In lockdown, a good internet connection is important. Google have launched a new wifi system that claims a strong connection in every direction. I’ve been using the new Google Nest Wifi over the last few weeks, as an add-on to my router. This won’t replace your existing broadband modem.
Like the rest of the country, I’ve been spending more time in my back garden, where I get little to no wifi coverage. After installing the Nest WiFi point in my kitchen, I now have a strong signal all the way to the back of my garden. The extra wifi point acts as an extender in setting up a wifi mesh network. With my standard broadband modem, I have a single point from where the wifi signal is transmitted. The closer you are to that signal, the better your download/upload speed will be.
However, walls, other electronic devices, and so on, will reduce the signal strength and even cause interference, resulting in spotty signal quality. Of course, the bigger your house, the more problems you will have, but even in a small house there can be issues and these are the things that the Nest WiFi is designed to overcome.
In the kit I received from Google, I got the main device, which connected directly to my existing broadband modem, via an ethernet cable. Thankfully, it also has another port, which you can connect to another device, so you don’t lose any ports.
Nest WiFi is as simple to set up as Chromecast or Google Home smart speaker, using the Google Home app. It really is one of the simplest wifi systems to install and set up, which is important if you don’t have a degree in networking.
If you’re considering upgrading from the original Google WiFi, you should get up to two times the speed and up to 25% overall coverage improvement.
I did a lot of comparison testing between the Nest WiFi and my existing broadband modem’s wifi.
Download and upload speeds were comparable, although the Nest was slightly faster, but not enough that you’d discern a difference in real-world use. However, your mileage may vary. If I turned off the router, the Nest WiFi would be up and running much faster than my existing modem. Also, it is far better at managing wifi traffic with a lot of devices connected, something my modem would struggle with intermittently.
Adding the extra Nest point to extend the range throughout the house is a massive bonus, especially now that it reaches my garden. If you have a large house and there are black spots or places where the wifi is spotty, then the extra Nest point is a game-changer. You can purchase additional Nest points if you require even more coverage, but just one is more than enough for most standard-sized homes.
The Nest WiFi system is not just a dumb wifi extender, but a smart device that allows you to control the priority of certain devices, test the speed of your network, set up a guest network, or change your password. All of these, more advanced features have to be done using the Google WiFi app and not the Google Home app.
Other features include the Family WiFi, which can pause the internet for a group of devices or for specific devices.
You can also set a schedule, ahead of time, for regular routines, like getting ready for bed or distraction-free homework time and can even block adult content on children’s devices by using groups and Google’s SafeSearch technology.
The Nest Wifi point also has a speaker with the Google Assistant, which means it can do everything that Nest Mini can do, although it sounds a heck of a lot better. With it, you can use your voice to control smart devices or play your favourite radio station or just ask Google a question.
The Nest WiFi doesn’t support WiFi 6 and you can replace your existing modem, but it more than makes up for this in the simplicity of set-up, ease of use, and powerful features in both hardware and software.
Available from store.google.com/ie: Nest WiFi router €159, Nest WiFi router and point, €259; Nest WiFi point, €139.