Google debuted its Nest Wifi—replacement for the original Google Wifi—today at Made by Google 2019. Details were sparse, but the device appears to effectively be the original Google Wifi hardware in an updated chassis—which Google hopes you’ll find attractive enough not to hide away in a cabinet—with the addition of an onboard smart speaker. Google did claim that Nest Wi-Fi delivers “up to two times the speed” and “25% more coverage” but with no technical detail, it’s difficult to expect much concrete out of that.
There was no mention of Wi-Fi 6 support or anything else notable on the actual Wifi front, but the addition of Google Assistant and a smart speaker in both the Nest Wifi Router and Nest-Wifi Point (satellite nodes) means fewer devices necessary for those who want to audibly command Wi-Fi setups, e.g. “OK Google, pause the Wi-Fi.” Frustrated parents can also give commands like “OK Google, pause the Wi-Fi for “childname” without impacting the rest of the network.
Google says that a two-piece Nest Wifi kit—one Nest Router and one Nest Point—should cover up to 3,800 square feet and 85% of homes. This claim, like most arbitrary claims of Wi-Fi coverage with no real detail, should be taken with several grains of salt.
Homes with Wi-Fi blocking obstructions like the partial basement floor in my house, elevator shafts running through apartments, etc., will likely be in that alluded-to 15%, whether they hit 3,800 square feet or not. Original Google Wifi was particularly bad at tree topology (router –> node –> node rather than node <— router –> node) which added to the difficulty of routing around Wi-Fi obstructions; we won’t know for sure whether Nest Wi-Fi has materially improved on this until we have a unit to test.
Google says that Nest Wifi is backward-compatible with first-generation Google Wifi devices, so the two can be mix-and-matched on the same local network.
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