Google’s internal Area 120 incubator unveiled Orion Wifi in September 2020 to enable public spaces to sell Wi-Fi capacity to cellular operators. This strategy is currently being used by Google Fi to increase coverage, and it is known as the W network.
In order to give subscribers coverage in more locations, the MVNO ORION WIFI AND OPENROAMING In mid-2021 initiated a trial of OpenRoaming , in which users are connected to Google Fi Wi-Fi hotspots. Notably, this didn’t count toward your data cap while it was in testing. This happened to me in an airport last June.
Businesses operating in public spaces can add a new revenue stream to their existing network for free, and Orion Wifi monetization can be enabled without the need for additional hardware or software. Google initially stated Orion cannot access users Internet traffic .
HOW DO I USE FIS W NETWORK? The Google MVNO left the Fi W network’s experimental phase last month. Despite being Wi-Fi, this displays in the status bar and Settings app of your Pixel as W and the cellular indication (rough approximation of the icon seen below).
With automatic connection when you are in range, it is presently only accessible for Google’s first-party smartphones running Android 12 and newer. According to the business, your phone conducts real-time analysis to make sure you’re getting a strong connection. When one of your saved Wi-Fi networks, such as your home network, is close and open, Fi never automatically connects.
These carefully chosen, premium Wi-Fi networks are designed to enhance your mobile internet connection in places with poor cellular service. This includes certain stadiums, shopping centers, and airports, with availability growing over time. It happens when Google stopped connecting Fi customers to (new) public Wi-Fi networks automatically in October.
Notably, despite the actual network technology being used, W counts toward your monthly data cap and is classified as standard data usage. This is because Google views the W network as an extension of the Fi network, making the verified connection preferable to the shoddy Wi-Fi you frequently use. Fi is likely paying for the Wi-Fi connections in the background, making them somewhat comparable to premium hotspots that you would normally have to pay for up front.
Google Fi has started automatically establishing connections for users running Android 12 or higher to the W network when it is accessible in an effort to provide our users with the greatest mobile data connection possible in more locations. In order to provide our consumers with coverage in additional locations where cell signal has historically been weak, such as airports, malls, and stadiums, this includes carefully chosen secure, high-quality Wi-Fi networks.
HOW TO DISCONNECT FROM THE GOOGLE FI W NETWORK
Nevertheless, simply turning off Wi-Fi, you can go back to a cell network whenever you choose.
By navigating to the Settings app, Network and Internet, SIM, Google Fi, and W Connections, and switching off that setting, you can more permanently disable and reject the W network. Today, I can already see it on my Pixel 6 Pro, but Google claims that the feature is still being sent out because the most users does not yet have it.