Google Nest Wifi Pro Review: Wi-Fi 6E at a Reasonable Price

Google Nest Wifi Pro Review: Wi-Fi 6E at a Reasonable Price

The Nest Wifi Pro is the latest mesh router from Google. In line with the company’s penchant for simplicity, this mesh system is a breeze to set up and easy to manage. But the “Pro” moniker seems ill-fitting considering the lack of advanced features and settings—it really just refers to Google’s adoption of Wi-Fi 6E. The newly opened 6-GHz band offers an expanse of untapped bandwidth, and you don’t have to be a pro to take advantage.

After a month with the Nest Wifi Pro, I am simultaneously impressed and underwhelmed. People looking to upgrade to Wi-Fi 6E will be sorely tempted by the pricing: Nest Wifi Pro costs $199 for a single router, $299 for two, or $399 for three. That’s relatively affordable for a tri-band mesh with 6-GHz support. The Nest Wifi Pro is also simple, easy, and reliable, but it feels barebones compared to other mesh systems, and speeds are distinctly average.

Keep It Simple, Silly

Photograph: Google

The shiny, minimalist capsule design looks a lot like a giant Pixel Buds case (the company’s wireless earbuds), and the routers come in four colors: Snow, Fog, Linen, or Lemongrass. They are small and unobtrusive enough to sit on shelves and window sills and should fit with any decor. I tested the three-pack in white (er, Snow).

All three units are identical, with two Gigabit Ethernet ports apiece. Each can cover up to 2,200 square feet and connect up to 100 devices. My three-pack came with a single 6.5-foot Ethernet cable, and setting up was as simple as plugging it into my modem and scanning the QR code on the bottom of each unit. When you add routers (Google calls them points), you get an indication of the suitability of your chosen spot. I added one to the living room at the back of the house and another upstairs. I had to move the latter slightly before it turned green and told me, “Great connection.”

The Nest Wifi Pro is Google’s first Wi-Fi 6E router, and it is a tri-band system, so the familiar 2.4-GHz and 5-GHz bands are joined by the 6-GHz band. As we go up through the bands, the potential speed increases, but the range drops, so 6 GHz offers the fastest speeds but the shortest range. (Our How to Buy a Router guide goes into more detail.)

The Nest Wifi Pro uses the 6-GHz band for backhaul, which is how the routers and points send traffic back and forth. As I’ve noted with other Wi-Fi 6E systems, the 6-GHz band is short-range and does not penetrate through walls and other obstacles very well, so your routers will work best with a line of sight or through a single wall or ceiling. To enjoy those potentially high 6-GHz speeds, you need devices that support Wi-Fi 6E, and there aren’t many at the moment. However, shifting the backhaul onto the 6-GHz band leaves the 5-GHz and 2.4-GHz bands free for your devices. A wired backhaul, if you can run Ethernet cables around the home, will provide the best performance. 

Performance and coverage have been rock solid in my testing. My home is around 1,600 square feet, and the Nest Wifi Pro provides a strong Wi-Fi signal everywhere, including my backyard. Our family of four is frequently gaming, video calling, and streaming, with everyone online simultaneously, and we have yet to experience any lag, buffering, or glitches in a couple of weeks of testing. Downloading a 30-GB game took 15 minutes.


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