When you’re surrounded by public Wi-Fi networks, it’s nearly impossible to tell which is fastest without connecting to each one, conducting a speed test, and dutifully recording the results. Luckily, Google’s introducing a new feature in Android 8.1 Oreo that does all the legwork for you: Speed labels in the Wi-Fi settings menu.
In the coming days, devices running Android 8.1 Oreo-based software will begin to see four different speed indicators in Android’s Wi-Fi settings menu (Settings > Network and Internet > Wi-Fi): Slow, OK, Fast, and Very Fast. Google describes each of them in a support document:
The gist is that Slow and OK networks aren’t good for much else besides calling, texting, browsing the web, and streaming tunes. Networks fast enough to get the Fast and Very Fast designation, on the other hand, can handle data-hungry apps like Netflix and YouTube.
Just how much faster is Very Fast than Fast? According to Android Police, which reached out to a Pixel User Community Manager for comment, these are the thresholds for each label:
- Slow = 0 – 1 Mbps
- OK = 1 Mbps – 5 Mbps
- Fast = 5 Mbps – 20 Mbps
- Very Fast = 20 Mbps+
Speed labels are enabled by default, but you won’t see them next to private networks that require passwords or hotspots that use a canary URL opt out of Android’s Wi-Fi Assistant service. If you prefer not to see them on any network, you can turn them off by heading to Settings > Network & Internet > Wi-Fi > Wi-Fi Preferences > Advanced > Network rating provider.
Wi-Fi speed labels aren’t Android Oreo‘s only network-focused feature. Oreo adds support for Wi-Fi Passpoint, an authentication protocol that allows devices to hop seamlessly between multiple hotspots in a network, Google Pixel devices on Android 8.0 and newer automatically connect to “high-quality saved networks”. If Oreo’s new speed labels work as advertised, they’ll be a worthy addition to a growing suite of Wi-Fi conveniences.
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