Google’s Nest Wifi Pro is the simplest way to bring home Wi-Fi 6E • TechCrunch

A quick warning top. This is not a review. TechCrunch reviews. This is not one. This has a few causes. First, last week was Disrupt – I’m busy across the country. Monday, this week is my COVID week (third round, otherwise self-explanatory on limited output). Third, we very rarely review routers here, for a variety of reasons, including resources.

The Nest Wifi Pro is available now though, so I commit to some of my initial impressions of the site, after setting it up and using it for a few days. I hope this helps if you’ve been keeping an eye on one since it was announced last month. If you need something a little more substantial than my dry brain can provide at the moment, I can totally do it. We’ve got a lot of great reviews planned for a long time.

Let’s start with what Nest Wifi Pro not. It’s “Pro” in the sense that it’s suitable for a wider Google Wifi line. It’s a home router, one that looks good and is easy to set up. There are faster and more powerful routers out there. 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, it’s hard to beat.

Image credits: Brian Heater

That’s an important thing to keep in mind with products like these. At $199, this is a solid step into 6E Wi-Fi territory. If you’re looking for a quick boost to your home internet and your current dusty old router is starting to give up the ghost, you’ll be hard-pressed to find a better “just works” system. I say this with the authority of someone who has spent his own hours on the phone with the ISP’s terrible customer support, because of some virtual ghost in the machine of the company’s routers . It’s surprising how often the fix is ​​for someone flipping a switch on their end.

I’m long overdue for a wireless upgrade, as the host of a lot of podcasts and live video. There are more embarrassing things that can happen to a person on a live broadcast, but we won’t get into them here. Suffice it to say that a strong and stable internet connection is an important part of my job.

Another note I should mention before we go any further is something I often make when experimenting with smart home-related technology: I live in New York City. That means, among the better things, I have a relatively small living area. Specifically, I’m in a bedroom. Google measures the Nest Wifi Pro’s coverage at 2,200 square feet (4,400 for a two-pack, 6,600 for a three-pack, etc.). One bedroom in NYC tends to range from about 600-800 square feet.

Image credits: Brian Heater

With that in mind, a single device is a lot. Speeds can fluctuate throughout the day, but I found my speeds to be pretty consistent, no matter how close I was to the router. If you’re wondering if a single device is enough, it should be more than enough for anything under 1,000 square feet. As you push closer to 2,000 square feet, the package starts to make more sense. And the result of the UX is that it’s very easy to add Google mesh routers (though you won’t get the bundle savings).

The setup process should be familiar if you’ve set up most smart home products – Google/Nest specifically for obvious reasons. There’s not much to the device from the user’s point of view (again, this is intentional). The design is said to be even more minimalist than its predecessor. It’s taller and thinner, the matte color replaced with a slick job. Your final mileage will vary, but like other Nest products, this product is designed – above all else – to blend in with its surroundings.

There are three ports: power and a pair of Ethernet – one for the modem, the other for hard wiring for a single device. That last bit is a potential limit, of course, as is the 1Gbps upper limit on built-in Ethernet (to help keep the system under $200, one imagines). That could be a problem, depending on your specific plans. For example, if you have fiber, you will get congested. Me, I’m stuck with Spectrum at the moment (I know, I know), so, um, no problem there.

But obviously you don’t want a device between you and the wall slowing down your internet speed. Either way, the service you’re using determines your top speed.

Image credits: Brian Heater

Download the Google Home app to get started, and you’ll go through a simple, accelerated setup process if you can quickly snap a QR code on the underside of the product. The paper-based startup guide that comes in the box includes three basic steps (plug in the router, download the app, follow the onscreen instructions) and two images spread over two small pages. I wouldn’t say it’s definitely all you need, but if you don’t have any hiccups (always having to consider networking devices), it should be plenty.

The Nest Wifi is a good system, and honestly, if you’ve already bought one, you probably don’t need to rush out and upgrade. Its combined speed for Wi-Fi 5 topped out with a stated speed of 2.2Gbps compared to Wifi Pro’s 5.4Gbps. Remember that both are visualized in combination on three bands. Let’s just say they are very optimistic numbers.

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

6 GHz will help address the growing need for Wi-Fi spectrum capacity to ensure Wi-Fi users continue to receive the same great user experience with their devices. The Wi-Fi Alliance is now introducing Wi-Fi 6E to ensure industry compliance with common terminology, allowing Wi-Fi users to identify devices that support 6 GHz operation when spectrum is available.

Image credits: Brian Heater

Another important note here: The Pro is not backward compatible with the standard Nest Wifi. That means you can’t mix and match. It’s a shame because you can find some really good deals on those standard, old Nest Wifi devices right now. Another small point to note here is that, unlike their predecessors, there are no built-in smart speakers here. But as I type this, you can currently buy the Nest Mini directly from Google for $20, so buy it now.

Google’s Nest devices bring some other nice elements, such as a dedicated guest network, parental controls, and aviation security updates. For a quick and easy way to get your home Wi-Fi network up and running at high speeds (including access to the 6GHz band), plus some family-friendly features, here is a package that is hard to beat. Pro runs $200 for one, $300 for two, and $400 for three.

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