Google’s new Nest Wi-Fi Pro is a wonderful improve for those who’re coming from an current Google router. I noticed considerably quicker speeds, improved reliability, and better efficiency on the Nest Wifi Pro — which provides Wi-Fi 6 and 6E — in comparison with the earlier Nest Wifi system and its Wi-Fi 5. It could possibly’t deal with multi-gig speeds, however that’s (sadly) not going to be an issue for most individuals. And whereas initially, I skilled gradual speeds and excessive latency within the furthest rooms from the principle router, a software program replace that arrived throughout my testing fastened this, leading to constant speeds all through my dwelling.

The Nest Pro can also be one of many few routers that received’t seem like a useless spider in your sideboard. And whereas it’s not a excessive bar, these are the best-looking Wi-Fi routers you should purchase. In addition to white, the Nest Pro is available in pale blue, beige, or yellow, which can mix in better with your house decor. Whereas I’m not a giant fan of the shiny end — it’s a bit distracting — they nonetheless look better out within the open (the perfect place for the perfect sign) than most different routers. 

HOW WE RATE AND REVIEW PRODUCTS

As a mesh networking system, the Nest Wifi Pro’s closest competitor is the Eero Wifi Pro 6E. Like Eero, Google is concentrating on individuals who need one thing that’s nice-looking, dependable, straightforward to make use of, and that can work nicely with their good dwelling, fairly than networking specialists or individuals who need hands-on management of each side of their networking setup. 

In testing, the Nest Pro has some benefits over the Eero. Whereas its speeds had been barely slower, they had been extra constant all through the home, and Google gives without cost some options that Eero locks behind a month-to-month subscription. However Nest’s fastened 6GHz backhaul can battle to keep up constant speeds on the nodes furthest from the router, and it solely has 1Gbps ethernet ports, so it might probably’t deal with multi-gig connections. 

Design and options

Nest Wifi Pro routers on a table.

The Nest Wifi Pro looks better on a sideboard than most of its rivals.

The Nest Pro is a tri-band WiFi 6E router with one 2.4GHz, one 5GHz, and one 6GHz band. That final one is new. It offers the few 6GHz succesful gadgets — principally flagship Android telephones and a number of gaming laptops — a fats new, uncluttered band to hurry alongside on.

However the 6Ghz band’s essential job right here is to behave as a devoted backhaul, turning a number of Nest Pro items right into a mesh community. Every Pro router can assist as much as 100 gadgets, and the system helps theoretical most speeds of 2400 Mbps on 5GHz and 6GHz and a bit beneath 600 Mbps on 2.4GHz. That’s greater than double the mixed speeds of the last-gen Nest Wifi. 

These are theoretical maximums. In apply, you may solely join to 1 band at a time, you received’t see anyplace near the utmost velocity on any single system (particularly not on 2.4GHz or 5GHz), and the Pro’s ethernet ports are capped at 1 Gigabit anyway. You probably have multi-gig web, you’ll be losing cash.

The Nest Wifi Pro is a good all-rounder that delivers stable, dependable Wi-Fi.

If you’re upgrading from a Nest Wifi or one other Wifi 5 router, you acquire each Wi-Fi 6 and Wi-Fi 6E, plus the choice to modify on 160 MHz channels on the 5GHz band, which may enhance throughput on the threat of interference from neighboring indicators. All this translated into considerably improved speeds and efficiency utilizing the Nest Pro over the common Nest Wifi in my checks. 

Google sells the Nest Wifi Pro in units of 1, two, or three items. It says one router covers as much as 2,200 sq. toes. In my 2,200-square-foot, two-story split-level dwelling with over 120 gadgets related to the Wi-Fi, I knew one wasn’t going to chop it.

Simply to ensure, I arrange a single unit in my lounge subsequent to the modem and noticed speeds as little as 12 Mbps down and 7 Mbps upstream in my upstairs rooms, and 64/16 in my workplace, simply down the corridor from the principle router. As soon as I added one node in my workplace and one upstairs to cowl the bedrooms, the system was capable of ship extra dependable speeds from my Xfinity service. 

A Nest Wifi Pro router on a table next to a Nest Audio speaker.

The Nest Wifi Pro has an analogous form to the Nest Audio speaker, however as a substitute of material, it opted for a shiny plastic that can not less than be simpler to wash.

In contrast to the first-gen Nest Wifi, Google has finished away with its lower-specced “Factors,” and now all of the nodes have the identical {hardware}, together with two Gigabit ethernet ports. I’ll miss the built-in good speaker from the Factors, however that’s a straightforward commerce for 2 ethernet ports. (I’d like extra, however these nicer-looking mesh routers are typically restricted to 2.)

With these ports, the Pro system now helps wired backhaul, which is perhaps mandatory if in case you have a multi-story home for the reason that solely different backhaul possibility is the 6GHz band, which has shorter vary and extra bother penetrating stable objects than 2.4GHz and 5GHz. 

The Nest Pro shouldn’t be a pro-level system, regardless of its identify. You possibly can allow some semi-advanced options, like WPA3, 160MHz channel width on the 5GHz band, and IPv6, nevertheless it doesn’t offer you a lot granular management of your community. You possibly can’t, for instance, break up 2.4GHz, 5 GHz, and 6GHz into separate SSIDs, create VLANs, pressure gadgets to connect with a sure entry level solely, change channels and transmitting energy, or change the backhaul band. Most individuals don’t want or need that stage of management; they only need one thing that works.

The Nest Pro’s reliance on 6GHz backhaul looks like a limiting issue.  

Largely, the Nest Pro does simply work. Setup is all finished throughout the Google Residence app, which guides you thru creating your community and positioning the nodes. (If you’re switching over from an previous router, you should definitely try my article on the way to swap out your router with out disconnecting all of your gadgets).

The Residence app can also be the place you’ll discover the considerably restricted parental controls, distant community administration, visitor community setup, knowledge consumption stats, and an summary of your related gadgets. Eero prices $10 a month or $100 a 12 months for a lot of of those options, whereas Google’s are free. 

The app managed to accurately establish about 70 p.c of my 100-plus gadgets, which isn’t unhealthy, although I nonetheless can’t work out which one is my Oculus Quest 2. System identification is useful for organising a Household Wifi characteristic that permits you to assign particular gadgets to members of the family and schedule Wi-Fi entry, which is helpful for managing display screen time for youthful youngsters. 

I like with the ability to pause Wi-Fi on my daughter’s pill with a voice command to a Google Assistant speaker. Whilst you can activate Google’s SafeSearch to dam grownup websites, you may’t block particular websites or even classes (corresponding to social media or buying), a functionality Eero gives — for a charge. 

One other minor however helpful characteristic is the choice to show a QR code and / or SSID and password for a visitor community on a Google Nest show. This makes it straightforward for buddies and household to get on-line with out bothering you whilst you’re stuffing a turkey.

Like Eero methods, the Nest Pro is managed by cloud software program. Google says it routinely prioritizes important actions, corresponding to video calls, and “continually optimizes community visitors by switching bands routinely if congestion pops up.” You possibly can’t override any of those options, however you may not less than disable them, which isn’t an possibility with Eero. Google warns you that the system received’t carry out as nicely with out them.

Nest Wifi Pro router on a table next to an Eero router.

The Nest Wifi Pro (left) and the Eero Pro 6E. The latter can get quicker speeds and gives extra strong parental controls, however prices extra, and some options require a subscription.

In contrast to Eero, Nest Pro gives the choice to prioritize a single system in your community, which is useful once you’re attempting to get work finished, and your youngsters are streaming Netflix and Fortnite concurrently. In apply, I didn’t discover a major distinction on my work pc, however I additionally didn’t have points earlier than I enabled it. Folks with slower broadband speeds will probably see extra profit. 

New with the Nest Pro is a Most popular Actions possibility that permits you to prioritize video conferencing and / or gaming for “improved wifi efficiency.” Once more, I didn’t see any noticeable change throughout my testing. These settings are very broad. It could be good to see some extra granular management right here. 

Efficiency

Total, I used to be impressed with the Nest Pro. I received a robust, constant Wi-Fi sign throughout the home and might stream 4K video, play VR on an Oculus Quest 2, and work on my laptop computer reliably in each room.

The wired PC in my furthest flung bed room was capable of proceed my son’s on-line gaming behavior effectively — consider me, I’d hear about it in any other case — and my 100-plus good dwelling gadgets stayed related and responsive (specifically, my Nest gadgets — extra on that in a bit).

With a median wired throughput of just below 500 Mbps from my Xfinity modem – just like different routers I’ve examined — I noticed common Wi-Fi speeds of 350 Mbps down and 30 Mbps up all through the home. Video calls additionally labored tremendous, hopping easily from one node to a different as I moved round the home.

On common, single-device throughput from the principle router was slower on the Nest Wifi Pro than the Eero Pro 6E, however the Nest system had extra constant velocity all through the home, whereas the Eeros did considerably better when the gadgets had been nearer to the nodes. 

Obtain and add speeds are reported in megabits per second (Mbps), and are a median of three checks, run on a community outputting a median of 497 Mbps down and 30 Mbps up on the time of testing.

Once I check mesh networks, I often put a node upstairs on a desk within the rear bed room so I can hardwire my son’s gaming PC. A straight line from there to the principle router goes by way of a bed room wall, a closet, one other wall, a flooring, and a few toilet partitions.

This can be a lot to ask of the 6Ghz band, which already has a tough time with stable objects. However that’s the place I wanted the router, and the Eero Pro 6 and Pro 6E nodes I’ve examined carried out nicely there (however the Nest Wifi level from the primary gen system actually struggled).

Once I first arrange the Nest Pro node right here, the Google Residence app mentioned the connection was good, however in testing, each throughput and latency had been unhealthy, and the Residence app ultimately reported the mesh connection as poor. 

Nest Wifi Pro specs

  • AXE5400 Wi-Fi 6E Tri-band concurrent 2:2:2 (802.11ax) with assist for 160MHz channels in 5GHz and 6GHz
  • 2.4GHz: 2×2 (600Mbps)
  • 5GHz: 2×2 (2400Mbps)
  • 6GHz: 2×2 (2400Mbps)
  • 100 gadgets per router
  • Twin-core 64-bit ARM CPU
  • 1GB Ram, 4GB Flash
  • WPA3 encryption
  • Computerized Wi-Fi optimization
  • Thread radio
  • Bluetooth Low Power 
  • Matter (coming quickly)
  • Protection: 1-pack as much as 2200 sq. toes, 2-pack as much as 4400 sq. toes of protection, 3-pack as much as 6600 sq. toes, 4-pack as much as 8800 sq. toes of protection

A Wi-Fi analyzer app clocked the sign from the lounge, measured subsequent to the node, at -75dBm, which is simply too tenuous for a dependable backhaul. My laptop computer was getting wi-fi speeds of 165/5. Nevertheless, a software program replace Google pushed throughout testing to deal with complaints from some customers that their speeds had been being capped at 50Mbps, considerably improved the efficiency of my check setup. Wi-Fi and wired speeds upstairs nearly doubled, making them per the speeds I used to be getting in the remainder of the home. 

Google says it makes use of the 6GHz band backhaul solely as a result of there’s way more accessible airspace than on the 5GHz band, letting it run 160MHz channels with out working into interference. Sanjay Noronha, Google Nest Wifi’s product lead, instructed me this offers it as much as twice the velocity and a extra dependable connection than the Nest Wifi. “Even for those who do not need a single 6GHz succesful consumer system in your house, you’re seeing a a lot better stage of Wi-Fi efficiency because of that 6Ghz spine,” he mentioned.

However because the 6GHz sign has decrease penetration than 2.4 or 5GHz bands, it appears a less-than-ideal selection for backhaul. Noronha says Google has “designed the {hardware}” round this problem — when it comes to the variety of streams, the antenna design, and the ability amplifiers. However, whereas speeds improved after the replace, I nonetheless wanted the three nodes to get a robust sufficient sign in each room of my home. 

When related through ethernet to the upstairs node, the wired PC averaged 228 Mbps on the Nest versus 366 Mbps on the Eeros. The Nest additionally had greater latency, probably on account of that 6GHz backhaul. Eero claims its methods can dynamically alter their backhaul band relying on sign energy, however the Nest methods are caught on 6GHz until you employ a wired backhaul. 

Sensible dwelling knowledge privateness: Nest Wifi Pro

Bringing related gadgets into your house additionally brings with it issues about how the info they accumulate is protected. The Verge looks at how every firm whose good dwelling merchandise we assessment handles your knowledge.

Google outlines the kinds of knowledge it collects from its related dwelling gadgets on its Privateness FAQ, and its commonplace Privateness Coverage covers these, too. For Nest Wifi privateness knowledge, Google has a assist web page outlining the info it collects and how one can handle it.

The principle knowledge a Wi-Fi router collects are Wi-Fi channel, sign energy, and system varieties. It says that is wanted to optimize your Wi-Fi efficiency. Google says it doesn’t observe the web sites you go to or accumulate the content material of any visitors in your community, and MAC addresses are saved domestically inside your system and retrieved by the Google Residence App solely as wanted.

Within the Residence app, you may activate or off cloud companies and Wi-Fi level stats within the Privateness Settings part. However options like Visitor Community, Household WiFi, and knowledge utilization stats received’t work with cloud companies turned off.

This inflexibility additionally means Wi-Fi 6E gadgets can’t actually use the Nest Wifi Pro’s 6GHz band on the nodes and not using a efficiency penalty. When related to the upstairs node, my Pixel 6 — which helps the 6GHz band — received simply 191 Mbps down in comparison with 315 Mbps from the iPhone 14 on the 5GHz band. Nevertheless, when it was related to the principle router, i received the quickest speeds I clocked on any system, at 622 Mbps.

You probably have a multi-story home with out ethernet within the partitions and need high speeds in your high flooring, it’s best to most likely have a look at a special networking resolution or plan to make use of greater than three nodes. The Nest Wifi Pro’s reliance on 6GHz backhaul looks like a limiting issue.  

Keep in mind that single-device throughput measurements are only a proxy for vary and sign energy. Until you’re downloading giant information or transferring them between gadgets in your community, most gadgets received’t want that a lot bandwidth. For instance, streaming 4K UHD video on a single system requires round 25 Mbps.

What’s extra vital is how dependable and secure your community is with a lot of stuff on it working concurrently: a number of folks streaming, doing video requires work, enjoying video games, together with any good dwelling gadgets doing their factor. This will all add up. By this metric, the Nest Wifi Pro carried out very nicely after the software program replace. I had no points with gradual speeds, unresponsiveness, or congestion, and I by no means wanted to reboot the system. 

The back of a Nest Wifi Pro router on a table next to a window.

The Nest Wifi Pro sports activities two Gigabit ethernet ports on every router.

Anecdotally, I discovered that the Nest safety cameras and Nest Hub good shows labored extra reliably on the Nest Wifi Pro system than on the Eero Pro 6E community. They stayed on the 5GHz channel persistently as a substitute of bouncing between 2.4GHz and 5GHz, which induced gradual load occasions once I examined the new Nest Doorbell wired. The Nest Hub Max — which might continuously lose connection and reboot on the Eero system — didn’t do it as soon as on the Nest community.

I requested Google about this, and Noronha mentioned whereas they don’t prioritize Nest gadgets over these from different producers, they do check their gadgets extensively with their Wi-Fi system and optimize them to carry out in addition to doable.

Whereas I haven’t been capable of check this but, the Nest Wifi Pro’s {hardware} ought to make a wonderful basis in your good dwelling. Every router has a Thread radio inbuilt. This shall be key when assist for the new good dwelling commonplace Matter arrives on Google Residence gadgets, as it’ll flip Nest Wifi Pro routers into Thread border routers, able to connecting Thread good dwelling gadgets, in addition to Matter controllers.

This implies once you purchase any Matter good dwelling system — corresponding to a sensible plug, mild, or door lock — you received’t have to fret about having a separate hub or whether or not it’s appropriate along with your Google Residence app. If it’s Matter and / or Thread, it’ll work in your house. 

Must you purchase it?

In case your web velocity is lower than 1 gigabit per second, your house isn’t monumental, you don’t want superior networking options, and you need one thing that’s easy to make use of and largely dependable even with loads of good dwelling gadgets on the community, the Google Nest Wifi Pro is a good possibility.

You probably have greater than gigabit speeds, the Eero Pro 6E shall be a better match, relying on worth. When it launched, a three-pack value $699 in comparison with $399 for the Nest Wifi Pro, nevertheless it’s just lately been on sale for as little as $419. Eero additionally has Thread on board and shall be up to date to assist Matter subsequent 12 months, plus it has a Zigbee good dwelling hub built-in.

Every Eero Pro 6E has a 2.5Gbps ethernet port in addition to a Gigabit port, however it’s important to pony up $10 a month for a lot of options that Google gives without cost. However that worth does embody ad-blocking, a new web backup service, and extra strong parental controls that Google doesn’t have. Plus, you get annual subscriptions to a password supervisor and VPN service, amongst different options.

The Nest Wifi Pro is a good all-rounder that will set up your smart home for success and deliver solid, reliable Wi-Fi.

The Nest Wifi Pro is a good all-rounder that can arrange your good dwelling for fulfillment and ship stable, dependable Wi-Fi.

If you’re much less inquisitive about velocity and are extra price-conscious, the Eero Pro 6 is a equally specced gigabit system that’s cheaper than the Eero Pro 6E and solely $30 greater than the Nest Wifi Pro when not on sale. Nevertheless it doesn’t supply Wi-Fi 6E, simply Wi-Fi 6. Additionally, Eero methods can use Echo and Echo Dot good audio system to increase Wi-Fi. So, you might purchase one Eero router and use Echo gadgets for additional protection. In apply, nevertheless, the Echo gadgets reduce speeds in half, in order that they aren’t as environment friendly as including one other node.  

All this makes the Nest Wifi Pro my suggestion for those who’re in search of the perfect finances 6E router. Wyze simply got here out with a Wi-Fi 6 possibility for $174, however I’d anticipate the evaluations on that. It’s the corporate’s first Wi-Fi product. 

Different choices I haven’t examined embody TP-Hyperlink’s $300 two-pack Wi-Fi 6E mesh system. However that doesn’t have Thread or Matter on board. Netgear’s Orbi Wi-Fi 6E system has loads of bells and whistles however no Thread or Matter, and it begins at $400. Both of these will provide you with extra entry to the networking nitty-gritty than Eero or Google for those who’re into that form of factor.

You probably have or are contemplating beginning a sensible dwelling, the Nest Wifi Pro is without doubt one of the first three-in-one gadgets — Matter controller, Wi-Fi router, Thread border router — in the marketplace. There’ll probably be extra, and the Eero line is being upgraded to Matter subsequent 12 months. Going ahead, it’s probably that Thread and Matter shall be constructed into each Wi-Fi entry level. However the Nest Wifi Pro shall be a good match at present for those who’re seeking to future-proof your good dwelling, don’t anticipate entry to multi-gig speeds, and wish to keep away from the useless spider aesthetic. 

Pictures by Jennifer Pattison Tuohy / The Verge

Conform to proceed: Nest WiFi Pro

Each good system now requires you to comply with a collection of phrases and situations earlier than you should utilize it — contracts that nobody really reads. It’s unattainable for us to learn and analyze each single certainly one of these agreements. However we began counting precisely what number of occasions it’s important to hit “agree” to make use of gadgets once we assessment them since these are agreements most individuals don’t learn and undoubtedly can’t negotiate.

To make use of Google’s Nest Wifi Pro, you could comply with:

The next agreements are elective:

  • Assist enhance Nest Wifi by sharing system stats and crash reviews with Google
  • Activate Nest Wifi cloud companies

Ultimate tally: three necessary agreements and two elective agreements.

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