Public Wi-Fi networks are convenient, but that convenience often comes with questionable data speeds. The worst part is, there’s really no way of knowing how a network will perform until you attempt to use it.
Thankfully, Google is doing something about this with a brand new feature currently rolling out for Android 8.1 Oreo users. Now when you’re thumbing through local networks, your phone will tell you the speed of each unencrypted network, even without forcing you to connect first.
It’s a small but extremely useful change. The rating isn’t conveyed in sheer megabits per second, but rather classified into one of four groups: Very Fast, Fast, OK, or Slow. Here’s how Google breaks them down:
Slow:If you can use Wi-Fi calling on your device, you can make phone calls and send texts.
The speed will appear under public networks only, meaning you won’t see it for networks that require passwords. Combined with the icon next to each network that denotes signal strength, the Android Wi-Fi menu should now provide a pretty comprehensive idea of performance before you connect.
To test this new feature out for yourself, make sure you’re using a device with Android 8.1 — as of this writing, that’s limited to the Nexus 5X, Nexus 6P, Pixel and Pixel 2, but other phones are slated to get Android Oreo soon enough. Then follow these steps:
1. Open Settings.
2. Tap Network & Internet.
3. Tap Wi-Fi.
If you still can’t see the speed of public networks, it could just be that the feature hasn’t reached your handset yet. Give it time; Google typically rolls out changes like these over a period of days or weeks.
In the meantime, for more help getting the most out of the latest version of Android, take a look at our handy rundown of Oreo’s most notable features.