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Google Nest Wifi review: Effortless whole-home networking made even better

Article Contents

  • 1 The Good
  • 2 The Not So Good
  • 3 Setup
  • 4 {Hardware}
  • 5 Software program
  • 6 Efficiency
  • 7 Must you purchase it?

Fashionable-day networking has taken a number of the sting out of getting your gadgets up and linked, however there can nonetheless be a number of hoops to leap although, and the concept of working cables, inserting antennas, and drowning in a sea of DHCP leases and DNS lookups is sufficient to give even seasoned techies a light panic assault. Google’s hoping to additional scale back lots of these complications whereas nonetheless giving customers a robust residence community with the introduction of its new Nest Wifi mesh system.

Google’s no stranger to Wi-Fi {hardware}, getting began with the outdated OnHub routers earlier than launching its first-gen Google Wifi three years in the past. With a low-profile, engaging design, the flexibility to develop the system by way of a number of mesh-connected entry factors, and a streamlined, anxiety-free setup course of, there was already loads to love.

Now Google’s again with its follow-up, transferring to Nest branding, tweaking design and efficiency, and even including some Assistant extras. Let’s check out what you’ll be able to count on from the brand new Google Nest Wifi.

The Good

SetupLifeless easy. Like, your-parents-can-probably-handle-this easy.
AssistantTurning the mesh factors into supercharged Nest Minis is a very intelligent value-add that additionally stands to assist enhance sign power by way of public placement.
EfficiencyMy home not has “unhealthy spots” the place I would like to fret about poor or intermittent wi-fi connectivity.

The Not So Good

ValueWith the router itself going for $170, and factors $150 a bit, even with bundle financial savings issues get costly, rapidly.
App state of affairsAlthough largely good, there are a pair hiccups and conflicts that spring up with the pair of apps you may want to regulate the router.

Setup

My community atmosphere is — how we are saying — difficult. I am in a three-story home, and my fiber line enters on the highest flooring. From there I run a wired connection to my desktop and a pair smart-home hubs, and bathe a Wi-Fi sign down upon all the pieces else. And after not too long ago switching to a brand new ISP and having to ditch my outdated private router, I discovered myself working into increasingly more issues getting a dependable sign on a few of the decrease flooring. Would Nest Wifi be capable of assist me out?

Undersides of the Nest Wifi router (left), level (proper).

Getting began with a Google Nest Wifi system is simply as simple now because it was with the earlier technology. I checked out a two-pack ($270), consisting of the bottom Nest Wifi router and one distant wi-fi level to assist unfold that sign. Connecting the router means little greater than utilizing the included Ethernet cable to hyperlink it to your broadband modem, and plugging in its AC adapter.

There’s solely a single LAN port for wired gadgets, although, so should you’re connecting greater than a type of (as I wanted to), you may wish to decide up an exterior change. Fortunately, these are each low-cost and primarily plug-and-play.

If your property has but to go full-wireless, your Nest Wifi goes to want a bit of assist.

From there, you may use Google Residence so as to add the Nest Wifi to your native gadgets and start configuring its software program. In need of selecting an AP identify and establishing a password there’s not loads to do. For those who’re upgrading from an current system, you’ll be able to reuse the identical identify and password to save lots of your self the step of reconfiguring all of your gadgets.

The place ought to your distant Nest Wifi level go? I had the chance to talk with the Nest workforce earlier than establishing my community, they usually really helpful I select someplace on the second flooring of my residence, on the alternative facet from the third-floor router. That method I might have a bubble of protection extending right down to the primary flooring, whereas additionally getting some good overlap on the second and third, the place most of my gadgets dwell.

Establishing considered one of these factors is even simpler than the router: plug within the energy twine, scan its QR code with the Residence app, and also you’re set. All of the difficult stuff like discovering the optimum Wi-Fi channel occurs seamlessly behind the scenes.

{Hardware}

Google’s deliberately attempting to demystify residence networking, so it is little shock that the Nest Wifi was introduced with out a massive give attention to silicon and specs; as an alternative, Google boils issues right down to outcomes, and tells customers they’ll count on roughly 25 p.c higher protection than its final mannequin, whereas delivering speeds as much as twice as quick.

For those who do care about what’s powering this pet, Google’s outfitted the router with a quad-core 1.Four GHz CPU, 1GB of RAM, and assist for simultaneous dual-band Wi-Fi — 4×4 MIMO at 5 GHz, and 2×2 for two.Four GHz.

We additionally get a design overhaul, with Google smoothing the arduous edges of the sooner system’s “cylinder” design into rounded pod-like items. Connectivity’s the identical, with simply three ports hidden within the router’s base: Ethernet in, out, and energy. A solitary LED up entrance lets you recognize the unit’s working — no dazzling blinkenlights right here.

Google says that this look is meant to make folks really feel comfy leaving the router out within the open, making it part of their residence décor in a method that permits it to maximise sign power, reasonably than being tucked away in a closet someplace. An analogous aesthetic graces the distant Nest Wifi factors, solely now with a sequence of top-surface microphone holes and a speaker grille across the backside that reveal the factors’ bonus performance: They double as Nest Mini sensible audio system.

Packed contained in the Nest Wifi level is all of the goodness from the brand new Nest Mini.

Whereas bulkier than the Nest Mini and never sheathed in the identical material shell (though nonetheless out there in quite a lot of pastel tones), the Nest Wifi factors do all the pieces this yr’s new Minis do, like responding to capacitive contact controls. That features the identical upgrades to audio output, however Google tells me that time’s sound is even barely louder. Like common Minis, a {hardware} change disables microphone enter. A glowing ring of LEDs across the level’s base lets you recognize when it is listening, or shines orange to verify privateness.

The Nest Wifi level preserving issues on the down-low with its muted microphone.

Software program

If you first get began, as I’ve detailed when discussing setup, the Google House is nice at helpfully guiding you thru issues. As soon as configured, you may discover your router popping up amongst your Residence gadgets. Tapping on it you may see your newest pace report, in addition to a fast overview of linked gadgets.

That is additionally the place you’ll be able to arrange a visitor community to simply share with buddies, in addition to set household restrictions on any of the children’ gadgets. That permits you to filter websites for content material, in addition to “pause” the Wi-Fi on pre-defined schedules or at your guide whim.

Most of your interactions with Nest Wifi happen by way of the Google Residence app.

Diving additional into settings we get the choice to allow next-gen WPA3 safety, in addition to interact a “gaming most well-liked” mode optimized for Stadia — when that arrives. On the whole I want there have been extra choices for choosing most well-liked gadgets — these you wish to get essentially the most bandwidth and lowest latency when utilizing. Whereas any gadget may be briefly set as most well-liked, there isn’t any method to make that everlasting.

To date, so good, however you then see the “superior networking” part. Faucet that and also you’re out of Google Residence, and into the outdated Google Wifi app. Right here you’ll be able to earn your IT badge enjoying with DNS choices, IPv6, LAN and WAN settings, and port administration — all that good things. Whereas this will get the job carried out, it is bizarre to have settings unfold throughout two apps, and particularly the Google Wifi finish of it feels shoehorned in — usually I am going to bounce from Residence to Wifi and it reviews my router’s offline (it ain’t).

Community stats and superior settings within the Google Wifi app.

There are additionally blended messages coming from the 2 apps. With my present setup, performing a mesh take a look at with Google Residence tells me the take a look at went “nice” and I’ve a “good connection,” with no additional recommendation. However doing the exact same factor in Google Wifi tells me my mesh is just “OK” and advises I transfer the purpose for a stronger sign. For a router constructed on ease-of-use, that form of confusion is absolutely unlucky, and I doubt we would have this drawback if Google caught to a single app.

One final heads-up: There is not any browser-based admin. Whereas this choice completely suits with Google’s imaginative and prescient for the router, it’s a little irritating for folks extra accustomed to ironing out community settings from their PCs. Truthfully, I believe I can get used to this — it simply feels actually, actually bizarre.

Efficiency

Is the brand new Google Nest Wifi truly a superb router? In a phrase: sure. Since setting it up, virtually all of my residence connectivity points have resolved. The JBL Hyperlink Bar on my front room TV used to lose its sign if I stood inside a pair toes of it — an issue no extra. I am additionally lastly getting footage from exterior Wi-Fi cams that stopped reporting after I final swapped routers.

Greater than that, I actually recognize the instruments Google offers to achieve a bit of perception into my networking: a every day pace report serving to to maintain my ISP trustworthy, real-time device-by-device bandwidth stats, information utilization traits, and extra.

For those who’re seeking to improve from an current Google Wifi system, the brand new Nest Wifi {hardware} is backwards suitable and will help ship a pleasant efficiency enhance. To get essentially the most out of it, although, you may wish to arrange a brand new Nest Wifi community and add your earlier Google Wifi gadgets, reasonably than simply including the brand new stuff to your outdated community.

Lastly, performance is just going to get higher as time goes on, with the Nest Wifi set to obtain assist for Thread smart-home gadgets by means of a future replace.

Must you purchase it?

Google Nest Wifi


9/10
Sure. The overwhelming majority of residence customers are going to search out their networking wants completely served by the Google Nest Wifi router. It is quick, versatile, and is near-painless to arrange. Outdated hats could hem and haw concerning the app-only configuration interface, however for essentially the most half this can be a router that handles technical issues for you, and essentially the most tough query you may should reply your self is what number of distant factors you wish to decide up. Positive, it is not low-cost, however between the efficiency and ease-of-use, you completely get your cash’s price.

About Stephen Schenck

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