Nest Wifi Professional Assessment: An Entry-Degree Finances Decide Amongst Wi-Fi 6E Mesh Routers

7.7

Nest Wifi Professional

Like


  • Extremely constant speeds

  • Simple to arrange and handle

  • Sturdy good dwelling assist through Google House app and built-in Thread radio

  • Design can mix in nearly wherever

  • Wonderful worth amongst Wi-Fi 6E mesh routers

Don’t love


  • WAN port caps incoming wired speeds from the modem at a single gigabit per second

  • Wasn’t quick sufficient to make full use of a gigabit connection in our wi-fi pace exams

  • Common latency spikes as excessive as 150ms

  • Assist for 160MHz channels on 5GHz band would not work with all gadgets

Google isn’t any stranger to constructing Wi-Fi routers, so it was only a matter of time till the corporate launched a higher-end machine for professional customers. Lo and behold, the Nest Wifi Professional. Google’s upgraded mesh router helps the newest Wi-Fi 6E commonplace and good dwelling necessities like Thread and Matter.

However extra importantly, the Nest Wifi Professional retains its distinctive minimalist design that can comfortably slot into most dwelling rooms. Wish to add some pizzazz to the marshmallow-like design? You may even get a selection of 4 colours, together with a pastel blue dubbed Fog, a beige-like Linen, a pastel-yellow Lemongrass and a white conveniently referred to as Snow.

After all, even the best of designs cannot save an ill-equipped router. Fortunately, that is not the case right here. Every Nest Wifi Professional module guarantees mixed speeds of as much as 5.4Gbps throughout all three of its bands. That is twice what the unique Nest Wifi router promised — a reasonably stable improve already. Do needless to say these are simply theoretical maximums. Actual-world speeds might be considerably decrease as you possibly can hook up with just one band at a time.

This brings up the query of whether or not it is price going Professional. The Nest Wifi Professional’s budget-friendly positioning and ease of entry make it a stable different to the comparable Eero Professional 6E system. It is also a fraction of the price of higher-end routers just like the AXE11000 model of the Netgear Orbi.

Look, the Nest Wifi Professional is not going to blow you away with top-tier speeds, nor does it provide Professional-essentials like multi-gig WAN — a should for many who have invested in a few of the greatest multi-gig web plans. Nevertheless, it makes up for these misses with regular reliability, ease of setup, and distinctive worth amongst Wi-Fi 6E routers. However should you’re searching for the best possible mesh router available on the market, the Nest WiFi Professional won’t be what you are searching for.

Design: Nest Wifi Professional brings the colour (however forgot the multi-gig jack)

A trio of white-colored Nest Wifi Pro mesh router devices against a fiery orange background. The first is front-facing, the second shows off the profile view from the side, the third has its back to us, revealing a power jack and two ethernet jacks. A trio of white-colored Nest Wifi Pro mesh router devices against a fiery orange background. The first is front-facing, the second shows off the profile view from the side, the third has its back to us, revealing a power jack and two ethernet jacks.

Every Nest Wifi Professional machine is similar and interchangeable, with two Ethernet jacks within the again. With the unique Nest Wifi, the extenders had been separate gadgets from the primary router, and so they did not embrace Ethernet jacks in any respect.

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A little bit over 5 inches tall and a bit greater than 3 inches thick, every Nest Wifi Professional machine is similar and interchangeable, and all of them function a pair of Ethernet jacks, so you possibly can wire any of them to your modem and use it as the primary router on your community. That is a giant change from the unique Nest Wifi, the place the extenders had been separate gadgets from the primary router of the system. These extenders (Nest calls them “Factors”) did not embrace Ethernet jacks in any respect, which meant that you just could not wire them again to the router for quicker efficiency.

The Nest Wifi Professional fixes that, so wired backhauls are again on the menu. Should you’d fairly keep wi-fi, the system will relay net site visitors by your private home utilizing the 6GHz band, which looks like an acceptable use of that spectrum to me. With sufficient bandwidth for a number of 160MHz channels, the 6GHz band is well-equipped to maneuver mass quantities of knowledge, and for the reason that solely gadgets that may entry that band are different Wi-Fi 6E gadgets, it is largely free from congestion and interference, too.

Watch this: Wi-Fi 6 vs. Wi-FI 6E: Here is the distinction in three minutes

The opposite principal level of be aware about these Ethernet jacks on every machine is that each of them cap incoming wired speeds at a single gigabit per second. That is a bottleneck so far as your Wi-Fi is anxious, since you’ll want to make use of a type of jacks to attach the router to your modem. Should you’re paying for a multi-gig web plan, these faster-than-a-gigabit speeds will not make it previous that bottleneck, so you will not see Wi-Fi speeds any quicker than a single gig.

It is a head-scratching omission for a few causes. The primary is Nest’s “Professional” branding, which positions the system as an improve decide. That pitch makes significantly much less sense given the rising variety of rivals that provide multi-gig WAN ports, together with programs from Eero, Asus, Netgear and extra. A few of these programs have been available on the market for years at this level. 

The second motive? Multi-gig web plans are on the rise, with a number of new choices obtainable this 12 months from names like AT&T, Frontier, Xfinity, Ziply Fiber, Verizon and Google Fiber, which was one of many first to supply a multi-gig plan at 2Gbps, and which not too long ago touted speeds as excessive as 20Gbps in its newest discipline exams. Should you join a multi-gig web plan like that from Google, then you definately’ll wish to remember to use one thing different than Google’s personal top-of-the-line mesh router, as a result of it would not assist multi-gig Wi-Fi speeds in any respect. Once more, head-scratching.

App controls: Google House goes all-in

Getting began with Nest Wifi Professional is straightforward: simply plug one of many gadgets in and join it along with your modem utilizing an Ethernet cable, then open the Google House app in your Android or iOS machine. An choice to arrange the brand new Nest Wifi Professional system instantly appeared proper on the prime of the app’s dwelling display screen; I gave {that a} faucet, adopted a number of easy directions, and had my community up and operating inside a couple of minutes.

Your Nest Wifi settings (that inexperienced icon within the prime row) might want to compete with plenty of different good dwelling devices on your consideration within the Google House app.

Google

With no mish-mash of flashing lights to decipher, no buttons to press, no IP addresses to punch into an internet browser and no settings to toggle, it is actually about so simple as router setup will get. That is a giant a part of the attraction right here — it is perhaps referred to as Professional, however the router is basically noob-proof.

In truth, the most important benefit right here is the sturdy good dwelling tech fairly than Wi-Fi administration supplied by the Nest Wifi Professional. Packing radios for Thread and Matter, Google is positioning the high-end router because the central hub for all of your good dwelling devices.

I occur to suppose it is a good, cohesive pitch and one thing to look at as Matter makes its massive debut. If not, and good dwelling tech would not attraction to you, then Nest Wifi Professional and the Google House app may really feel like overkill.

Efficiency and pace: Nest Wifi Professional vs. its prime Wi-Fi 6E mesh rivals

To offer the Nest Wifi Professional a good shake, I pit it in opposition to two of the very best Wi-Fi 6E mesh routers round: Amazon’s Eero Professional 6E and the AXE11000 model of the Netgear Orbi. Whereas each of these programs command a premium over the Nest Wifi Professional, I needed to see if Google’s greatest might sustain with the 2 — each with Wi-Fi 6 and Wi-Fi 6E consumer gadgets.

Throughout all rooms examined in a 1,350 sq. foot take a look at house with a gigabit web connection, the Nest Wifi Professional’s common obtain speeds (left) and common add speeds (proper) to a Wi-Fi 6 consumer machine lagged behind the Eero Professional 6E and Netgear Orbi AXE11000 mesh programs — although every of these rivals prices greater than Nest Wifi Professional.

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Wi-Fi 6 speeds

My Wi-Fi take a look at setup consists of a 1,350-square-foot house with a number of rooms and gigabit fiber web speeds. With every system’s router arrange in the lounge and a single extender arrange within the children’ room on the reverse finish of the take a look at house, I spent a number of days measuring common add and obtain speeds throughout 4 rooms within the house in addition to a fifth room a number of meters away that we have designated because the “storage.”

Ultimately, it was Eero Professional 6E that logged the quickest common speeds to my Wi-Fi 6 take a look at machine, a Lenovo ThinkPad laptop computer that I picked up in late 2019. The Netgear Orbi system was shut behind it, adopted by the Nest Wifi Professional in a not-too-distant third place. All three saved my speeds within the triple digits in all rooms always, which might make for a reasonably satisfying web expertise at dwelling. Nonetheless, I used to be upset to see Nest Wifi Professional return common add and obtain speeds throughout the entire house that fell beneath 500Mbps. With Eero Professional 6E, my common Wi-Fi 6 obtain pace was 586Mbps, with uploads at an much more spectacular 720Mbps. With Netgear Orbi, these figures had been 566Mbps and 631Mbps, respectively.

However once more, these programs are every dearer than Nest Wifi Professional, so a slight dip in efficiency looks like an affordable trade-off as long as the speeds are constant, dependable and quick sufficient for on a regular basis actions like streaming, working from dwelling, video conferencing and gaming on-line. Nest Wifi Professional checks all of these packing containers, nevertheless it nonetheless would have been good to have seen a bit extra oomph right here.

A set of bar graphs showing the average upload and download speeds for three mesh systems -- Eero Pro 6E, Netgear Orbi AXE11000 and Nest Wifi Pro -- across five rooms in a 1,350 square foot test space to a Wi-Fi 6E client device. Netgear Orbi led the way with the fastest upload and download speeds, overall, including speeds that essentially maxed out the gigabit fiber connection in the two rooms nearest to the main router of the system. A set of bar graphs showing the average upload and download speeds for three mesh systems -- Eero Pro 6E, Netgear Orbi AXE11000 and Nest Wifi Pro -- across five rooms in a 1,350 square foot test space to a Wi-Fi 6E client device. Netgear Orbi led the way with the fastest upload and download speeds, overall, including speeds that essentially maxed out the gigabit fiber connection in the two rooms nearest to the main router of the system.

The AXE11000 model of Netgear Orbi is constructed to take full benefit of Wi-Fi 6E, full with two separate 6GHz bands, so it is no shock that it returned the quickest common speeds to a Wi-Fi 6E machine. And once more, Nest Wifi Professional got here up quick.

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Wi-Fi 6E speeds

With Wi-Fi 6 speeds examined, I set the ThinkPad apart and began operating exams on a Samsung Galaxy S21 that comes with full assist for Wi-Fi 6E. That is the forward-looking a part of my exams — will these programs make use of the 6GHz band to ship noticeably speedier efficiency to next-gen gadgets, and if that’s the case, how a lot speedier?

The graph above offers you a way of how they did. This time round, it was Netgear Orbi that led the way in which, significantly with add speeds, the place it returned extraordinarily stable common speeds of 800Mbps throughout the whole space. Eero Professional 6E got here in second with common uploads of 591Mbps, and Nest Wifi Professional introduced up the rear with a surprisingly low 397Mbps. Nest’s common obtain pace to my Galaxy machine had been a bit higher, coming in at 524Mbps, however that was nonetheless behind the 745 and 708Mbps obtain averages for Netgear and Eero, respectively.

I might have appreciated to have seen Nest do lots higher right here. That 397Mbps Wi-Fi 6E add common was even decrease than I noticed from my Wi-Fi 6 laptop computer, the place the typical add got here in at 463Mbps. Then once more, the identical was true with Eero — the typical uploads had been quicker with my Wi-Fi 6 laptop computer (720Mbps) than with my Wi-Fi 6E smartphone (591Mbps). Solely the Netgear Orbi system was capable of enhance the uploads on my Wi-Fi 6E machine, and that is smart on condition that it is an ultra-fancy, quad-band router with two separate 6GHz bands, one devoted to the wi-fi backhaul and one other that is designated for consumer gadgets like my Galaxy cellphone. The Eero and Nest programs are tri-band fashions that embrace solely a single 6GHz band, and every of them makes use of that band primarily because the system’s wi-fi backhaul.

These graphs plot out the latency outcomes for each pace take a look at that we run with every system, all to the identical server throughout the identical testing interval. The Eero and Netgear programs (blue and pink) held latency to roughly 20ms throughout all exams with no main spikes. The Nest Wifi Professional (yellow) saved latency to round 20 ms throughout most exams, too — nevertheless it additionally noticed a number of main spikes as excessive as 150ms. (Word that the dimensions is way bigger with the Nest graph — we needed to zoom out to point out you ways massive the spikes had been.)

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Latency was all around the map…

Latency is one thing else I regulate in my exams, because it measures the time it takes a router to ship a sign to a given server and obtain a response. Routers that may maintain latency as little as doable are higher picks for issues like videoconferencing and on-line gaming, the place a half-second delay in your connection might be a serious drag.

To check for this, I run all of my pace exams to the identical server and log the latency outcome for each pace take a look at I run. What outcomes are these radar graphs up above — every one reveals you every latency outcome for a given router plotted out as a round line graph. You wish to see a hoop that is as easy and near the middle as doable.

That is primarily what I received from Eero and Netgear, every of which held latency to a take a look at server roughly 275 miles away to about 20ms throughout a number of days of exams. Issues had been totally different with Nest Wifi Professional, although — though latency as soon as once more got here in at round 20ms for almost all of exams, I additionally noticed common spikes to 50, 80 and even 150ms, which is why the Nest graph seems extra like a kindergartner’s finger portray of the solar. In lots of circumstances, you won’t even discover spikes like these, however nonetheless, it is lower than preferrred should you’re in a sudden-death on-line gaming situation or you probably have a giant job interview over Zoom arising.

Every dot in these graphs is a single obtain pace take a look at outcome. Netgear and Nest had been each extremely constant as I moved from room to room, however Eero’s lounge speeds had been a lot decrease throughout take a look at runs the place I began my connection removed from the router.

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…however on the intense aspect, speeds had been extremely constant

Even when Nest’s speeds had been a bit slower than I might prefer to see in these exams, I used to be struck by how constant these speeds had been from run to run. 

Particularly, I ran three units of exams to my Wi-Fi 6 machine with every system I examined, one throughout morning hours, one throughout night hours, and one through the center of the day. For every of these units, I might run a number of pace exams in every room, beginning with the lounge and dealing my option to the storage. Then I might disconnect and reconnect proper there within the storage, the farthest level from the router, and repeat my pace exams backward, ending up the place I began in the lounge. Splitting my exams right into a front-to-back set and a second back-to-front set lets me see if efficiency differs primarily based on how shut you might be to the router when your machine establishes its connection.

With Nest and Netgear, it made little or no distinction in any respect, which is an excellent outcome for a mesh router on condition that the addition of satellite tv for pc extenders provides some variability into your connection and the way in which it is routed. You’ll be able to see it within the graphs above, the place every dot represents the obtain pace from a single pace take a look at. Throughout all exams, the dots within the Netgear and Nest graphs stayed very shut collectively in every room. That tells you that the speeds stayed constant regardless of whether or not it was morning, midday or evening, and regardless of whether or not I began my connection near the router or removed from it.

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WPA3 safety and 160MHz channel width over 5GHz are two Nest Wifi Professional choices that come off by default. Turning the latter on may power a few of your gadgets onto the much-slower 2.4GHz community.

Screenshot by Ry Crist/CNET

It is a totally different story with Eero. Although the Eero Professional 6E logged a few of the quickest close-range lounge and kitchen speeds that I noticed throughout this spherical of comparability exams, it additionally logged a few of the slowest speeds in these rooms — and that is as a result of the system was preserving my site visitors routed by the extender throughout take a look at runs that began within the storage, even after I might transfer again into the kitchen and lounge. In equity, that appeared to occur a bit with Netgear and Nest, as nicely, nevertheless it hardly impacted my speeds because it did with Eero. At any price, it is usually an excellent outcome when a $299 mesh system can sustain with one which prices $1,000 or extra.

160MHz channel assist on 5GHz is perhaps a no-go for some

The very last thing I am going to be aware on the efficiency entrance is that Nest Wifi Professional helps 160MHz channel width on the 5GHz band. The function is off by default, as not each machine helps it. That features my Wi-Fi 6 take a look at laptop computer — as quickly as I attempted turning it on, my speeds collapsed to 100Mbps or much less, even at shut vary. That is as a result of it wasn’t connecting over 5GHz in any respect anymore — with out 160MHz assist, it had no selection however to maneuver all site visitors to the a lot slower 2.4GHz band.

“That is for gadgets which assist 5GHz and are suitable with the brand new, excessive energy 160MHz channel,” a Nest spokesperson defined after I requested for clarification about what was happening. “Some 5GHz gadgets absolutely assist the brand new 160MHz channel. Some 5GHz gadgets do not absolutely assist the brand new 160MHz channel, however use it as if it had been an 80MHz channel. Sadly, different 5GHz gadgets not solely do not absolutely assist the brand new 160MHz channel, but additionally do not use it as if it had been an 80MHz channel; these gadgets hook up with a 2.4GHz channel as a substitute.”

Google says that it expects a rising variety of gadgets to come back on board with that function within the coming 12 months, and that it will take into account turning it on by default as soon as sufficient gadgets assist it. That’ll be one thing to look at for should you’re utilizing this technique.

A trio of white-colored Nest Wifi Pro mesh router devices sitting side by side against a fiery orange background. A trio of white-colored Nest Wifi Pro mesh router devices sitting side by side against a fiery orange background.

Ry Crist/CNET

Is ‘adequate’ adequate for you?

That is actually the query right here. Nest Wifi Professional would not provide game-changing Wi-Fi speeds or really distinctive options — nevertheless it’s a constant and dependable mesh Wi-Fi system that brings the advantages of the 6GHz band to your private home community. These advantages aren’t going to be that significant in lots of properties at this level, so Wi-Fi 6E is not vital function — however with the variety of Wi-Fi 6E gadgets anticipated to rise steadily within the coming 12 months, it is nonetheless a nice-to-have function.

With no multi-gig jack and speeds that fall wanting different 6E mesh programs we have examined, Nest’s “Professional” branding is perhaps a bit a lot right here, so should you’re searching for a real improve decide that makes higher use of the 6GHz band, you might wish to hold procuring round. Together with the aforementioned Netgear Orbi and Eero Professional programs, TP-HyperlinkLinksys and others have Wi-Fi 6E mesh programs which might be price a glance. However should you’re simply searching for a workable, reasonably priced Wi-Fi 6E system that may capably fill your own home with a dependable Wi-Fi sign, full with robust assist for the Matter-based good properties of tomorrow, then Nest Wifi Professional is perhaps precisely what you have been ready for.

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