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Networking

Google Wifi router promises wall-to-wall wireless for less

You can get the Google Wifi in early December at a cost of $129 for a single unit or $299 for a system of three units.

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The Eero just got a serious new competitor -- the Google Wifi router. It's about the size of two hockey pucks stacked together.

This is the first Wi-Fi router -- or router system -- made by Google and like the Eero it comes in three identical units. You only need one if you live in a small apartment, but the point of the extra two is to blanket a large home with a Wi-Fi signal. Previously, Google made the software for its OnHub routers, but the hardware was handled by TP-Link and Asus.

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The new Google Wifi router.

James Martin/CNET

Google says the new Google Wifi system has a built-in Network Assist feature set that uses logic to optimize the connection, allowing Wi-Fi devices, like smartphones and tablets, to automatically connect to the closest unit and on the best channel at a given time. This means you can walk around the house without worrying about getting disconnected or even losing signal strength.

Since your devices aren't smart enough to do that themselves, Google says the software simply forces your device off one access point, and automatically provides the login information for another.

What's more, the system includes a free mobile app with built-in parental control, allowing you to pause (and resume) the internet connection to any connected device at anytime. Some of these features will come to the existing OnHub router in a software update, says Google.

As far as tech specs, the Google Wifi offers a dual-band (2.4GHz and 5GHz) 802.11ac wireless connection, and one extra Ethernet port for a wired device. Instead of a proprietary power adapter, it plugs into the wall with a standard USB-C charge cable.

The best thing about the Google Wifi is its price, which is $129 for a single unit or $299 for a set of three. This is much less than the Eero, which costs $200 for a single unit or $500 for three. (The price for the UK and Australia have not yet been announced.)

You do have to wait until early December to get your own, however, but you can start preordering the Google Wifi starting in November. Check back then for its full review.

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Additional reporting by Sean Hollister.

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