If you already have a Google router, the new Nest Wi-Fi Pro from Google is a terrific update that you should consider making. When I compared the new Nest Wifi Pro system, which adds Wi-Fi 6 and 6E, to the older Nest Wifi system, which only had Wi-Fi 5, I found that the new Nest Wifi Pro system had much quicker speeds, increased reliability, and better performance overall. It is not capable of handling speeds of several gigabits, but (unfortunately) this is not likely to be an issue for the majority of users. And even though at first I had trouble with slow speeds and high latency in the rooms of my house that were the farthest away from the primary router, a software update that came during the time that I was testing it fixed the problem, and as a result, I now have consistent speeds throughout my entire house.
In addition to this, the Nest Pro is one of the few routers that will not make your sideboard appear like it has a dead spider on it. Even though it’s not a particularly high bar, these are the most aesthetically pleasing Wi-Fi routers that money can buy. The Nest Pro is available in other colors in addition to white, including a light blue, a beige, and a yellow, any of which may blend in better with the design of your home. They still look better out in the open (the ideal position for the best signal) than most other routers, despite the fact that I am not a huge fan of the shiny finish because it can be a little bit distracting.
The Eero Wifi Pro 6E is the most direct competitor of the Nest Wifi Pro in terms of its function as a mesh networking system. People who want something that looks nice, is reliable, is easy to use, and that will work well with their smart home are the people that Google and Eero are targeting with their products. Networking experts and people who want hands-on control over every aspect of their networking setup are not the target audience for these products.
The Nest Pro was found to have a few benefits over the Eero after being tested. Even though its speeds were a little bit lower, they were more consistent all around the house, and Google provides some capabilities for free whereas Eero locks other features behind a monthly subscription fee. However, the Nest’s fixed backhaul operates at 6GHz, which can make it difficult to maintain constant speeds on the nodes that are the furthest away from the router. Additionally, the Nest only has 1Gbps ethernet ports, therefore it is unable to manage connections of multiple gigabits.
Structure and characteristics
The Nest Pro is a WiFi 6E router that has one band operating at 2.4 GHz, one band operating at 5 GHz, and one band operating at 6 GHz. This very last one is brand new. It provides the few devices that are capable of operating at 6GHz with a wide new band that is free of interference, the majority of which are flagship Android phones and a few gaming laptops.
However, the primary function of the 6Ghz band in this scenario is to perform the role of a dedicated backhaul, which transforms many Nest Pro units into a mesh network. Each Pro router has the capacity to support up to 100 devices, and the system is capable of achieving theoretical maximum speeds of 2400 Mbps on the 5GHz and 6GHz bands, as well as little under 600 Mbps on the 2.4GHz band. That’s more than twice as fast as the aggregate speeds offered by the previous generation of Nest Wifi.
Those are the maximums that can be reached in theory. In actual use, you can only connect to one band at a time, you won’t see anywhere close to the maximum speed on any single device (especially not on 2.4GHz or 5GHz), and the Pro’s ethernet ports are capped at 1 Gigabit anyway. These limitations are due to the fact that you can only connect to one band at a time. You will be throwing away money if you have internet with multiple gigabit connections.
The Nest Wifi Pro is an excellent all-arounder that provides Wi-Fi that is robust and dependable.
If you are upgrading from a Nest Wifi or another Wifi 5 router, you will receive both Wi-Fi 6 and Wi-Fi 6E. In addition, you will have the option to switch on 160 MHz channels on the 5GHz band, which has the potential to improve throughput but also increases the risk of interference from neighboring signals. In my experiments, making use of the Nest Pro resulted in speeds and performance that were noticeably superior to those achieved by using the standard Nest Wifi.
Google offers the Nest Wifi Pro in bundles consisting of one, two, or three individual devices for purchase. According to the information provided, a single router can cover up to 2,200 square feet. I knew I needed more than one router for my 2,200 square foot, two-story, split-level home because there were more than 120 devices connected to the wireless internet.
I installed a single unit in my living room adjacent to the modem to make sure, and I saw speeds as low as 12 Mbps down and 7 Mbps upstream in my upstairs rooms. On the other hand, I saw speeds of 64/16 in my office, which is just down the hall from the primary router. As soon as I installed one node in my office and another one on the second floor to cover the bedrooms, the system was able to provide more consistent download speeds from my Xfinity account.
In contrast to the earlier generation of Nest Wifi, Google has done away with its “Points,” which had lower-specced hardware, and all of the nodes now have the same hardware. This hardware includes two Gigabit ethernet connections. The Points has a built-in smart speaker, which I will miss, but I don’t mind giving up that feature in exchange for two Ethernet ports. (I would want more, but most mesh routers that look beautiful tend to just have capacity for two devices.)
With those ports, the Pro system now enables cable backhaul, which might be important if you have a house with multiple stories because the only other backhaul option is the 6GHz band, which has a shorter range and is less effective at penetrating solid objects than the 2.4GHz and 5GHz bands.
Despite its name, the Nest Pro is not a system that is suitable for professional use. You have the ability to enable some technologies that are considered to be semi-advanced, such as WPA3, 160MHz channel width on the 5GHz band, and IPv6, although this does not provide you with a great deal of granular control over your network. You are unable to do things such as segregate the 2.4GHz, 5GHz, and 6GHz bands into their own SSIDs, create VLANs, require devices to connect to a specific access point alone, change the channels or transmitting power, or switch the backhaul band. The majority of individuals do not require or desire that amount of control; rather, they simply want something that is effective.
The fact that the Nest Pro requires a backhaul on the 6GHz frequency appears to be a limitation.
The Nest Pro, for the most part, functions without much fuss. All of the configuration is completed within the Google Home app, which walks you through the steps of establishing your network and placing the nodes. (If you are upgrading from an older router, make sure to read my post on how to replace your router without having to disconnect all of your devices first.)
Nest Pro speed tests
|Google Nest WiFi Pro||iPhone 14||Pixel 6 (6Ghz capable)||Macbook Air M1||PC Wired|
|Living room (gateway)||287/26||294/33||278/24||n/a|
|Upstairs bedroom (node)||315/29||191/38||345/34||228/38|
|Sitting room (farthest distance)||234/31||215/37||204/30||n/a|
You may also discover fairly restricted parental controls, remote network management, the configuration for a guest network, data consumption statistics, and an overview of the connected devices in the Home app. For many of these capabilities, Eero charges $10 per month or $100 per year, but Google provides them at no additional cost.
The program was able to correctly identify approximately 70 percent of my more than 100 devices, which is not a poor percentage by any means; nevertheless, I am still unable to determine which device is my Oculus Quest 2. Device identification is helpful when setting up a Family Wifi feature, which allows you to assign specific devices to family members and schedule Wi-Fi access, which is useful for managing screen time for younger children. Device identification is also helpful when setting up a Guest Wifi feature, which allows you to assign specific devices to guests.
I absolutely adore being able to give a voice command to a Google Assistant speaker in order to pause the Wi-Fi on my daughter’s iPad. You can block adult sites by turning on Google’s SafeSearch, but you can’t block particular websites or even categories of websites (like social networking or commerce). This is a capacity that Eero offers, but it costs money.
On the other hand, the option to display a QR code and/or SSID and password for a guest network on a Google Nest display is a relatively minor feature that can be quite helpful. Because of this, it is simple for members of your family and friends to access the internet without interrupting you when you are stuffing a turkey.
The Nest Pro, much like Eero’s systems, is controlled by cloud-based software. According to Google, this technology automatically gives higher priority to mission-critical tasks like video conversations and “constantly optimizes network traffic by switching bands automatically whenever congestion shows up.” You are unable to override any of these functions, but you do have the option to disable them. This is something that is not possible with Eero. Google will tell you that the system’s performance won’t be as good if you don’t use them.
Nest Pro, in contrast to Eero, gives you the ability to give priority to a single device on your network. This comes in handy when you’re trying to get work done while your children are playing Fortnite and watching Netflix at the same time. In actual use, I did not observe a big change on the PC that I use at work; nevertheless, I did not experience any problems before I enabled it. It is probable that those with lesser broadband speeds will experience a greater benefit.
Preferred Activities is a brand-new feature that comes standard on the Nest Pro and gives you the ability to prioritize video conferencing and/or gaming for “better wifi performance.” Once more, I did not observe any discernible shifts in the course of my tests. These settings cover a wide range of possibilities. It would be great if there were more granular control options available here.
The Nest Pro left a positive impression on me as a whole. I was able to stream 4K video, play virtual reality games on an Oculus Quest 2, and work on my laptop without interruption anywhere in the house because the entire house had a strong, continuous Wi-Fi connection.
My son’s online gaming habit was able to continue smoothly on the wired PC in my most remote bedroom (trust me, I would have heard about it otherwise), and all of my smart home gadgets stayed connected and responsive (especially my Nest devices; more on that in a moment).
With an average wired throughput of just under 500 Mbps from my Xfinity modem – comparable to that of other routers I’ve tested – I noticed an average Wi-Fi speed of 350 Mbps down and 30 Mbps up throughout the entire home. The video calls also functioned normally, and I was able to roam freely throughout the home without disrupting the connection to any of the nodes.
The throughput of a single device on the Nest Wifi Pro was slower on average than that of the Eero Pro 6E, but the performance of the Nest system was more consistent across the house, whereas the Eeros performed much better when the devices were closer to the nodes.
When I test mesh networks, I often install a node on the second floor, where it sits atop a desk in the rear bedroom. This allows me to hardwire the gaming computer that my son uses. A wall in the bedroom, a closet, another wall, the floor, and two walls in the bathroom are all traversed along the path that leads directly from there to the primary router.
The six-gigahertz spectrum, which currently has trouble communicating with solid objects, will likely struggle even worse if it is asked to perform these tasks. However, it was the location where I need the router, and the Eero Pro 6 and Pro 6E nodes that I tested operated admirably there (but the Nest Wifi point from the first gen system really struggled).
The Google Home app indicated that the connection was satisfactory when I originally installed the Nest Pro node in this location; however, subsequent testing revealed that throughput and latency were unacceptable, and the Google Home app ultimately rated the mesh connection as inadequate.
The signal coming from the living room was measured just next to the node with a Wi-Fi analyzer app, and it came up at -75dBm, which is far too weak for a solid backhaul. The wireless speeds that my laptop was receiving were 165/5. However, while testing Google rolled out a software update to address complaints from certain users that their speeds were being capped at 50 Mbps. This upgrade resulted in a significant improvement in the performance of my test setup. The Wi-Fi and wired speeds on the second floor nearly doubled, bringing them in line with the rates I was getting on the first floor and throughout the rest of the house.
According to Google, it runs 160MHz channels without having to worry about interference when using the backhaul on the 6GHz band because there is a significantly larger amount of open airspace on that frequency compared to the 5GHz band. According to Sanjay Noronha, who is the product lead for Google’s Nest Wifi, this provides it with up to double the speed and a more dependable connection than the Nest Wifi. “Even if you do not have a single 6GHz capable client device in your home, you’re getting a much higher level of Wi-Fi performance thanks to that 6Ghz backbone,” he added. “You’re seeing a considerably better level of Wi-Fi performance thanks to that 6Ghz backbone.”
However, due to the fact that the signal at 6GHz has a lesser penetration than that of the band at 2.4GHz or 5GHz, it appears to be a less-than-ideal choice for backhaul. According to Noronha, Google has “built the hardware” to address this problem, taking into account the amount of streams, the architecture of the antenna, and the power amplifiers. However, despite the fact that download and upload speeds increased following the upgrade, I was still need to use all three nodes in order to achieve an adequate level of signal strength throughout the entirety of my home.
The wired personal computer’s average throughput on the Nest was 228 Mbps when connected through ethernet to the upstairs node, whereas on the Eeros it was 366 Mbps. Additionally, the Nest exhibited a higher latency, most likely as a result of its 6GHz backhaul. Eero asserts that its systems are able to dynamically alter their backhaul band depending on the strength of the signal, however Nest asserts that its systems are unable to do so unless a wired backhaul is used.
Because of this inflexibility, Wi-Fi 6E devices cannot really utilise the 6GHz band that is available on the nodes of the Nest Wifi Pro without incurring a performance cost. My Pixel 6, which has compatibility for the 6GHz band, only got 191 Mbps down when it was linked to the upstairs node. This is in comparison to the iPhone 14, which got 315 Mbps when it was connected to the 5GHz band. On the other hand, when it was linked to the primary router, I was able to get download rates that were the fastest I had ever clocked on any device: 622 Mbps.
If you want the highest possible speeds on the top floor of a multi-story home that does not have Ethernet wired into the walls, you should probably look at a different networking solution or plan to utilize more than three nodes. The fact that the Nest Wifi Pro is dependent on a backhaul operating at 6GHz appears to be a limiting factor.
It is important to keep in mind that throughput metrics taken from a single device are merely a proxy for range and signal strength. The majority of your gadgets won’t require that much bandwidth unless you often download large files or move them back and forth between devices on your local network. For instance, in order to stream 4K Ultra High Definition video on a single device, you will need approximately 25 Mbps.
What is more crucial is how reliable and stable your network is when lots of things are going simultaneously on it, such as numerous people streaming, doing video calls for work, and playing games, in addition to any smart home gadgets doing their thing. All of this can add up to a significant amount. According to this statistic, the performance of the Nest Wifi Pro after the software update was extremely satisfactory. I did not experience any issues with poor speeds, inability to respond, or congestion, and I did not need to restart the system at any point.
From my experience, I can say that the Nest security cameras and Nest Hub smart displays functioned with greater consistency when connected to the Nest Wifi Pro system rather than the Eero Pro 6E network. When I tested the new Nest Doorbell wired, I saw that they stayed on the 5GHz channel consistently rather than jumping between the 2.4GHz and 5GHz channels, which caused load times that were too slow. On the Eero system, the Nest Hub Max would frequently lose its connection and had to reboot, but on the Nest network, it hasn’t done any of those things once.
When I questioned Google about this, Noronha responded that the company does not give preference to Nest devices over those from other manufacturers; nevertheless, they do test their devices extensively with their Wi-Fi system and optimize them to perform as good as is humanly feasible.
Although I haven’t had the opportunity to test this just yet, the hardware that comes with the Nest Wifi Pro should serve as a solid foundation for your smart home. Each router comes equipped with its own in-built Thread radio. This will be very important once support for the new smart home standard Matter is added to Google Home devices, as it will transform Nest Wifi Pro routers into Thread border routers, making them capable of connecting Matter controllers in addition to Thread smart home devices.
When you buy a smart home device from Matter, such as a smart plug, light, or door lock, you won’t need a separate hub, and you won’t have to worry about whether or not it’s compatible with the Google House app. This frees you up to focus on making your home as smart as possible. In your house, it will function properly if it is either Matter or Thread.
Should you go ahead and buy it?
If your internet speed is lower than one gigabit per second, your home isn’t overly large, you don’t require advanced networking features, and you want something that’s easy to use and largely reliable even when there are a lot of smart home devices connected to the network, the Google Nest Wifi Pro is a good option to consider.
Depending on the cost, the Eero Pro 6E will be a better option for you if your internet speeds are greater than one gigabit. When it first became available, a three-pack cost $699 as opposed to the Nest Wifi Pro’s price of $399; however, as of late, it has been on sale for as little as $419. In addition, Eero comes equipped with a Zigbee smart home hub, and it already supports Matter and will receive an update to support it in the following year.
There is a Gigabit ethernet connector and a 2.5Gbps ethernet port on each Eero Pro 6E, but in order to make use of many of the capabilities that Google provides without charge, you will need to pay $10 each month. However, this purchase does include the ability to block advertisements, as well as a new internet backup service and more sophisticated parental controls than Google offers. In addition, you will receive an annual membership to a password manager as well as a VPN service, amongst other features.
If you are more concerned with cost than with speed, the Eero Pro 6 is a similarly featured gigabit system that is less expensive than the Eero Pro 6E and is only $30 more expensive than the Nest Wifi Pro when it is not on sale. However, it is only capable of providing Wi-Fi 6, not Wi-Fi 6E. Wi-Fi range can also be expanded with Eero systems with the help of Amazon’s Echo and Echo Dot smart speakers. Therefore, you might purchase a single Eero router and then add Echo devices to expand its coverage as needed. In actual use, however, the Echo devices reduce speeds by a factor of two, which means that using them is not nearly as effective as adding another node.
As a result of all of these factors, the Nest Wifi Pro is the greatest affordable 6E router in my opinion, and it comes highly recommended by me. Wyze has recently introduced a Wi-Fi 6 alternative with a price tag of $174, however I would wait for the reviews before purchasing it. This is the first Wi-Fi-enabled product that the company has released.
Other possibilities include TP-$300 Link’s two-pack Wi-Fi 6E mesh system, which has not been evaluated by me. However, neither Thread nor Matter are included in this plan. The Orbi Wi-Fi 6E system from Netgear has a starting price of $400 and many of bells and whistles, but it does not have Thread or Matter. If you’re into that sort of thing, either of those will provide you greater access to the networking nitty-gritty than Eero or Google will.
The Nest Wifi Pro is one of the first three-in-one devices available on the market. It can act as a matter controller, a Wi-Fi router, and a thread border router. If you have a smart home or are thinking about getting one, then this device is a good idea. There will most likely be additional ones, and in the coming year, the Eero line will be updated to Matter. It is highly conceivable that Thread and Matter will be incorporated into each and every Wi-Fi access point in the near future. However, if you are trying to future-proof your smart home, don’t anticipate access to multi-gig speeds, and want to avoid the “dead spider” image, the Nest Wifi Pro will be a fantastic choice for you today.
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