Live From GoogleFi

Live from Mountain View — This morning I got an email invitation welcoming me to try out Google’s Mountain View WiFi network as one of the trusted testers. I’m not sure if it was a random invite or not, after writing a bit about Google’s Mountain View plans, but I felt like a lucky golden ticket winner with a trip to the chocolate factory–OK, so I have no life!

So I’m posting this from Rengstorff Park in Mountain View and the connection is pretty good: between 2 and 3 bars out of 4 on my Mac. Works well enough from here. I might drive around a bit and follow the nifty map that Google set up and update this post later. I won’t divulge how to get onto the network, but trust me it’s a no-brainer, even though right now trusted testers can’t see the SSID number.

The connection isn’t secure at the moment because I haven’t downloaded Google’s VPN client, like the email suggests I do so soon. The email says “Simply visit http://wifi.google.com/download.html to download Google Secure Access and use it with Google WiFi. Note that you will only be able to download the Google Secure Access VPN client when associated with the Google WiFi network–the download page will not work from any other Internet connection.” But that link doesn’t seem to be working for now.

The trusted tester email also addresses indoor coverage of the network: “The best way to pull Google WiFi indoors is to get a high power WiFi Modem. These modems work best when placed by a window facing the closest Google WiFi radio and typically have an Ethernet interface where you can connect a home wired/wireless router just as you would connect to a DSL or Cable Modem.”

“The best publicly-available WiFi Modem for our network we have seen so far is the PePLink Surf 200BG. This unit has one of the highest power levels, helping it stay connected to the network. There are several other (cheaper) modems which may work fine in your situation, though power is very important. There are a couple local vendors who have PePLink WiFi modems in stock and can help to answer your questions.”

Well, looks like the network is running well enough for now, but Google’s keeping the trusted tester population small to work out all the bugs. Mountain View residents, you’re almost there!

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