Nest Wi-Fi Professional evaluate: a quicker, extra dependable mesh device

Google’s new Nest Wi-Fi Professional is a wonderful improve should you’re coming from an current Google router. I noticed considerably quicker speeds, progressed reliability, and higher efficiency at the Nest Wifi Professional — which provides Wi-Fi 6 and 6E — in comparison to the former Nest Wifi device and its Wi-Fi 5. It may possibly’t take care of multi-gig speeds, however that’s (unfortunately) now not going to be an issue for most of the people. And whilst to begin with, I skilled sluggish speeds and top latency within the furthest rooms from the principle router, a tool replace that arrived all over my trying out mounted this, leading to constant speeds during my house.

The Nest Professional may be some of the few routers that gained’t seem like a lifeless spider to your sideboard. And whilst it’s now not a top bar, those are the best-looking Wi-Fi routers you’ll purchase. In addition to white, the Nest Professional is available in light blue, beige, or yellow, which would possibly mix in higher with your house decor. Whilst It’s not that i am a large fan of the glossy end — it’s slightly distracting — they nonetheless glance higher out within the open (the finest position for the finest sign) than maximum different routers. 

HOW WE RATE AND REVIEW PRODUCTS

As a mesh networking device, the Nest Wifi Professional’s closest competitor is the Eero Wifi Professional 6E. Like Eero, Google is concentrated on individuals who need one thing that’s nice-looking, dependable, simple to make use of, and that may paintings neatly with their sensible house, reasonably than networking professionals or individuals who need hands-on keep watch over of each side in their networking setup. 

In trying out, the Nest Professional has some benefits over the Eero. Whilst its speeds had been reasonably slower, they had been extra constant during the home, and Google provides without spending a dime some options that Eero locks at the back of a per month subscription. However Nest’s mounted 6GHz backhaul can battle to deal with constant speeds at the nodes furthest from the router, and it most effective has 1Gbps ethernet ports, so it could possibly’t take care of multi-gig connections. 

Design and contours

The Nest Wifi Professional appears higher on a sideboard than maximum of its competition.

The Nest Professional 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 units — most commonly flagship Android telephones and a couple of gaming laptops — a fats new, uncluttered band to hurry alongside on.

However the 6Ghz band’s major activity here’s to behave as a devoted backhaul, turning more than one Nest Professional devices right into a mesh community. Every Professional router can strengthen as much as 100 units, and the device helps theoretical most speeds of 2400 Mbps on 5GHz and 6GHz and slightly under 600 Mbps on 2.4GHz. That’s greater than double the blended speeds of the last-gen Nest Wifi. 

The ones are theoretical maximums. In observe, you’ll most effective attach to at least one band at a time, you gained’t see any place on the subject of the utmost pace on any unmarried system (particularly now not on 2.4GHz or 5GHz), and the Professional’s ethernet ports are capped at 1 Gigabit anyway. You probably have multi-gig web, you’ll be losing cash.

The Nest Wifi Professional is a superb all-rounder that delivers forged, dependable Wi-Fi.

In case you are upgrading from a Nest Wifi or every other Wifi 5 router, you achieve each Wi-Fi 6 and Wi-Fi 6E, plus the strategy to transfer on 160 MHz channels at the 5GHz band, which will beef up throughput on the possibility of interference from neighboring indicators. All this translated into considerably progressed speeds and function the usage of the Nest Professional over the common Nest Wifi in my exams. 

Google sells the Nest Wifi Professional in units of 1, two, or 3 devices. It says one router covers as much as 2,200 sq. ft. In my 2,200-square-foot, two-story split-level house with over 120 units attached to the Wi-Fi, I knew one wasn’t going to chop it.

Simply to verify, I arrange a unmarried unit in my lounge subsequent to the modem and noticed speeds as little as 12 Mbps down and seven Mbps upstream in my upstairs rooms, and 64/16 in my place of business, simply down the corridor from the principle router. After I added one node in my place of business and one upstairs to hide the bedrooms, the device used to be ready to ship extra dependable speeds from my Xfinity carrier. 

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

The Nest Wifi Professional has a an identical form to the Nest Audio speaker, however as a substitute of material, it opted for a shiny plastic that may no less than be more uncomplicated to scrub.

In contrast to the first-gen Nest Wifi, Google has executed away with its lower-specced “Issues,” and now the entire nodes have the similar {hardware}, together with two Gigabit ethernet ports. I’ll omit the integrated sensible speaker from the Issues, however that’s a very easy industry for 2 ethernet ports. (I’d like extra, however those nicer-looking mesh routers have a tendency to be restricted to 2.)

With the ones ports, the Professional device now helps stressed out backhaul, which could be important when you have a multi-story area because the most effective different backhaul possibility is the 6GHz band, which has shorter vary and extra hassle penetrating forged gadgets than 2.4GHz and 5GHz. 

The Nest Professional isn’t a pro-level device, regardless of its identify. You’ll permit some semi-advanced options, like WPA3, 160MHz channel width at the 5GHz band, and IPv6, however it doesn’t provide you with a lot granular keep watch over of your community. You’ll’t, as an example, cut up 2.4GHz, 5 GHz, and 6GHz into separate SSIDs, create VLANs, pressure units to connect with a definite get right of entry to level most effective, exchange channels and transmitting energy, or exchange the backhaul band. The general public don’t want or need that point of keep watch over; they only need one thing that works.

The Nest Professional’s reliance on 6GHz backhaul turns out like a restricting issue.  

Most commonly, the Nest Professional does simply paintings. Setup is all executed throughout the Google House app, which guides you via growing your community and positioning the nodes. (In case you are switching over from an previous router, ensure that to try my article on find out how to switch out your router with out disconnecting your entire units).

The House app may be the place you’ll in finding the reasonably restricted parental controls, far off community control, visitor community setup, knowledge intake stats, and an summary of your attached units. Eero fees $10 a month or $100 a 12 months for plenty of of those options, while Google’s are unfastened. 

The app controlled to appropriately determine about 70 p.c of my 100-plus units, which isn’t dangerous, even though I nonetheless can’t work out which one is my Oculus Quest 2. Instrument identity is useful for putting in place a Circle of relatives Wifi function that permits you to assign explicit units to members of the family and agenda Wi-Fi get right of entry to, which turns out to be useful for managing display time for more youthful kids. 

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’ll activate Google’s SafeSearch to dam grownup websites, you’ll’t block explicit websites and even classes (similar to social media or buying groceries), an ability Eero provides — for a rate. 

Any other minor however helpful function is the strategy to show a QR code and / or SSID and password for a visitor community on a Google Nest show. This makes it simple for family and friends to get on-line with out bothering you when you’re stuffing a turkey.

Like Eero methods, the Nest Professional is controlled by means of cloud tool. Google says it robotically prioritizes important actions, similar to video calls, and “continuously optimizes community site visitors by means of switching bands robotically if congestion pops up.” You’ll’t override any of those options, however you’ll no less than disable them, which isn’t an possibility with Eero. Google warns you that the device gained’t carry out as neatly with out them.

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

The Nest Wifi Professional (left) and the Eero Professional 6E. The latter can get quicker speeds and provides extra tough parental controls, however prices extra, and a few options require a subscription.

In contrast to Eero, Nest Professional provides the strategy to prioritize a unmarried system to your community, which is useful whilst you’re looking to get paintings executed, and your youngsters are streaming Netflix and Fortnite concurrently. In observe, I didn’t realize an important distinction on my paintings pc, however I additionally didn’t have problems sooner than I enabled it. Other folks with slower broadband speeds will most likely see extra receive advantages. 

New with the Nest Professional is a Most popular Actions possibility that permits you to prioritize video conferencing and / or gaming for “progressed wifi efficiency.” Once more, I didn’t see any noticeable exchange all over my trying out. Those settings are very huge. It might be pleasant to peer some extra granular keep watch over right here. 

Efficiency

General, I used to be inspired with the Nest Professional. I were given a powerful, constant Wi-Fi sign throughout the home and may just circulation 4K video, play VR on an Oculus Quest 2, and paintings on my pc reliably in each room.

The stressed out PC in my furthest flung bed room used to be ready to proceed my son’s on-line gaming addiction successfully — consider me, I’d pay attention about it in a different way — and my 100-plus sensible house units stayed attached and responsive (specifically, my Nest units — extra on that during slightly).

With a mean stressed out throughput of slightly below 500 Mbps from my Xfinity modem – very similar to different routers I’ve examined — I noticed reasonable Wi-Fi speeds of 350 Mbps down and 30 Mbps up during the home. Video calls additionally labored wonderful, hopping easily from one node to every other as I moved round the home.

On reasonable, single-device throughput from the principle router used to be slower at the Nest Wifi Professional than the Eero Professional 6E, however the Nest device had extra constant pace during the home, whilst the Eeros did a lot better when the units had been nearer to the nodes. 

Obtain and add speeds are reported in megabits in line with 2d (Mbps), and are a mean of 3 exams, run on a community outputting a mean of 497 Mbps down and 30 Mbps up on the time of trying out.

Once I take a look at mesh networks, I normally put a node upstairs on a table within the rear bed room so I will be able to hardwire my son’s gaming PC. A directly line from there to the principle router is going via a bed room wall, a closet, every other wall, a ground, and a few toilet partitions.

This can be a lot to invite of the 6Ghz band, which already has a difficult time with forged gadgets. However that’s the place I wished the router, and the Eero Professional 6 and Professional 6E nodes I’ve examined carried out neatly there (however the Nest Wifi level from the 1st gen device actually struggled).

Once I first arrange the Nest Professional node right here, the Google House app stated the relationship used to be just right, however in trying out, each throughput and latency had been dangerous, and the House app sooner or later reported the mesh connection as deficient. 

Nest Wifi Professional specifications

  • AXE5400 Wi-Fi 6E Tri-band concurrent 2:2:2 (802.11ax) with strengthen for 160MHz channels in 5GHz and 6GHz
  • 2.4GHz: 2×2 (600Mbps)
  • 5GHz: 2×2 (2400Mbps)
  • 6GHz: 2×2 (2400Mbps)
  • 100 units in line with router
  • Twin-core 64-bit ARM CPU
  • 1GB Ram, 4GB Flash
  • WPA3 encryption
  • Computerized Wi-Fi optimization
  • Thread radio
  • Bluetooth Low Power 
  • Topic (coming quickly)
  • Protection: 1-pack as much as 2200 sq. ft, 2-pack as much as 4400 sq. ft of protection, 3-pack as much as 6600 sq. ft, 4-pack as much as 8800 sq. ft 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 competent backhaul. My pc used to be getting wi-fi speeds of 165/5. Alternatively, a tool replace Google driven all over trying out to handle proceedings from some customers that their speeds had been being capped at 50Mbps, considerably progressed the efficiency of my take a look at setup. Wi-Fi and stressed out speeds upstairs nearly doubled, making them in line with the speeds I used to be entering into the remainder of the home. 

Google says it makes use of the 6GHz band backhaul solely as a result of there’s a lot more to be had airspace than at the 5GHz band, letting it run 160MHz channels with out operating into interference. Sanjay Noronha, Google Nest Wifi’s product lead, informed me this offers it as much as two times the rate and a extra dependable connection than the Nest Wifi. “Even supposing you should not have a unmarried 6GHz succesful shopper system in your house, you’re seeing a a lot better point of Wi-Fi efficiency because of that 6Ghz spine,” he stated.

However because the 6GHz sign has decrease penetration than 2.4 or 5GHz bands, it sort of feels a less-than-ideal selection for backhaul. Noronha says Google has “designed the {hardware}” round this factor — when it comes to the selection of streams, the antenna design, and the ability amplifiers. However, whilst speeds progressed after the replace, I nonetheless wanted the 3 nodes to get a powerful sufficient sign in each room of my area. 

When attached by the use of ethernet to the upstairs node, the stressed out PC averaged 228 Mbps at the Nest as opposed to 366 Mbps at the Eeros. The Nest additionally had upper latency, most likely because of that 6GHz backhaul. Eero claims its methods can dynamically regulate their backhaul band relying on sign energy, however the Nest methods are caught on 6GHz until you utilize a stressed out backhaul. 

Good house knowledge privateness: Nest Wifi Professional

Bringing attached units into your house additionally brings with it considerations about how the knowledge they gather is safe. The Verge appears at how each and every corporate whose sensible house merchandise we evaluate handles your knowledge.

Google outlines the sorts of knowledge it collects from its attached house units on its Privateness FAQ, and its same old Privateness Coverage covers those, too. For Nest Wifi privateness knowledge, Google has a strengthen web page outlining the knowledge it collects and the way you’ll organize it.

The principle knowledge a Wi-Fi router collects are Wi-Fi channel, sign energy, and system sorts. It says that is had to optimize your Wi-Fi efficiency. Google says it does now not monitor the internet sites you discuss with or gather the content material of any site visitors to your community, and MAC addresses are saved in the community inside your system and retrieved by means of the Google House App most effective as wanted.

Within the House app, you’ll activate or off cloud services and products and Wi-Fi level stats within the Privateness Settings segment. However options like Visitor Community, Circle of relatives WiFi, and information utilization stats gained’t paintings with cloud services and products grew to become off.

This inflexibility additionally way Wi-Fi 6E units can’t actually use the Nest Wifi Professional’s 6GHz band at the nodes and not using a efficiency penalty. When attached to the upstairs node, my Pixel 6 — which helps the 6GHz band — were given simply 191 Mbps down in comparison to 315 Mbps from the iPhone 14 at the 5GHz band. Alternatively, when it used to be attached to the principle router, i were given the quickest speeds I clocked on any system, at 622 Mbps.

You probably have a multi-story area with out ethernet within the partitions and wish best speeds to your best ground, you must most definitely take a look at a special networking resolution or plan to make use of greater than 3 nodes. The Nest Wifi Professional’s reliance on 6GHz backhaul turns out like a restricting issue.  

Remember the fact that single-device throughput measurements are only a proxy for vary and sign energy. Until you’re downloading huge recordsdata or shifting them between units on your community, maximum units gained’t want that a lot bandwidth. For instance, streaming 4K UHD video on a unmarried system calls for round 25 Mbps.

What’s extra essential is how dependable and solid your community is with quite a lot of stuff on it operating concurrently: a number of folks streaming, doing video requires paintings, enjoying video games, along side any sensible house units doing their factor. It will all upload up. By way of this metric, the Nest Wifi Professional carried out really well after the tool replace. I had no problems with sluggish speeds, unresponsiveness, or congestion, and I by no means had to reboot the device. 

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

The Nest Wifi Professional sports activities two Gigabit ethernet ports on each and every router.

Anecdotally, I discovered that the Nest safety cameras and Nest Hub sensible shows labored extra reliably at the Nest Wifi Professional device than at the Eero Professional 6E community. They stayed at the 5GHz channel persistently as a substitute of bouncing between 2.4GHz and 5GHz, which brought about sluggish load instances once I examined the brand new Nest Doorbell stressed out. The Nest Hub Max — which might steadily lose connection and reboot at the Eero device — didn’t do it as soon as at the Nest community.

I requested Google about this, and Noronha stated whilst they don’t prioritize Nest units over the ones from different producers, they do take a look at their units widely with their Wi-Fi device and optimize them to accomplish in addition to imaginable.

Whilst I haven’t been ready to check this but, the Nest Wifi Professional’s {hardware} must make a very good basis in your sensible house. Every router has a Thread radio in-built. This can be key when strengthen for the brand new sensible house same old Topic arrives on Google House units, as it’ll flip Nest Wifi Professional routers into Thread border routers, in a position to connecting Thread sensible house units, in addition to Topic controllers.

This implies whilst you purchase any Topic sensible house system — similar to a sensible plug, gentle, or door lock — you gained’t have to fret about having a separate hub or whether or not it’s suitable along with your Google House app. If it’s Topic and / or Thread, it’ll paintings in your house. 

Will have to you purchase it?

In case your web pace is not up to 1 gigabit in line with 2d, your house isn’t monumental, you don’t want improved networking options, and you wish to have one thing that’s easy to make use of and in large part dependable even with numerous sensible house units at the community, the Google Nest Wifi Professional is a superb possibility.

You probably have upper than gigabit speeds, the Eero Professional 6E can be a greater are compatible, relying on charge. When it introduced, a three-pack value $699 in comparison to $399 for the Nest Wifi Professional, however it’s not too long ago been on sale for as little as $419. Eero additionally has Thread on board and can be up to date to strengthen Topic subsequent 12 months, plus it has a Zigbee sensible house hub integrated.

Every Eero Professional 6E has a 2.5Gbps ethernet port in addition to a Gigabit port, however you must pony up $10 a month for plenty of options that Google provides without spending a dime. However that charge does come with ad-blocking, a new web backup carrier, and extra tough parental controls that Google doesn’t have. Plus, you get annual subscriptions to a password supervisor and VPN carrier, 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 Professional is a superb all-rounder that may arrange your sensible house for luck and ship forged, dependable Wi-Fi.

In case you are much less all for pace and are extra price-conscious, the Eero Professional 6 is a in a similar way specced gigabit device that’s inexpensive than the Eero Professional 6E and most effective $30 greater than the Nest Wifi Professional when now not on sale. Nevertheless it doesn’t be offering Wi-Fi 6E, simply Wi-Fi 6. Additionally, Eero methods can use Echo and Echo Dot sensible audio system to increase Wi-Fi. So, it’s essential purchase one Eero router and use Echo units for additional protection. In observe, then again, the Echo units reduce speeds in part, in order that they aren’t as environment friendly as including every other node.  

All this makes the Nest Wifi Professional my advice should you’re searching for the finest price range 6E router. Wyze simply got here out with a Wi-Fi 6 possibility for $174, however I’d look ahead to the critiques on that. It’s the corporate’s first Wi-Fi product. 

Different choices I haven’t examined come with TP-Hyperlink’s $300 two-pack Wi-Fi 6E mesh device. However that doesn’t have Thread or Topic on board. Netgear’s Orbi Wi-Fi 6E device has a number of bells and whistles however no Thread or Topic, and it begins at $400. Both of the ones provides you with extra get right of entry to to the networking nitty-gritty than Eero or Google should you’re into that type of factor.

You probably have or are taking into consideration beginning a sensible house, the Nest Wifi Professional is without doubt one of the first three-in-one units — Topic controller, Wi-Fi router, Thread border router — in the marketplace. There might be extra, and the Eero line is being upgraded to Topic subsequent 12 months. Going ahead, it’s most likely that Thread and Topic can be constructed into each Wi-Fi get right of entry to level. However the Nest Wifi Professional can be a just right are compatible as of late should you’re shopping to future-proof your sensible house, don’t watch for get right of entry to to multi-gig speeds, and wish to keep away from the lifeless spider aesthetic. 

Footage by means of Jennifer Pattison Tuohy / The Verge

Conform to proceed: Nest WiFi Professional

Each sensible system now calls for you to comply with a sequence of phrases and stipulations sooner than you’ll use it — contracts that no person in reality reads. It’s unimaginable for us to learn and analyze each unmarried this type of agreements. However we began counting precisely how repeatedly you must hit “agree” to make use of units once we evaluate them since those are agreements most of the people don’t learn and surely can’t negotiate.

To make use of Google’s Nest Wifi Professional, you should comply with:

The next agreements are not obligatory:

  • Lend a hand beef up Nest Wifi by means of sharing system stats and crash studies with Google
  • Activate Nest Wifi cloud services and products

Ultimate tally: 3 necessary agreements and two not obligatory agreements.

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