21-November, Cupertino – Two stories from the Wi-Fi router wars this week. Firstly it looks like Apple will quietly abandon its AirPort Extreme product, which hasn’t been updated for the last couple of years.
Perhaps it has something new to be bolted into a future Apple TV / smart home hub product that will do the job, or it sees little point in competing. This has been reported by Mark Gurman on Bloomberg.
Most users stick with whatever product their Internet provider gives them, or pick up a stock router for cheap from a store. Only a small percentage of users invest in the porcupine antenna high-performance routers, or the increasing market for home-friendly models that don’t look like an attack ship. Apple’s AirPort may have gone down well with Mac users, but its niche features hardly made it an essential purchase.
Google invades the home
21-November, Mountain View – The second piece of news comes from Google. The company’s home mesh network product “Google Wifi” isn’t on the market yet, and already the company claims in tests to be faster than upstart products Eero and Luma. They both offer multiple boxes that spread the Wi-Fi around the home on a single network without the need for range extenders or multiple networks.
Animated benchmark / comparison graphic between Google Wifi, Eero, and Luma routers
Google’s independent tests show that “Wifi” is twice as fast in some cases, but these tests could be skewed in the company’s favor my any number of methods. Software and firmware updates could easily see any of these devices increase their performance, and every users’ mileage may vary in their own real-world situation.
Google’s “Wifi” boxes go on sale on 6 December, at $129 for one unit or $299 for a pack of three. Eero routers are $199 for one, $349 for two and $499 for three, while Luma routers are $149 for one and $399 for three (all recommended prices). What the tests do show is that even with these ninja devices, your Wi-Fi speed will fall and vary around the home.
YouTube: How to set up Google Wifi