Google Nest Wifi Pro review

Google’s latest mesh router, the Nest Wifi Pro ($199.99), is a wifi router 6e which uses the relatively sparsely populated 6 GHz radio band and offers support for emerging wireless technologies, including Thread and Matter smart home device standards. Like previous Nest routers, it’s tastefully designed and easy to install, though we were disappointed to find that the 6GHz radio band doesn’t have its own SSID. The router scored respectably in our performance tests, but you’ll get faster performance, multi-gigabit networking, and direct access to the 6GHz band’s SSID with our Editors’ Choice pick of Wi-Fi 6E mesh routers, the Eero Pro 6E.

Design and Features

For our review, Google shipped a single Nest Wifi Pro router, which provides up to 2,200 square feet of coverage. For larger homes, you can purchase a two-pack ($299.99) or a three-pack ($399.99), covering 4,400 or 6,600 square feet, respectively. Each router measures 5.1 by 4.6 by 3.3 inches (HWD) and is designed to sit out in the open on a table or shelf, rather than hiding in a corner or on the floor. Color options include snow (white), linen (off-white), lemongrass (yellow), and mist (light green).

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Google Nest Wifi Pro in four colors

(Credit: Google)

You won’t find any buttons on the router, though a small LED indicator on the front flashes white during startup, blue during setup, and yellow when internet connection is lost. (It is solid white when fully connected.) On the back are two 1 Gbps Ethernet ports, one used for WAN connectivity; the second can be used as a LAN port or for wired backhaul between nodes. Unlike the Eero Pro 6E, the Nest Wifi Pro doesn’t have multi-gigabit network ports. Google’s router also doesn’t have USB ports for sharing storage devices, though to be fair, low-profile mesh systems rarely offer USB connectivity.

Rear view of Google Nest Wifi Pro

(Credit: Google)

As a Wi-Fi 6E mesh router, Nest Wifi Pro can broadcast on the 6GHz radio band, as well as the 2.4GHz and 5GHz radio bands. It supports frequency division multiple access data transmissions (OFDMA), WPA3 encryption, MU-MIMO data simulcast, direct-to-client beamforming, and 160 MHz channel transmissions. It also has built-in support for Thread(Opens in a new window)an emerging protocol for connecting IoT devices like smart lights and thermostats, and Subjecta connectivity standard designed to provide compatibility between smart home devices, regardless of brand.

The router is powered by a dual-core ARM processor with 1 GB of RAM and 4 GB of flash memory. It is an AX5400 device that can achieve maximum speeds of 600 Mbps on the 2.4 GHz band and 2400 Mbps on the 5 GHz or 6 GHz band. Although it supports 6 GHz radio transmissions, as mentioned above, there is no Dedicated SSID for connecting devices directly to the 6 GHz band. Band selection is handled automatically using band steering technology.

Controlled with the Google Home app, the router appears in a panel below the room you assigned to it during setup. When you tap the panel, a pop-up screen tells you the status of the Nest Wifi Pro (online and connected, or offline and disconnected), but it doesn’t tell you if any clients are connected. A Run Speed ​​Test button near the bottom of the screen lets you measure internet download and upload speeds, while a gear icon in the top right takes you to the device’s Settings screen.

Settings are limited. A Preferred Activities tab lets you optimize the router for video calls and gaming, but it lacks options for assigning bandwidth priority to specific clients or applications. Wi-Fi settings are limited to enabling WPA3 encryption and 160 MHz channel broadcasts. You get some parental controls, called Family Wi-Fi, that let you apply restricted access rules to groups of devices that use Wi-Fi technology. Google’s SafeSearch filtering to automatically block access to websites that contain adult content. However, you don’t get the age-based parental control filters or anti-malware software tools that you get with the TP-Link Deco XE75 Pro mesh system.

Other settings let you create a guest network, toggle privacy settings, and set up notifications that let you know when a new device has joined the network or Wi-Fi connectivity is lost. Advanced settings allow you to enable UPnP and IPv6, configure DNS settings, choose a WAN connection (DHCP, static, PPOE), change LAN settings (IP address or subnet mask), and manage port forwarding rules.

Google Nest Wifi Pro test: performance on par

Installing Nest Wifi Pro couldn’t be easier. If you don’t have the Google Home app, you’ll need to install it and create an account. I started by connecting the router and tapped “Set up Nest Wifi router” on the home screen.

After a few seconds, the router was recognized. I then tapped Next and used my phone’s camera to scan the QR code at the bottom of the device, clicking Yes when prompted to join the network; the router connected immediately. I created a Wi-Fi network name and password, gave the router a location in my home, and waited a few seconds for the network to be created. It took a few minutes for the router to reboot and the installation was complete.

Since you cannot disable band steering, our performance test results were based on the router’s ability to select the optimal band and do not include separate scores for 2.4GHz, 5GHz, and 6GHz. I was able to verify that my test device, a Samsung Galaxy S21 UltraI was connected to the 6GHz band during my tests, in which the Nest Wifi Pro returned very respectable results.

In our proximity test (performed within five feet of the router), I clocked the Google router at 909 Mbps. That bordered on the motorola q14 and TP-Link XE75 Pro (900 Mbps each), but lagging behind Asus Zen Wi-Fi ET8 (918 Mbps) and the Eero Pro 6E (922 Mbps). In the 30-foot test, the Nest Wifi Pro matched Motorola’s throughput of 372 Mbps, imperceptibly faster than TP-Link and Asus (371 Mbps each). The Eero Pro 6E led the pack with 375 Mbps.

we measure signal strength using a Ten Sidekick Wi-Fi diagnostic device and Ekahau Survey mobile app to generate a heat map showing signal strength from a router throughout our test home. (Disclosure: Ekahau is owned by PCMag’s parent company, Ziff Davis.) The circle on the map represents the location of the router, and the colors represent the signal strength: dark green for the strongest signal, yellow for the weakest, and gray for not. measurable reception. These tests reflect a signal combined with the router selecting the appropriate band as I moved around the house.

Google Nest Wifi Pro coverage map

(Credit: Three)

As shown in the map above, the Nest Wifi Pro provided a strong signal to the central area of ​​the house, but it was weaker in rooms farther from the router and in the garage. To be fair, we generally review mesh systems with two or three nodes, so it’s safe to say that a secondary node here would send a much stronger signal to the yellow areas.

Verdict: Simple 6E

If you’re looking to upgrade your home network and want a mesh system that supports the latest smart home technologies, the Google Nest Wifi Pro is a solid choice. It’s a tri-band Wi-Fi 6E router, which means it can take advantage of the fast, uncrowded 6GHz radio band, and it’s compatible with emerging wireless technology like Matter and Thread.

Google Nest Wifi Pro router

(Credit: Google)

While the Nest is a great performer, the Eero Pro 6E maintains our Editors’ Choice award thanks to its slightly faster performance, multi-gigabit connectivity, and the option to connect directly to the 6GHz SSID.

The bottom line

Google’s Nest Wifi Pro is an attractive Wi-Fi 6E mesh router that’s easy to set up and use, but its features and settings are limited.

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