the DNS to Google's 8.8.8.8 it would be nice if I was told this rather than having to find out by drilling into the settings.

Note that ethernet is still faster than wireless. Here's a speed test over ethernet.


Here's a speed test over Wifi.


After being in use for a week it has gathered a log of internet speeds:



It's a pity that Apple has left the home networking market but I feel that quality alternatives now exist such as Google Wifi.

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