Blog Post

A GoogleFi Speed Test & More Testers

Google is about to open up its Mountain View WiFi network to more than 500 more trusted testers, according to sources familiar with the company’s plans. The expanded test indicates that the service is inching closer to its public debut. Google hopes to make the service ready for general availablity later this summer.

When I posted about Google’s Mountain View WiFi yesterday, the biggest request from readers was to check out the network’s speed. So I went back to the network, and did several speed tests around Mountain View.

The fastest speed I got when sitting relatively close to one of the access points outdoors was 928 kbps download speed and 567 kbps for upload. Google has said the maximum speed for both download and upload is 1 Mbps, so that’s pretty consistent.

At other areas, farther away from nodes I got 850 kbps and as low as 420 kbps for download speeds and lower than 100 kbps for upload speeds. So for residents, the farther away your house is from a light pole with a Google access point, the signal will likely degrade considerably. Seems like by at least half of the maximum 1Mbps. But that’s also for outdoors signals only. Google has said indoor use will be hard to get without an extended-range WiFi modem.

At my house I have DSL with a WiFi network and that speed using the same tests was 2.43 Mbps download with 415 kbps upload. So as far as speed goes, Google’s Mountain View WiFi isn’t exactly a cable/DSL replacer for now. But its free and ubiquitous and that beats cable and DSL on any day.

12 Responses to “A GoogleFi Speed Test & More Testers”

  1. My speed tests (dslreports) outside indicated a little over 900 kbps up and down. Inside at my place I don’t have a signal, but I am considering getting one of the google recommended wifi modems to experiment. Setup was a snap, and I think that it is fantastic that google is rolling out this service. Now that our weather has stabilized, sitting at a park and catching up on email is a wonderful thing.

  2. Jesse Kopelman

    Roger, a WiFi bridge is certainly a modem. Information transmitted wirelessly is indeed modulated differently than information transmitted via ethernet or USB. Thus, there is MOdulation/DEModulation taking place and a modem is being used. By the same measure, your DSL/cable modem is also a modem. For that matter, your PC is probably littered with modems servicing the various differing internal interfaces. Just like the sphincter in your ass is just one of the many sphincters in your body, a dialup modem is just one of many possible modems.

  3. isn’t it great that elgoog is giving away wireless access in an affluent community setting where people can already afford to browse online on the way to and from whole paycheck food stores? it would be absurd to test this idea out in a low income community, right? good thing elgoog’s foundation was not set up as a standard 501, otherwise they’d be prevented from pursuing such worthwhile endeavors…

    if i’m not mistaken, this is mostly a “young whites only” network, as mountain view is only 2.5 percent african american, and over 55% caucasian (18 hispanic, 20 asian too)…median age 34…

    this is the kind of progress that really wants to make me vomit, sorry.

  4. Roger Weeks

    wireless226: then why are there millions of customers of WISPs using 802.11-based technologies? Non-commercial my ass. And are you talking about QoS? QA is quality assurance. Not an acronym usually associated with networks.

    Also, could everyone, including Google, please stop calling any 802.11-based equipment a “modem”? This is just so far beyond wrong it’s insulting. There is no MOdulator/DEModulator in any 802.11-based equipment. It’s either an access point or a client. Sheesh.

  5. wireless226

    WiFi is not a commercial-caliber technology. It’s public spectrum, and intrinsically has no QA. It’s fine for the confines of your home or office. Bad as a public service “offering.” This will fail miserably.

  6. Google is treating Internet access as a broadly available public utility. In the coming years we may see google networks at selected cities nationwide.
    Im confident they will be able to pull it off.

  7. I think they could slowly expand their wifi network accross the US and eventually personalize their ads. Would be a really great service if the whole US was wifi. Doubt that would happen though, but you never know with google.

  8. Phil Zugelder

    So excited to have this up and running! The throughput seems solid. It would have a lot to do with the strength of the radio on your laptop though as you move away from the access point. Any idea how strong your client radio is?

    As for the privacy stuff, I am willing to bet that the commenter who wrote that uses a frequent buyer card at Albertsons or Safeway without pause. :)

  9. Because of the sheer amount of data that Google has the means to collect on users, is this something that a 3rd party VPN service like Witopia’s ( )personalvpn or publicvpn ( can help overcome? I use witopia’s personalvpn as it’s based on openVPN (which is awesomely secure and high-performing) and has a better annual price. publicvpn uses PPTP which is easier to setup, has a monthly plan, but the service tends to be slower for some reason and i’ve read that it’s more prone to attacks. Still..anything has to be better than nothing. personalvpn also gives you a different IP address when it’s on so maybe that may help mask your position?? Be a shame to miss out on that GAP sale though..they’re so rare. :)

  10. Nothing is free with Google. It may be free of $$, but not free of privacy. I would like your thoughts on how a company such as Google whose real source of revenue is context based advertising will sell ads that can now pinpoint your location and send you an ad.

    Imagine the consumers feeling when they are sitting in front of a local coffee shop that has a Gap next door. As you are surfing the web, Goog sends you an ad for that Gap next door. Dont know about you, but I think that is somewhat spooky. Effective, maybe. But what about the privacy of the user? Do people care?

  11. Ron Sege

    So as far as speed goes, Google’s Mountain View WiFi isn’t exactly a cable/DSL replacer for now. But its free and ubiquitous and that beats cable and DSL on any day.

    Not to mention much better than Verizon $60/month EV-DO data services, which doesn’t even reach into Verizon’s own Palo Alto store on University Ave.