Google Nest Wifi Review: Mesh Networking Without The Hassle
“Google’s Nest WiFi is a great web networking system with a secret. It is also a smart speaker. ”
Simple installation and setup
Google Assistant Integration
Ability to expand coverage
Contemporary design fits any decor
Single ethernet port
The review was last updated on 9/21/2020 by Digital Trends editor John Velasco.
For the average person, getting internet service at home means either calling a local service provider or surfing the web to find the best deals around. Once there is something worth subscribing to, a technician comes out for the installation. You usually get up and running within a few minutes. Most people never worry about changing the router unless they need more coverage.
This is where Google Nest WiFi comes with its full home coverage and continuity. Originally, Nest WiFi aims to accomplish the same function as most other Wi-Fi routers, but Google’s interpretation differs for notable features that focus the company’s focus on delivering multi-functional devices for smart homes. Not only will it be the brains behind monitoring your home’s Wi-Fi network, but it is a system that will help build your smart home with Google Assistant. Why stick with a smart speaker when it includes Google Assistant in its access point?
It costs $ 269 for the starter pack, which includes the router and access point. Do you want to expand your existing system? You can purchase additional access points directly through Google for $ 149.
You don’t have to be a rocket scientist to set this up
Routers can be overwhelming to set up, especially for those who do not have a background in networking. Google makes the process painless and simple with a quick quick guide. I have my fair share of frustration with a highly complex router setup, but this was the simplest question to get up and running.
Using the Google Home app on my Android smartphone, I was directed to connect the Nest WiFi router to my existing Xfinity XFI Gateway modem using the included Ethernet port.
Once I completed setting up the appropriate SSID and password for my network, connecting the Nest WiFi point required me to grab the QR code on the unit using the Google Home app. From there, it automatically communicates with the router to establish a mesh network.
Although I appreciate Google’s approach with the setup process, anyone who has configured other mesh networking systems will not find it unique or unusual. For example, Netgear’s Orby Mesh Wi-Fi system has a similar setup process. Mesh networking systems are all easy-to-use, and Google’s competitors on Netgear and Lynx have not been caught off-guard.
The real key to Google’s approach is Google’s own brand. Nest WiFi maintains the company’s software look and feel. If you use a Pixel phone, or any other Google Home device, Nest WiFi will be initially familiar.
Finally, a better implementation
Routers in general are given very little love. Once set, they typically hide behind a cabinet or entertainment system and are forgotten until a problem arises. Here, Google Assistant’s integration with the Wi-Fi point of view reflects the multidimensional aspect of its devices to the company.
Not only is Wi-Fi point helpful for increasing coverage at home, but it can be used just like any smart speaker from Google. It essentially doubles as a Nest Mini speaker, allowing it to play music, access Google Assistant, and even control other smart home gadgets related to voice.
Musically speaking, this is a minor step up from the audio performance of the Nest Mini, with its accent as it exits the pump, making it a smidgen more substantial and pleasing to the ear. Similar to the Nest Mini, proximity sensors can detect when you are close, and will light up the LEDs at the top of the unit. Even better, I like how the LED ring burns around the body whenever you command Google Assistant.
It’s $ 149 a pop, versus meager $ 50 for Mind You, Nest Mini. Nest WiFi access point router first, smart speaker second. Nevertheless, it is good for a mesh network to perform more tasks than just an access point.
Pricing is comparable to its rivals, given that the add-on satellites for Netgear’s Orbi and Amazon’s Eero mesh systems have a similar MSRP. Google’s offering gets more value by doubling the hardware as a smart speaker.
I live in a small apartment that is about 1,100 square feet, so my existing xFi gateway manages to cover most of the locations, although outdoor areas can be spotty. The worst spots are in my bedroom and bathroom, where I see weak Wi-Fi connectivity, usually about once or twice. The signal has to pass through some walls and other obstructions.
The Nest WiFi Mesh system blankets those areas with sufficient coverage, taking advantage of the 2.4GHz and 5GHz bands for maximum performance, without reducing process speed. I am still able to achieve speeds of around 900 Mbps and speeds up to 40 Mbps, which I get when I am in the same room as my Xfinity XFI Gateway. For areas that had not been blanked before, it was great to see that my connection speed was intact.
The advantage here is the additional access to my Wi-Fi network. Even though it doesn’t change my current setup much, I can enjoy better Wi-Fi in extreme corners of my home, which makes for a more reliable connection overall.
By itself, the router reaches over 2,200 square feet of coverage, while each wifi point adds another 1,600 square feet. Naturally, the advantage here is that you can scale the setup to give proper coverage throughout the home. Of course, this is not something you can achieve with most routers, unless they are designed with forged networking in mind.
For comparison, the second-generation Eero Pro Gateway covers 1,750 sq ft, with each beacon capable of blanketing 1,500 sq ft. Even more impressive, however, is 3,500 square feet of coverage with Netgear’s Orby router and an additional 2,000 square feet of coverage with each satellite.
Overall, Google’s Nest WiFi is not the most technically capable option. However, the average American home is under 2,500 square feet. This means that Nest WiFi router with one access point should suffice.
Room for more expansion
Google’s approach to this is simple and easy, I think there is something to be gained here with Nest WiFi. However, those who yearn for improved control and features will be disappointed with the slim offerings here.
Sure, there’s access to features like a guest network, parental controls / restrictions, and even traffic prioritization, but you won’t find other advanced features that serious networking geeks love about routers – such as the MAC address Filtering, specifying static IP addresses, and dynamic DNS. There are mesh systems that offer these features, but the cost associated with them is high.
Another thing that may disappoint people is that the Nest WiFi router has only one Ethernet port. Meaning, if you need to hardware multiple devices in the network, you will need to buy an Ethernet hub. Most Wi-Fi routers offer a single Ethernet port, but then you have some, such as the Lynx Max-Stream AC2200 router, which is more generous with its four Ethernet ports.
While I appreciate the Google Assistant integration with the Wi-Fi point, it would actually be beneficial as an Ethernet port as well – but sadly there is none.
Try these new features from Google
Spread the message in specific rooms
The broadcast facility is beloved for many reasons, especially when it comes to announcing dinner throughout the house. Now, however, you will be able to broadcast the message in specific rooms. Say for example, “Hey Google, aired in the bedroom, ‘Breakfast is ready!”
Advanced Voice Matching Support
Did you know that Google Assistant can give personal information to many people at home? Google Assistant is now able to support up to six people’s voices with a voice match on a smart speaker or display, so that you only get relevant details that relate to you.
“Hey Google” sensitivity adjustment
In busier or noisier areas, it is possible that Google Assistant may have started by accident. If you want to adjust the sensitivity “Hey Google” whenever you want, you can do it through the Google Home app.
Google Assistant’s interpreter mode can be handy when you have guests speaking another language. Instead of translating each spoken sentence, the interpreter mode will translate the conversation in real time – so the conversation can be spoken naturally. You can enable it by saying “Hey Google, be my German translator” or “Hey Google, help me speak Spanish.”
It is more important than ever to make sure that you wash your hands thoroughly, especially as the outbreak of the coronavirus COVID-19 continues to spread. Nest Mini provides a new facility to help children. You just say, “Hey Google, help me wash my hands,” and from there, will play a tune for 20 seconds to encourage enough time to wash hands.
Since it is stable, there should not be too much worry about it. In this event, there is a one-year limited warranty covering the defects.
Google Nest WiFi is still priced at $ 269 for the Starter Pack. Although, the inclusion of Google Assistant adds value, it is one of the easiest mesh systems to configure and cover your entire home.
What are the better options?
If you are looking for something cheaper with the same extender access, you may want to consider alternatives – such as Netgear Orbi that cost $ 200 for a similar configuration. While the Netgear’s lattice system provides greater range, it does not have the smart assistant feature with a Nest WiFi point.
Another option is Amazon’s new Eero router, priced at $ 99 for a 1-pack, a bargain ($ 249 for a 3-pack). Both these options provide a simpler setup similar to Google’s Nest Wifi.
If you want more advanced setup options, consider the Linksys Velop MX5300 or Netgear XRM570 Nighthawk Pro Gaming WiFi router. They are significantly more expensive for routers at $ 400 each, but you get the advanced networking controls and multiple Ethernet ports in hardware devices.
How long will this last?
Given that the router and Wi-Fi points are going to be stable, it should last a very short time like any networking gear.
Should you buy it
Yes. Not only will you be able to expand the coverage of your Wi-Fi, but the Nest WiFi system can be used to control various connected devices in your home.