Google’s Nest Wifi Pro is a dead simple way to bring Wi-Fi 6E home • TechCrunch


Quick warning to up. This is not a review. TechCrunch does the reviews. This is not one. There are several reasons for this. First, last week was Disrupt – I was busy on the other side of the country. Second, this week is my COVID week (Third round, other than that self-explanatory with limited production). Third, we rarely review routers here, for many reasons, including resources.

However, the Nest Wifi Pro is now available, so I’m sticking with some of my initial impressions on the page, after setting it up and using it for a few days. Hope this helps if you’ve been eyeing one since it was revealed earlier in the month. If I need something more important than my arrogant mind can offer at the moment, I totally get it. We have a lot of big reviews planned on the horizon.

Let’s start with what Nest WiFi Pro He is not. It’s “Pro” in the sense of where it fits in the broader Google Wifi line. It’s a home router, looks nice and easy to set up. There are faster and more powerful routers out there. There are more flexible and customizable routers. However, if you’re looking for a Wi-Fi 6E-capable router that works right out of the box, it’s hard to beat.

Image credits: Brian Heater

This is important to note with such products. At $199, this is a solid entry into the Wi-Fi 6E area. If you’re looking for a quick internet boost in your home, and your old, dusty router is starting to get ghostly, you’ll be hard-pressed to find a better system that “just works” out of the box. I say this with the authority of someone who spent their own hours on the phone with terrible ISP customer support, due to some dummy ghost in the company’s routers machine. Amazing how often the fix is ​​for someone to flip the switch on their end.

As someone who hosts a lot of podcasts and live videos, I’m pretty late to doing a wireless upgrade myself. There are more embarrassing things that can happen to someone in a live stream, but we won’t get into them here. Suffice it to say that a strong and stable internet connection is an important part of doing my job.

Another caveat I should mention before we go any further is the one I often give while testing technology related to a smart home: I live in New York City. This means, among other things, better, that I have a relatively small living area. Specifically, I’m in one bedroom. Google is clocking the Nest Wifi Pro’s coverage area at 2,200 square feet (4,400 square feet for two packages, 6,600 for three, etc.). One-bedroom units in New York City range in size from about 600-800 square feet.

Image credits: Brian Heater

With that in mind, one device was plentiful. Speeds can fluctuate during the day, but I’ve found my speeds to be fairly consistent, no matter how close I am to the router. If I’m on the fence about whether one device is enough, it should be more than enough for anything under 1,000 square feet. As you approach 2,000 square feet, the package begins to make more sense. The bottom line UX is that it’s easy to add Google network routers down the road (although you won’t get that packet savings).

The setup process will prove familiar if you set up most smart home products – Google/Nest in particular, for obvious reasons. There isn’t much to the device from a user’s perspective (again, that’s intentional). The design is arguably simpler than its predecessor. It’s taller and thinner, matte has been replaced by a simple glossy job. The mileage on this latter will vary, but as with other Nest products, this one is designed – above all – to blend in with its surroundings.

There are three ports: power and a pair of Ethernet – one for the modem and one for connecting one device. That last part is a potential limiter, of course, such as the 1Gbps upper limit on built-in Ethernet (to help keep the system under $200, one would imagine). This may or may not be a problem, depending on your specific plan. If you have fiber, for example, you will get choked. I’m stuck with Spectrum at the moment (I know, I know), so no problem there.

But you obviously don’t want a device sitting between you and a wall slowing down your internet speeds. Either way, the service you’re using will determine your maximum speeds.

Image credits: Brian Heater

Download the Google Home app to get started, you’ll be taken to a straightforward setup process, and soon you can snap a screenshot of the QR code on the product’s underside. The paper start guide included in the box consists of three basic steps (router, download the app, follow on-screen instructions) and two images spread out on two small pages. I wouldn’t say that’s all you need for sure, but if you don’t run into any hiccups (always in mind with networking hardware), it should be plenty.

The Nest Wifi was a pretty good system, and honestly, if you buy one, you probably won’t need to rush and upgrade. Its combined Wi-Fi 5 speed topped its advertised speed of 2.2 Gbps versus the Wifi Pro’s 5.4 Gbps. Keep in mind that both are grouped across all three domains. Let’s just say they are very optimistic numbers.

Here’s Wi-Fi Alliance CEO Edgar Figueroa starting in 2020 on upgrading from Wi-Fi 5:

6GHz will help meet the growing need for Wi-Fi spectrum capacity to ensure that Wi-Fi users continue to receive the same great user experience with their devices. The Wi-Fi Alliance now offers Wi-Fi 6E to ensure industry compliance with common terminology, allowing Wi-Fi users to select devices that support 6GHz operation when spectrum is available.

Image credits: Brian Heater

Another important note here: The Pro is not backward compatible with Nest Wifi. This means that you cannot mix and match. That’s a shame, because you can find some really good deals on old standard Nest Wifi devices right now. The other little thing to note here is that, unlike its predecessor, there’s no built-in smart speaker here. But as I write this, you can currently buy the Nest Mini directly from Google for $20, so you can buy it.

Google Nest devices bring some other cool items to the table, like dedicated guest networks, parental controls and in-flight security updates. For a quick and easy way to get your home Wi-Fi up and running at high speed (including access to the 6GHz band), along with some family-friendly features, this is a tough package to beat. The Pro runs $200 for one, $300 for two and $400 for three.

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