Google Wifi has some really stupid problems

taltamir

Lifer
Mar 21, 2004
13,576
6
76
This is just so extremely stupid. lets say you change ISPs. well with a normal router you just swap the modem and maybe login to 192.168.0.1 to change the router settings (DHCP, PPPOE, etc)...

Not so with google wifi. Google doesn't believe a web interface is necessary. The only two ways to change google wifi settings is via a phone app that can only communicate directly with the router after you perform a hard reset on the router. Otherwise your router must have an internet connection in order to receive the changes to the settings you make on your phone app. Obviously when you switched ISPs you can't use the internet connection method so the factory reset route it is.

The factory reset method is so very very slooooow. 20 minutes later when you are done you need to factory reset all the other wifi points because obviously you can't just tell the networks to merge. then once you have factory reset them (which again, is slow) you need to add them one by one to the new network (which is slow).
Also it tends to require multiple restarts / resets before it manages to connect to the moden and complete the configuration.

But wait, there is more! The stupid app refuses to configure mesh points via ethernet connection. you can use ethernet as a backhaul afterwards (which is as simple as just plugging it in via ethernet), but during setup you must connect the two pucks together via wifi which refuses to work unless the signal is extremely strong (read, in the same room as the main router. You can move it to the actual spot where it will reside in later on and it will give you a good to excellent signal, but you can't set it up there. all you would do is waste 5 minutes to be told its too far away from the main router... even if it is plugged in via ethernet)

So you need to go through the house, collect all the google wifi pucks, and configure them all and then return them to their actual final spots.

The pucks take 5 minutes to be ready for configuration once factory reset. But they show you they are ready after about 1 minute (blue light). This is a lie though and falling for it will just slow you down further. The stupid setup program just auto connects to the first one of them that it detects (very rarely will it actually let me choose between two unconfigured google wifi routers), and it can easily be one in a different room from you (that is considered too far away from base point to finish setting up, but not too far away to start). so then when it scans the QR code it complains its the wrong one. To work around it you want to only plug in one puck to power at a time to add mesh points. Not only is the adding process slow, it is slowed further by the fact you must reset them one at a time.

Oh yea, and PPPOE support on it is terrible and missing vlan tagging so you need to buy a router from the ISP and set it to transparent bridge mode in order to properly use google wifi with many companies.

The review sites do nothing but praise google wifi and claim any non technical person can easily set it up, and I don't know what they are smoking. The only good thing I can say about it is that the mesh actually works and as a result its transmission is fast and robust all over the house.

For those trying to install it, a few reminders:
1. configure only 1 unit first without mesh points. Tell it you want to add 0 mesh points and finalize the setup. Then afterwards add the mesh points one at a time (to clarify, units not being currently configured should be unplugged from power)

2. press the factory reset button (for 10 seconds), even on a new unit, then wait 5 minutes until its ready to connect to the modem. Make sure it is only plugged into the modem and not to any other device, the stupid thing would try to get an internet connection via your PC instead of the modem and fail miserably, requiring an additional factory reset.

3. when adding mesh points, do so one at a time by pluginging them into power, factory resetting, waiting 5 minutes, then adding them to the network with the app while in the same room as the base point. one configuration is finished unplug it and move it to its actual final location. Then bring in the next mesh point for configuration

----

Since the review sites are completely worthless, anyone else here with personal experience with competing mesh products can tell me how do they compare to the above?
 
Last edited:

mnewsham

Lifer
Oct 2, 2010
14,535
426
136
I've heard some good things about the Linksys Velop system, but it's one of the few other mesh systems that has wired backhaul, and those are the only unit's i've really been keeping an eye on. I think i'll wait a generation or two before diving into the mesh realm.
 
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jackstar7

Lifer
Jun 26, 2009
11,679
1,943
126
Sorry for your frustrations here, but really appreciate the steps you laid out.
 

mxnerd

Diamond Member
Jul 6, 2007
6,411
983
126
It's like a smart dog breed, let's say Husky. You think it's smart so it should be easy to train. The reality is it's too smart and has its own mind, it won't listen to you. :D
 
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Mike64

Platinum Member
Apr 22, 2011
2,108
101
91
It's like a smart dog breed, let's say Husky. You think it's smart so it should be easy to train. The reality is it's too smart and has its own mind, it won't listen to you. :D
It looks to me like it's more akin to "training" a chihuahua to be fiercely loyal to one person or a very small, tightly-knit social group, and a nasty little scourge on the rest of the known universe. Or in the immortal words of Henry Ford: “Any customer can have a car painted any color that he wants so long as it is black”…;)
 
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taltamir

Lifer
Mar 21, 2004
13,576
6
76
So, for completion sake. there is apparently a poorly documented method to switch over the router ISP settings. and that is to unplug the main router from all ethernet ports. it will then blink orange and allow you to edit the internet setting via connecting a cellphone to its wifi connection.

In theory. In practice after putting in the new settings and hitting save it showed me a window saying to plug in the new modem and click next... which disappeared after 5 seconds. by the time i plugged it in it was too late and it didn't work. And it requires you to reenter the settings every single time instead of letting you modify the existing setting. After flailing at it for some time with no success I just did a factory reset. It takes a while, but at least it reliably works.

I've heard some good things about the Linksys Velop system, but it's one of the few other mesh systems that has wired backhaul, and those are the only unit's i've really been keeping an eye on. I think i'll wait a generation or two before diving into the mesh realm.
It is worth noting that a lot of the "mesh" systems like orbi are not actually mesh. They are just a normal router with a preconfigured wifi extenders (which cannot communicate with each other, only with the base unit). wifi extenders have significantly worse performance.

I agree that wired backhaul is best. although ideally it could do both. In my current place i have most of them running through wire backhaul. but one unit is connected via wifi and then has a switch plugged into its ethernet port as well as a bunch of devices plugged into that. this essentially turns it into a 100$ wifi dongle, one with actually decent performance
 

Eric Fazekas

Member
Jun 27, 2017
43
10
81
I've heard some good things about the Linksys Velop system, but it's one of the few other mesh systems that has wired backhaul, and those are the only unit's i've really been keeping an eye on. I think i'll wait a generation or two before diving into the mesh realm.
I have been using the Linksys Velop for almost a year now because I wanted a wired backhaul system. I had similar issues and other issues so I went back to using my WRT1900AC and my main router (wireless on, but not broadcasting from the 1900) and use the Velops (4 of them) in bridge mode. One of the Velops is in my detatched garage and is not wired, but it allows me to install a POE switch attached to the Velop and run some POE cameras. Since it's a network extension it allows my security Lorex camera router to see them and monitor.

Velop is good at extending and you may not have any issues using them alone, but I did.
 
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