One thing we can all agree on in 2023 is that poor connectivity and speed should be a thing of the past. In a world of self-driving cars and A.I powered robots, surely one company can manage to get home Wi-Fi, right, no? Google’s nest Wi-Fi Pro is a step in the right direction, improving on past mesh iterations and delivering excellent value for a set of Wi-Fi 6E mesh routers to future-proof your home. They are not perfect but bring some welcome range and features.
This year brings a whole new design language to Google’s Nest offerings, gone are the hockey puck-shaped discs for a glossy, pillowy, nay marshmallow-y hub and satellites that are designed to blend into most modern home décor and they look great. Google has also added support for the 6GHz which promises even better connectivity, range, and speed plus making this their first true tri-band offering. Each Nest Wi-Fi Pro hub promises combined speeds of up to 5.4 gigabits per second across all three of its bands, which is more than twice as much as the combined speeds of 2.2Gbps that you got across both bands of the original Nest Wi-Fi router. This translates into an expected AXE5400 rating but as with most mesh systems, your mileage may vary depending on the signal coming into your home.
Another new addition is the inclusion (finally) of Ethernet jacks on each satellite hub, meaning you can hardwire any of them to your modem and use them as a wired backhaul for even better performance in high-demand tasks. One thing we were not pleased to see is that for those of you fortunate to have multi-gig fast connections, for some bizarre reason, Google has capped incoming wired speeds at a single gigabit per second when other mesh systems consider speed variations and un-cork the line for maximum swiftness over ethernet.
As far as the setup went, it could not have been any easier. Using the intuitive Google Home app, you simply scan the QR code on the bottom of each unit to add and pair them together to make a single mesh network. Through the app, you also get the usual array of clever user control features such as the ability to run speed tests, test your mesh connections, and set up parental controls or a guest network. You can also set priority devices (for one, four, or eight hours) to ensure they get the bandwidth they need. The Nest Wi-Fi Pro can serve as a smart-home hub, boasting built-in Thread radios and Bluetooth LE (low Energy), with Matter support. For the unaccustomed, Matter aims to be the unifying smart-home standard and should make it easy to add devices to your home network, significantly boost stability and performance, and potentially free up some bandwidth for devices like your phone and laptop. Thread effectively forms a separate, long-range, low-power network for smart-home devices that operates independently of your Wi-Fi.
So how well does it work? Each satellite can cover up to 2,200 square feet and connect up to 100 devices and overall performance and coverage were quite good. We did find some strange omissions though you would normally find them on other routers. For some strange reason, you cannot separate network bands and there is no VPN support – why Google? We also did not like that there is no obvious security software integration for added peace of mind. Lastly, also gone, is the Google Assistant support, previous Nest hubs would operate like a Google Home speaker, and you could ask it for answers to your most common questions as long as you were in earshot of a Nest hub.
While none of these are deal breakers for us, one thing we were a little disappointed with here in Canada is the $500+ asking price for a 3-pack. That seems a little steep even for the average consumer looking to upgrade their home Wi-Fi. While you can currently get it on sale for $419 on Amazon.ca, we still think a $379 price tag would be more palatable.
All in all, the Google Nest Pro mesh Wi-Fi system delivers on its promise of coverage, reliability, and speed and if that is all that matters, and the price is no option, you should buy them. However, we need Google to step up and deliver more if they want to get serious about security and provide consumers with more network customization features within the app.
Get yours today at https://store.google.com/product/nest_wifi_pro?hl=en-US&pli=1