How Does Google Nest Wifi Work

Google Nest Wifi: Where To Buy

Google Nest WiFi | Setup & Review

Google is selling through the last of the first generation Google Wifi routers, but you can still and other major retailers.

For the Google Nest Wifi, there are a variety of router combos available. At Amazon, you can pick up a Google Nest Wifi router for $169 or a two-pack for $299.

Alternatively, you can buy a two-pack with the Google Nest Wifi and a Google Nest Wifi Point for $269 from Best Buy, or a three-pack with two Points for $349. A standalone Nest Wifi Point can be purchased for $149, but it should be noted youll need a Nest Wifi or Google Wifi to act as the primary router first.

Google Wifi Vs Nest Wifi: Performance

The biggest differences between the Google and Nest versions of Google’s mesh system are in performance and range, with the newer Nest Wifi offering faster throughput and larger coverage areas across the board.

The Google Wifi offered maximum throughput of 464.4 Mbps, which is still fairly impressive for an affordable mesh Wi-Fi system. But the Nest Wifi stepped that up substantially, with a top throughput of 653.2Mbps. That even tops some of the Wi-Fi 6 models on our best mesh routers page.

The Nest Wifi also offers better range, translating into larger coverage areas with the same number of units. Where a single Google Wifi unit covered 1,500 square feet, the Nest Wifi router covers 2,200 square feet. Adding a second or third unit only increases expanded range further, as indicated in the chart below.

Google Wifi
Up to 4500 sq ftUp to 5400 sq ft

How Google Nest Wifi And Google Wifi 24 And 5 Ghz Bands Work

Your Google Nest Wifi and Google Wifi devices keep it simple by automatically choosing the band that gives you the best Wi-Fi.

Your Google Wifi or Nest Wifi network uses the same name for both the 2.4 and 5 GHz bands. Both radio bands are active simultaneously. Keep in mind that your personal devices will connect to only one radio band at any given time. Based on the device capabilities, Google Nest Wifi and Google Wifi attempt to select the band that will deliver the best performance for your device.

This method is different from many routers. Some other routers have two separate Wi-Fi networks , which require you to manually connect to the band you want.

Every wireless device is different and has its own rules to select the best band. So its possible that your phone connects to the 2.4 GHz band, while your laptop connects to the 5 GHz band. Ultimately, your device will decide which band it will use to connect. Google Nest Wifi and Google Wifi’s Band Steering feature will attempt to guide your connected devices to the band with the best performance for each device.

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Nest Wifi Isnt Without Its Faults

As much as I enjoyed the Nest Wifi, Id be lying if I said it was perfect. Its pretty close, though. Here are a few things that arent so great about Nest Wifi:

These are probably the most significant things, though Id also point out it would have been nice to have Assistant functionality in the router and not just the Points. A Google rep told me the reason for this was to keep the device from being too bulky, and most users end up putting the router in a more hidden place anyhow. Still, I feel like adding Assistant might have encouraged folks to prominently display the router, which would lead to even better Wi-Fi since there would be potentially fewer obstructions this way.

Nest Wifi Vs The Old Google Wifi Whats The Difference

Google releases new, cheaper Google Wi

The following are a few key aspects in which the Nest Wifi differs from the old Google Wifi:

  • Nest Wifi is far more attractively designed and the Nest Wifi Points come in three colours whereas the Google Wifi Points only came in white.
  • Nest Wifi also functions as a smart speaker with voice-activated Google Assistant. This makes Nest Wifi far more functional than Google Wifi, which served only as a router.
  • The total combined speed of Nest Wifi is about 1,200 Mbps greater than Google Wifi.
  • Nest Wifi can be controlled using your voice whereas Google Wifi didnt have voice activation features.

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Option 2 Add Nest Wifi Router To An Existing Google Wifi Network

With this option, you’ll add your Nest Wifi router as an add-on point to extend the coverage of your existing Google Wifi network. This option doesn’t take advantage of the improved range and speed of the Nest Wifi router, but it allows you to keep your current Wi-Fi network settings and custom schedules.

  • If this is your first time using the Google Home app, set up a home.
  • Choose a location for your Nest Wifi router.
  • For the strongest signal, place your device at eye level, in plain view, like on a shelf or TV stand.
  • Plug your Nest Wifi router into a wall outlet. After about a minute, the light will pulse white to indicate that its on and ready for setup.
  • On your phone or tablet, open the Google Home app .
  • New device.
  • Choose a home.
  • It should find your Nest Wifi device. Tap Yes to continue. If you have multiple devices available for setup, select your Nest Wifi router.
  • Scan the QR code on the bottom of your Nest Wifi router.
  • Hold your phone about 5 inches away to scan. Learn more tips for scanning QR codes.
  • If youre unable to scan the QR code, tap Continue without scanning, then enter the setup key on the bottom of your device.
  • If your Google Wifi network was set up in the Google Wifi app, choose Add to existing OK. This will .
  • Follow the in-app instructions to complete setup.
  • If youd like to add another Wifi device, tap Yes in the app to continue or follow the steps to add an additional point or router at a later time.
  • Is The Google Nest Wifi Faster Than Google Wifi

    In a word: Yes

    The Google Nest Wifi supports AC2200 MU-MIMO Wi-Fi with 4 x 4 antennas. This covers a theoretical maximum of 2,200Mbps with 400Mbps on the single 2.4GHz band and 1,733Mbps on 5GHz across two bands. Its powered by a 1.4GHz quad-core processor and 1GB of RAM.

    Meanwhile, the Google Wifi supports AC1200 with 2 x 2 antennas for a total maximum of 1,200Mbps across one 2.4GHz band and one 5GHz band. Its also got half the amount of RAM and a weaker quad-core 710Mhz processor.

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    What that means in practice is that youll be able to connect far more devices to the Nest Wifi before your bandwidth starts straining.

    Both routers hit the Wi-Fi 5 standard and support beamforming, as well as Googles own special tech, which switches signal between bands as you move around your house to maintain the strongest connection.

    If youve got an ultra-fast connection capable of 300-500Mbps speeds, there are technically better options out there, though very few routers are as user-friendly as Googles. Also, the lack of Wi-Fi 6 support removes a bit of future-proofing from both models.

    Its also worth noting that the Google Nest Wifi Points are scaled back to AC1200 with the same antennas as the regular Google Wifi, though they are still a little more powerful in raw specs. If you want the fastest speeds throughout your home or business, youll need the Nest Wifi units, not the Points.

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    Pushkar Sharma Product Manager Google

    Pushkar lives in a fairly large house with a large backyard. He had two issues.

  • He couldnt get a signal in his backyard
  • His daughters bedroom often drops to low speeds
  • His one simple solution was to add a Nest Wifi point to his daughters bedroom at the back of the house. His daughter now gets super-fast connection for her Chromebook and Pushkar can make Google Duo video calls on his phone to his parents while he sits outside soaking up the sun.

    Google Nest Cam Outdoor Pricing

    How we improved our home wifi with the Google Nest Wifi | Full Review

    None of Google Nests products are known for being nice to your budget. Nest almost always has the best tech around, and that comes at a price.

    That said, the Google Nest Cam Outdoor is a bit of an older model, so youll pay less than you would for the Nest Cam Outdoor IQ . If you still want a high-quality Google Nest camera, but looking to save some money, the Nest Cam Outdoor is a good option. Plan to spend around two hundred dollars.

    Model
    • Multi-day cloud storage

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    How Do I Use My Google Home Without A Wifi

    You cannot use it without Wifi. But if you need your Google Home to work, you can create your own Wifi with a Hotspot from your phone.

    However, this will make you install Google Home as a new device in your Google Home app on your smartphone. Its an okay workaround if you really need it, but if you can be without your Google Home until your home Wifi gets back to work, I would wait.

    If you dont own any Wifi connectivity, I wouldnt recommend you buy a Google Home in the first place. Go for a normal Bluetooth speaker for this. You can even get many Google Assistant-enabled Bluetooth speakers that work 100% the same as a Google Home. I know Libratone and Sonos are making great Bluetooth speakers with both Google Assistant and Alexa enabled.

    Google Wifi Vs Nest Wifi: Security

    Since the first Google Wifi, Google has built security features into its mesh Wi-Fi products.

    The 2016 Google Wifi boasted an Infineon Trusted Platform Module that encrypts network traffic and verifies firmware installations to protect the entire network at the router level. You can also pause the internet connection to one or all devices in the home.

    But the Google Wifi lacks any built-in malware protections, and doesn’t offer any substantial parental controls, like content filtering or deeper access controls.

    The Nest Wifi, on the other hand, adds precisely the sort of features that the Google Wifi was missing. It keeps the TPM-based encryption, and upgrades to WPA 3 security another bit of security that was added to the 2020 version of Google Wifi.

    But the Nest Wifi also gets some better parental controls. The ability to pause Wi-Fi access is enhanced with the ability to schedule Internet time-outs or set routines to disconnect the kid’s devices for scheduled events like homework or bedtime. Parents can also filter content by site, applying Google SafeSearch to block millions of inappropriate adult websites.

    The best part? These parental controls can be accessed right from your smartphone, or through Google Assistant including the Google Home built into the Nest Wifi points throughout the house.

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    Google Nest Wifi Review: Simple Speedy Mesh Internet And A Great Foundation For Google Smart Homes

    When I first pulled the lid off of the box, the whole thing slipped out of my hands and the hardware inside toppled right out. I could only watch in horror as Google’s marshmallowy mesh router thunked to the ground and rolled across my living room’s hardwood floor.

    The Good

    The Bad

    The Bottom Line

    Fortunately, this system is idiot-proof — and not just when it comes to sudden, spontaneous drop tests. You plug it in, you do what the app says, and 10 minutes later your new mesh network is up and running and spreading a Wi-Fi signal throughout your house that’s about as speedy as you could reasonably expect. It’s as easy as setting up a smart speaker, because in addition to extending the Nest Wifi Router’s range, each Nest Wifi Point is, itself, a smart speaker. You get one of each — the Google Nest Wifi Router and a Nest Wifi Point with built-in microphones and surprisingly adequate bass — for $269 .

    The Nest Wifi Router, left, and a range-extending Nest Wifi Point. The holes on the top of the Point are for the far-field microphones it uses to listen for your Google Assistant voice commands.

    Still, the Nest Wifi proved fast, reliable and easy to use, and it edged out the Eero and Orbi in my speed tests . It doesn’t support the latest, fastest version of Wi-Fi, called Wi-Fi 6, but that only really matters if you expect to have an internet connection that’s faster than 500 megabits per second or so within the next few years .

    Nest Wifi: New Design

    Nest Wifi first look: Google combines a smart speaker and a router ...

    Though it’s not as exciting as a built-in smart speaker or extensive smart home compatibility, Google has also updated the design of the Nest Wifi system. Instead of the stark white cylinders of the Google Wifi from three years ago, the new models are strongly influenced by the rounded shapes of the Google Home Mini, and offer marshmallow-esque looks with soft, rounded edges and simple, nearly featureless exteriors.

    Nest Wifi is available in three colors, Snow, Sand and Mist. And, the devices enclosures are made with 40 to 45 percent post-consumer recycled plastic, making the eco-conscious, as well.

    Brian Westover is currently Lead Analyst, PCs and Hardware at PCMag. Until recently, however, he was Senior Editor at Tom’s Guide, where he led the site’s TV coverage for several years, reviewing scores of sets and writing about everything from 8K to HDR to HDMI 2.1. He also put his computing knowledge to good use by reviewing many PCs and Mac devices, and also led our router and home networking coverage. Prior to joining Tom’s Guide, he wrote for TopTenReviews and PCMag.

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    Google Nest Wifi Advantages

    So how does Google Nest Wifi benefit you?

    Well, traditional Wifi routers have the following issues:

    • They look ugly and dont serve any function besides transmitting the Wifi signal. As such, you want to hide them away somewhere no one can see them. You want to hide them in a corner or in your closet or some other discreet location. But that also limits their abilities to transmit the signal effectively. Wifi routers should ideally be placed in a central location at around waist height.
    • Traditional Wifi routers cant cover large spaces. All devices have to be in close proximity to the Wifi router to receive a signal.

    Google Nest Wifi effectively addresses and resolves both of these issues.

    First, Google Nest Wifi is an attractive and minimally designed wireless router. It also serves an actual purpose its a smart speaker with Google voice controls. This means you dont have to hide it away but can keep it on display prominently.

    Ben Brown, Google product lead for the Nest Wifi, said: We realized that performance for the Wifi Point would double if it was off the floor, not hidden in a closet. Having a great design, having something you actually want to interact with, and having the Assistant on the device makes it actually so it’s a much better Wifi system.

    Second, Google Nest Wifi as already mentioned is a mesh router system. As such, it connects to the other Points around your property and disperses the wireless signal for effective coverage around your house.

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