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Google’s Nest Wifi Pro is a dead simple way to bring home Wi-Fi 6E • londonbusinessblog.com

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A quick warning at the top. This is not a review. londonbusinessblog.com does reviews. This is not one. There are several reasons for this. First off, last week was Disrupt – I was busy on the other side of the country. Second, this week is my COVID week (third round, otherwise it’s self-explanatory with limited output). Third, we very rarely rate routers here, for many reasons, including resources.

Still, the Nest Wifi Pro is now available, so I’ll post some of my first impressions on the following page after setting it up and using it for a few days. I hope this is helpful if you’ve watched one since its unveiling last month. If you need something more substantial than my doughy brain can provide at the moment, I totally get it. We’ve got plenty of great reviews planned on the horizon.

Let’s start with what the Nest Wifi Pro is and isn’t. It’s “Pro” in the sense of where it fits into the wider Google Wifi line. It’s a home router, one that looks nice and is easy to set up. There are faster and more powerful routers. There are routers that are more customizable and flexible. However, if you’re looking for a router with Wi-Fi 6E that works right out of the box, this one is hard to beat.

Image Credits: Brian Heater

That’s an important thing to note with products like these. At $199, this is a solid entry into the Wi-Fi 6E area. If you’re looking for a quick boost to your home internet, and today’s dusty old router is starting to give up, you’d be hard pressed to find a better “just working” system out of the box. I say this with the authority of someone who spent their own hours on the phone with horrible ISP customer support, because of a ghost in the machine of the company routers. Amazing how often the solution is for someone to flip a switch on their side.

As someone who hosts a lot of podcasts and video live streams, I was long overdue for a wireless upgrade. There are more embarrassing things that can happen to someone during a live broadcast, but we won’t go into that here. Suffice it to say that a strong and stable internet connection is an important part of my job.

Another caveat I should mention before we go any further is the caveat I often give while testing smart home-related technology: I live in New York City. That means, among other things, that I have a relatively small living space. Specifically, I’m in a one bedroom bedroom. Google clocks the Nest Wifi Pro’s coverage area at 2,200 square feet (4,400 for a two-pack, 6,600 for the three, etc.). One-bedroom in NYC tend to range from about 600-800 square feet.

Image Credits: Brian Heater

With that in mind, a single device was enough. Speeds can fluctuate throughout the day, but I found mine to be fairly consistent no matter how close I was to the router. If you’re in doubt whether a single device is enough, it should be more than enough for anything under 1000 square feet. As you get closer to 2,000 square feet, the bundle starts to make more sense. And the upshot of the UX is that it’s easy to add Google mesh routers later (although you won’t get those bundle savings).

The setup process will look familiar if you’ve ever set up most smart home products, especially Google/Nest stuff, for obvious reasons. There isn’t much to the device from the user’s perspective (again, this is intentional). The design is arguably even more minimalist than its predecessor. It is longer and sleeker, the matte color has been replaced with a glossy, simple track. Your mileage on that last bit will vary, but as with other Nest products, this one is designed – above all – to blend in with its environment.

There are three ports: power and a pair of Ethernet – one for the modem, the other to wire a single device. The latter is of course a potential limiter, as is the 1 Gbps upper limit on the built-in Ethernet (to keep the system under $200, you think). That may or may not be a problem, depending on your particular plan. For example, if you have fiber, you get a bottleneck. Me, I’m currently stuck with Spectrum (I know, I know), so no problem there.

But of course you don’t want a device between you and the wall to slow down your internet speeds. Either way, the service you use will determine your ultimate speeds.

Image Credits: Brian Heater

Download the Google Home app to get started and you’ll be taken through an easy setup process, sped up if you can snap a shot of the QR code on the bottom of the product. The paper start-up guide in the box consists of three basic steps (connect router, download app, follow on-screen instructions) and two images spread over two small pages. I’m not going to say this is absolutely all you need, but if you don’t run into any hitches (always a consideration with network devices), it should suffice.

Nest Wifi was a great system, and frankly, if you’ve bought one, you probably shouldn’t be in a rush to upgrade. The combined speed for Wi-Fi 5 reached 2.2 Gbps versus the 5.4 Gbps of Wifi Pro. Keep in mind that both of these are combined across the three bands. Let’s say they are terribly optimistic figures.

Here’s Wi-Fi Alliance CEO Edgar Figueroa from 2020 on the Wi-Fi 5 upgrade:

6 GHz will help meet the growing need for Wi-Fi spectrum capacity to ensure Wi-Fi users continue to receive the same great user experience with their devices. Wi-Fi Alliance is now introducing Wi-Fi 6E to help industry adapt to common terminology so that Wi-Fi users can identify devices that support 6 GHz operation as spectrum becomes available.

Image Credits: Brian Heater

One more important note here: the Pro is not backwards compatible with the standard Nest Wifi. That means you can’t mix and match. That’s a shame, because you can now find really good deals on those old, basic Nest Wifi devices. The other little thing to note is that unlike their predecessor, there is no built-in smart speaker here. But as I type this, you can currently buy a Nest Mini directly from Google for $20, so go for it.

Google’s Nest devices bring some other nice elements to the table, such as dedicated guest networks, parental controls, and wireless security updates. For a quick and easy way to get your home Wi-Fi up and running at high speed (including access to the 6GHz band), coupled with some family-friendly features, this is a hard-to-beat package. The Pro costs $200 for one, $300 for two, and $400 for three.

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