A few weeks ago, Google announced that Wi-Fi Assistant would be coming to all Nexus phones over the course of the coming weeks. That appears to have started happening. Several Nexus owners are now seeing the option in their settings and are now able to take advantage of the data saving feature. Wi-Fi Assistant to this point has been exclusive to Project Fi users which allows their devices to automatically connect to Google approved Wi-Fi hotspots securely and without any user intervention. It is a huge benefit to Fi frankly as it saves on data plan usage. It will connect your phone to Wi-Fi without you even knowing it. Now all Nexus owners will benefit from the feature. The good news is that it is all a back end change and there is no update required on your phone.
Last week I posted my review of Project Fi, Google’s MVNO service that I have been using with my Nexus 6 the past two months. If you haven’t had a chance to read the review yet, you can do so here. The bottom line is I’m quite pleased with the service and don’t see myself switching to a traditional carrier any time soon.
One aspect of my review mentioned but didn’t cover in detail the Open Wi-Fi concept. For those of you who read my Project Fi review, this seems to be one of the question marks still in the air based on your emails and comments so I thought I would address it in a separate post. Ultimately this Open Wi-Fi solution is a key part of Fi and to get the full advantages of the service, you need to be able to leverage it when it is available to you.
What is Open Wi-Fi in Project Fi
By definition, Open Wi-Fi is exactly how what it sounds like when you read it. It is open wireless networks that your Project Fi enabled phone can access automatically through the use of the Wi-Fi Assistant that is built into Nexus devices running Android Lollipop or Android Marshmallow. Google has certified that these networks are open, fast and reliable so you should have no problem performing calls on Wi-Fi and of course can easily consume data for surfing, email and the like.
To get this to work, you have to have to have enabled Wi-FI Assistant on your device. Without it, the game stops right here. To enable it, you need to go to your Google Settings. You can either access this via the Google Settings app or, if you are running Android Marshmallow, you can access it by going to Settings>Google>Networking. From there, make sure that you have enabled “Use open Wi-Fi automatically”.