Android 8.1 Now Tells You How Fast An Open Wi-Fi Network Is


Earlier this week Google started rolling out Android 8.1 (Oreo) to Pixel 2 and 2 XL devices. This update comes with a number of new features that have already been reported on thanks to the beta version of the update having already been available. As part of this week's announcement however, a Community Manager over at the Pixel User Community has confirmed some of the smaller, but useful additional features included in the final version of Android 8.1. Such as Wi-Fi Speed labels.

This is slightly different to the Wi-Fi strength information which is already available on newer Android releases. As while Wi-Fi icons do highlight the strength of a Wi-Fi signal, the new speed feature is designed to provide some insight to how fast the user can expect the Wi-Fi to be if connecting to nearby Wi-Fi. It is worth noting that this is primarily designed for open Wi-Fi connections and so is more informative about Wi-Fi you might be considering using in public places. Basically, now it will tell you if the Wi-Fi signal is going to be good enough for you to do what you want the Wi-Fi to do in the first place.

The way this will work is before connecting to a Wi-Fi signal, the Wi-Fi options listed in the Wi-Fi section of the phone's settings will display a keyword providing a descriptive quality of the speed. The keyword will either be "Slow," "OK," "Fast," or "Very Fast." A Google support page that is now live provides further clarification on what exactly these terms mean. So for example, Google defines Slow as the ability to make calls or send texts and that's about it. OK however, will provide a good enough speed for basic webpage access, social media access, and/or streaming of music. Fast means you can do pretty much anything including streaming most videos, while Very Fast means you are good to go and can do all you need including streaming very high-quality videos. The same help page also points out how those less interested in this feature can opt out of seeing the information altogether – as it is enabled by default on Android 8.1. To opt out, head to the Wi-Fi section of the Settings, click on "Wi-Fi Preferences" followed by "Advanced" and then select the "None" option under "Network rating provider."

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John has been writing about and reviewing tech products since 2014 after making the transition from writing about and reviewing airlines. With a background in Psychology, John has a particular interest in the science and future of the industry. Besides adopting the Managing Editor role at AH John also covers much of the news surrounding audio and visual tech, including cord-cutting, the state of Pay-TV, and Android TV. Contact him at [email protected]

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