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It has been a good outdated whereas since Google final dipped into the world of mesh programs, with the brand new Nest Wifi Professional representing a reasonably important improve to the old-gen mannequin launched manner again in 2019.
Sensible speaker help by Google Assistant is gone for this technology, however on the checklist of added options is a protracted overdue improve from Wi-Fi 5 to Wi-Fi 6E. And consequently, this seems to be one of many extra reasonably priced methods to realize entry to 6Ghz networking.
However how does this triple-pack carry out in testing? We performed a month-long check of Google’s newest mesh Wi-Fi effort in our three-bedroom home so as to discover out.
Design and setup
It is honest to say that Google understood the design project with the Nest Wifi Professional. The look is clear and unobtrusive in just about any room, and, actually, if it weren’t for the throngs of cords popping out the rear, it’d really be comparatively ornament-like.
Whether or not you decide up the system as a single unit or add on one or two nodes, every machine is similar. One will act as the principle router, although, in fact, which frees the opposite stations to be dotted round your house.
In typical Google style, setup is tremendous easy – particularly in case you’re already absolutely embedded in Google Residence and have all of your Rooms and Teams arrange. You will get clear indications relating to connection power after scanning the station’s QR code and inserting it, and, as soon as that is finished, you possibly can largely neglect about them.
They every characteristic an LED mild to indicate the community standing, however the expertise is basically pushed by the app following set up. It is about as breezy as any system we have arrange, so begin if the thought of ‘putting in’ mesh feels formidable to you.
On the rear of every, in the meantime, is the place you will discover the port setup, which includes an influence socket sitting between a pair of Ethernet ports. The plus aspect is that that is an enchancment on the singular port current on the unique Google Nest Wifi, however the dangerous information right here is that they are solely Gigabit ports.
It is quick sufficient typically, in fact, but it surely does additionally really feel like an odd omission from Google to forego 2.5 Gigabit Ethernet altogether – particularly when choices just like the Eero Professional 6E are round, in addition to top-of-the-line fashions just like the Netgear Orbi RBKE963 that stretch to a ten Gigabit Ethernet port.
Nest Wifi Professional additionally is not backward suitable with any of the older Nest Wifi stations, both, which implies legacy customers hoping to avoid wasting money will really must fully exchange their total system. Not wholly surprising, however one other potential perk that is missed out on right here.
Options and good residence help
If the design and setup sit on the fundamental finish of the spectrum, it is a theme that continues in the case of the options and general efficiency.
We usually fairly just like the interface of the Google Residence app, with issues saved comparatively neat, tidy and intuitive. Given it represents the one portal for system management, although, we predict it is missing some depth. You get some good necessities, like port forwarding, visitor community options and the flexibility to prioritize units for particular durations of time, however that is roughly the extent of your powers.
For these with youngsters, there’s really additionally the Household Security choice that means that you can set particular person machine schedules and limit sure content material by way of Google SafeSearch’s database – although that is restricted to only ‘on’ or ‘off’.
Then there are some fancy little graphs displaying you issues like utilization, and a built-in velocity check operate. In the end, although, none of those are particularly distinctive or helpful.
We predict anyone looking a super-simple mesh system will most likely be tremendous with the above, however anyone wanting to realize true management over their residence community will probably be dissatisfied.
Our largest gripe, for instance, is the actual fact you possibly can’t break up the community into three completely different SSIDs, with every little thing blanketed beneath one identify and parceling out units alongside the trio of bands.
This limitation is not distinctive to Google – loads of different mesh programs additionally do not supply this – but it surely does nonetheless current some basic points, similar to connecting good residence devices to the two.4Ghz band.
Once more, this is not one thing we have not encountered earlier than. However contemplating it is a system that is grounded within the good residence, it nonetheless feels totally weird to have tons of units – even Google ones – floating round in unconnected chaos.
On this sense, it is a minimum of a aid that the Nest Wifi Professional is ready up (considerably) for the way forward for the good residence, providing the flexibility to behave as a Matter controller and a Thread border router, just like the Google Nest Hub Max pictured with it above. Naturally, we have not been in a position to check this out, but it surely’s one of many solely future-proofed bonuses right here.
Sadly, it is simply tied up in a bundle that additionally incorporates a distinct lack of community safety features, as effectively – or, certainly, extra superior issues like dynamic DNS or VPN community connections.
Sadly, the overall efficiency of the Nest Wifi Professional would not do a lot to salvage the constraints of the design and options, both.
On paper, the actual fact it affords the newest normal of Wi-Fi ought to see it maintain its personal, however we discovered the 6Ghz band fairly exhausting to attempt to kick into gear. And with out that choice to separate bands, in fact, you are left attempting to maneuver suitable consumer units to play good with it (i.e. forgetting the networking and later reconnecting).
There is no choice for seeing or choosing channel widths throughout the app in case you’re within the UK, and this ends in not with the ability to particularly goal the 160Mhz mode that will unlock the 6Ghz band, as you appear to have the ability to do within the US. As a substitute, then, you are usually restricted to 5Ghz.
The higher information is that we did not actually endure any community dropouts, and speeds have been fairly constant each time we sporadically examined. The issue, although, is that the speeds simply aren’t overly spectacular.
They have been very akin to rival choices (and the everyday charge from our Wi-Fi 5 Virgin Media Hub 4) when throughout the identical room because the router – working roughly across the 500Mbps mark – however issues have been a little bit off when upstairs, with this dropping to round 240Mbps the place we might often count on nearer to 300Mbps. Within the loft bed room, regardless of this being the place one of many nodes was positioned, the story was related.
Worth and competitors
Analyzing the worth of the Nest Wifi Professional is an fascinating one. It might be an incredible deal for you, with the $199.99 / Â£190 single-unit choice representing excellent worth for a Wi-Fi 6E router – a minimum of on paper.
For those who take the extra probably route and go for the three-pack, that also solely extends to $399.99 / Â£379.99. The one actual like-for-like choice is the $350 / Â£350 TP-Hyperlink Deco XE75, which we’re but to check, however even that comes as only a pair.
The issue, actually, as we have illustrated above, is that you just’re not gaining portion of the advantages of different programs. And although the worth is comparatively low, it’s possible you’ll not even reliably obtain the large promoting level – entry to 6Ghz – in case you encounter the identical issues we did.
We have waited a very long time for Google to supply an replace to the ageing Nest Wifi, however this ‘Professional’ mannequin largely fails to dwell as much as expectations. Regardless of the superbly clear design, intuitive setup and up-to-date good residence options, the speeds are solely common and there seems to be a definite downside with connecting to the 6Ghz band. We nonetheless suppose this might symbolize a strong starter package for these within the US – and it’ll get extra engaging as Matter develops – but it surely’s laborious to get away from the actual fact there are higher mesh programs on the market.