From time to time, the father or mother of the 21st century family is faced with the disturbing scenario that answers the following question: “why isn’t the connection going?”, With looks between reproach and hope, executive spouses, teenage children, The smallest of the house and even the oldest generations, turn to the “expert” of the house looking for an answer.

Luckily, more and more manufacturers are aware of the drama that these people experience who, by vanity or by lottery, have been designated as the bearers of the valuable key to family (and sometimes business) connectivity and come to the rescue with solutions that, luckily Also, they are becoming easier to implement. And they have even ceased to be tremendously unsightly.

One of the main reasons for these connectivity frustrations is the low power and quality that routers provided by telecommunication companies often exhibit in order to keep costs down. At other times the problem is simply architecture. The fact that the Wi-Fi signal does not reach the entire house does not necessarily mean that we have a stately accommodation of several hundred square meters. Sometimes the physical obstacles and the material of them puts to rest with our Netflix sessions in some of the corners of our house.

Specifications Google Nest Wifi

Processor: ARM 1.4 GHz 4-core and 64-bit CPU
Memory: 1 Gb RAM 4 Gb Flash (router) 768 MB RAM 512 MB Flash (access point)
Antennas: 4 × 4 MIMO (5 GHz) 2 × 2 MIMO (2.4 GHz)
Wireless connectivity: Dual band IEEE 802.11a / b / g / n / ac
Connectivity: Two Gigabit ports
Signal: Up to 400 Mbps
Encryption: WPA2
Dimensions: 110 mm diameter, 90.4 height (router) 102.2 diameter 87.2 height (access point)

This lack of coverage has proliferated solutions of all kinds to cover these deficiencies, from simple Wi-Fi extenders that connected to a socket extend the signal of our network to the most advanced Mesh or mesh routers. Among others, Google has just presented in Spain its Google Nest Wifi system, a set of two devices (router and access point) that have the aforementioned Mesh technology but that add an attractive aesthetic, simplicity of configuration and use and integration (in the case of access points) of smart speaker functionalities. Everything within the Google Home ecosystem.

More coverage

According to Google, this new model improves the coverage of the previous Google Wifi by 25%, making it capable of covering an area of ​​210 square meters in ideal conditions. The router plus access point set is theoretically capable of covering up to 350 square meters and adding access points can increase this capacity.

We were able to test a set of router and access point, a package that is priced at 259 euros already available in the Google Store and that incorporates a router that deals with the Internet connection and the implementation of the mesh and an access point that also works as a Google Home smart speaker. The router can also be purchased only for 159 or an additional access point (without the router non-functionality) for 139 euros. The access point is also compatible with the previous Google WiFi.

Once the box is open we can see that the devices have the same avant-garde and pleasant design as other devices in the connected home range for which Google has adopted the name Nest of the smart home device company that it acquired in 2014. By the way , a very careful packaging in which attention has been paid even to the wires that collect the cables so that everything has a clean and tidy appearance.

Both the router and the access point are practically identical in design and at first glance only size distinguishes them. On closer examination, some details appear such as the Wi-Fi operation indicator LED on the front of the Router or the tiny micro-slots on the top of the access point, the grilles that discreetly reveal the speaker in the bottom and a switch to mute the microphone both also on the access point.

If we turn the router upside down we will also see the connection for the Ethernet network both input and output in addition to the connection to the power supply. This gives us a clue to the first step of the installation that we will see later. The design of the Google Nest Wifi is so attractive that the first test could not be other than simply placing the devices in different places in the house … to see where they were better. As you can see in the photos, the components of the new Nest WiFi family have passed this test with a note.

It is not that they go unnoticed but it is easy to integrate them into any type of decoration. By the way, for this integration with the decoration to be perfect, it seems that the access point can be purchased in different colors, although they are not yet available in the store.

Once the decorative test was carried out, we decided to improve our wireless installation with Google Nest Wifi. Following the instructions in the included brochure of just two pages, we connect the router with an Ethernet cable to the router connected to the Internet and connect it to the power. Next we need an Android phone or tablet on which we will install the Google Home application. Within the application we will indicate that we want to add devices and the router and the basic configuration possibilities will appear.

At this moment the network begins to be configured and in a few minutes without us having to do anything more than give it a name and assign a password it will be ready to work. Then we can install the access point in the same way: telling Google Home that we have a new device to configure. Curiously, this process is much longer than the configuration of the router, with reassuring messages (which are not so many) and friendly messages such as “there is little left” or “good things are waiting.” The reason we believe is due to updates but also because at that time is when the mesh of the two devices is configured.

Once both devices are installed with Google Home, the network will be working. Within this application we can only make a very basic configuration and we will obtain little data on the use of the network. If we want more configuration possibilities and more information we will have to install the Google Wifi application. In it we can configure various actions such as prioritizing connection to certain devices or configuring a guest network.

Wi-Fi … with the family

The Family Wifi section allows you to configure scheduled breaks for certain devices, pause the connection at the moment for these devices or block websites with adult content. Labels can be created to perform these actions with multiple devices at the same time. All with a simple tutorial that guides you step by step. We can even assign voice commands to carry out these actions, such as pausing the Wi-Fi of the little ones with a predefined phrase.

We can also access advanced settings such as making IP reservations or modifying the operation of address allocation within the network. They are less functions than we can find in other Mesh systems but more than enough and even too many for a user who does not need to perform a more complex configuration.

An interesting section is the network information that is obtained in a very intuitive way. Just by clicking on the devices we will be able to see statistics of their network use in real time or the accumulated data of one day, 7 days or 30 days. We can also perform speed and performance tests of both the network and the Internet connection. The truth is that both applications are intuitive and easy to use and it shows that they are designed for a user who does not want complications.

In fact and since the access point has the functionalities of a Google Home speaker we can ask out loud, for example, what is the speed of the Internet. The Google Nest Wifi router will perform the test and the access point will reply with the data.

Good mesh performance

Once familiar with Google Wifi, which has been easy and even fun (it is the first time that I talk to an access point about my connection quality) it is time for benefits. When it comes to installing these types of systems, the reasons are multiple. The main one is undoubtedly the aforementioned poor coverage of the standard routers of telecommunications companies, but there are also other reasons such as downloading them from work so that they are less prone to failures or the real reason for acquiring these mesh systems: that connectivity is intelligent.

If we connect to it with a device as we move around the house, the system will take care of assigning us the most appropriate and powerful connection without the need to manually change networks. So we will change the connection point as we move, but also bandwidth. The system uses two bands: the 2.4 GHz band (greater range but less transmission capacity) and the 5 GHz band (greater transmission capacity and shorter range).

To assign these parameters, it is not only based on the distance of the device from each of the nodes, but also on the data consumption it is carrying out. Google Nest Wifi uses the connection to the cloud to calculate using artificial intelligence the data usage of a device based on its history as well as other functions. According to Google, these data are not stored but are only used for connection optimization.

In reality there are other mesh devices that use this system to always provide maximum connectivity without the need to change networks. The difference from Google Nest Wifi is its implementation of design, ease of use and the incorporation of speaker functionalities. In exchange, some technical sophistication is lost, such as more advanced configuration, use of VPNs, compatibility with Wifi 6 or the connection between the router and access points through a dedicated frequency band (Google Nest Wifi uses the same frequency as the network).

In our performance tests, it has been entertaining to put the intelligence of the system in difficulties, going from low data usage to playing 4K video to see how Google Nest Wifi assigned us a band with a greater capacity when we required higher performance. Compared to other systems, it is not, of course, the most powerful Mesh product, but the truth is that it defends itself very well.

Conclusions

Improving connectivity in our homes is a challenge that we can all meet but until recently it was a complex task to face and not always with good results. Products like Google Nest Wifi can be a practical and not very complex solution to start up, which also has a good design and the addition of providing the functionality of a Google Home speaker.

Keep in mind that it is not a product for the “handyman” who tries to configure every last option of his router and it is not an inexpensive kit either but we can ask him what the weather is or tell him that he is fine with Fornite and pause the connection of the house warriors.

Final assessment
         

SUMMARY

A Google brand solution to improve the connectivity of the house very easy to configure with good features and if it were not elegant and with smart speaker functionalities. It could be somewhat more affordable.

Design and build9.5

Installation and software9.5

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