Android 8.1 Oreo first rolled out nearly two months ago, but Google has continued to improve the mobile OS and give users new features on a fairly consistent basis ever since. One of those new features arrived on Monday, as Google revealed that Oreo is now capable of displaying the speed of public WiFi networks before the user connects.
“Public Wi-Fi can be spotty,” Google explained in a tweet yesterday linking to the updated support page. “For the first time, Android 8.1 lets you take out the guesswork & see the speed of networks before you hit connect.”
There are four possible connection speeds that Google will display when searching for public WiFi networks. Slow is the lowest tier, allowing for little more than making calls and texting. OK means that you can browse the internet, use social media and stream music. Fast connections will let you stream “most videos,” while Very Fast connections are capable of streaming high-quality videos. Now you’ll know exactly what to expect before you connect.
The feature will not work with private WiFi networks (so don’t worry about strangers scoping out your neighborhood for the fastest connections), only public ones. And if you want to turn the feature off, just go to Settings > Network & Internet > Wi-Fi > Wi-Fi Preferences > Advanced > Network rating provider > None.
If you did any traveling over the holidays, there’s a good chance you ran into spotty airport WiFi at some point on your trip (I know I did). With this new feature, you’ll know before you connect if you stand any chance of streaming another episode of Ozark on Netflix before your flight, or if you should just read a book instead.