The Nest Wifi Pro -- first announced on October 4, 2022, as Google's latest Wi-Fi hardware in its once-called Google Wifi lineup -- has a cheeky name.
There's nothing professional about it, as its "Pro" notion suggests. It's the simplest Wi-Fi mesh router or mesh system you can find. Possibly even too simple.
You can get a single unit for $199.99, a 2-pack for $ 299.99, or a 3-pack for $399.99. I'd say the pricing is competitive, about the same as the TP-Link Deco XE75. And chances are it will get even lower during the upcoming holidays. That's the good news.
If you opt for a single unit, there are four colors to match your home, including Snow (white), Linen (beige), Fog (light blue), and Lemongrass (light yellow). For those needing a 2- or 3-pack, Snow is the only option for now.
The bad news is that competitive pricing is its only real upside. Among many other issues, its real-world performance is terrible, and the Wi-Fi customizability is extremely limited.
Here's the bottom line: If you want to turn your entire household completely part of the Google ecosystem -- and all that implies -- the new Nest Wifi Pro is a good choice, as long as your broadband is markedly below Gigabit. In this case, the new Wi-Fi 6E hardware will get the job done with minimum effort on your part.
On the other hand, any of these alternatives will give you better performance, features, privacy, and a reliable Wi-Fi 6E experience.
Dong's note: I first published this on October 4, 2022, as a first take and updated it to a review on October 31 after thorough hands-on testing. Between then and November 7, I added minor updates with additional screenshots, more in-depth information, better wording, and real-world power consumption.
Google Nest Wifi Pro: The
new elusive 6GHz band has to carry a lot of weight
The "Pro" notion has been used with a bit of jest in the world of canned mesh Wi-Fi systems. For example, the eero Pro has nothing pro, and TP-Link uses "Pro" to convey its hardware with a Multi-Gig port, etc.
In the case of the Nest Wifi Pro, the Pro notion seems to derive from the 6GHz band -- the new hardware supposedly supports the latest Wi-Fi standard to be the first Google Wi-Fi 6E router.
I could hardly use this band during my testing -- more below.
So, at best, the Nest Wifi Pro has a flippant moniker.
Wi-Fi 6E in a nutshell
Wi-Fi 6E is a new Wi-Fi standard, an extension of Wi-Fi 6, that uses an entirely new 6GHz frequency band to deliver the same data rates as Wi-Fi 6 but more reliably. In return, it has a shorter range than the 5GHz band.
The 6GHz band won't connect with any 5GHz or 2.4GHz client. Wi-Fi 6E requires new hardware on both broadcasting and receiving ends. It's not decidedly better (or worse) than Wi-Fi 6, but just an additional wireless option.
Besides the 6GHz band, the Nest Wifi Pro has nothing else of note in Wi-Fi or home networking. It doesn't even have a Multi-Gig port. Instead, it comes with two Gigabit ports, like the original Google Wifi that came out almost a decade ago.
Consequently, its performance is guaranteed to be below Gigabit, even significantly so -- more in the performance section below. But first, let's check the tech.
Nest Wifi Pro Mesh Router: Hardware specifications and power consumption
The Nest Wifi Pro features mid-tier Wi-Fi specs with a total bandwidth of 5400Mbps.
That number doesn't mean much since you can connect a client to only one of its bands at a time. And none of its three bands (2.4GHz, 5GHz, and 6GHz) have the top Wi-Fi specs allowed by the Wi-Fi 6 and 6E standards.
Consequently, at best, you'll get Gig+ sustained wireless speed, and in real-world usage, the router's Gigabit port is the ceiling of your Internet and local network rates.
What is Gig+
Gig+, or Gig Plus, conveys a speed grade faster than 1Gbps but slower than 2Gbps. So, it's 1.5Gbps, give or take, and it's not fast enough to be qualified as Multi-Gig or multi-Gigabit.
Gig+ generally applies to the sustained speeds of Wi-Fi 6 or 6E -- via a 2x2 at 160MHz connection which has the 2400Mbps theoretical ceiling speed -- or Internet speed and is not used to describe wired network connections.
|Full Name||Google Nest Wifi Pro Mesh Router|
|Mesh Availability||2-pack or 3-pack|
(identical hardware units)
|Dimensions||5.312 x 4.6 x 3.35 inch|
(130 x 117 x 85 mm)
|Weight||0.99 lb (450 g)|
|6GHz Wi-Fi Specs||2x2 Wi-Fi 6E: Up to 2404 Mbps |
|5GHz Wi-Fi Specs||2x2 Wi-Fi 6: Up to 2404 Mbps |
|2.4GHz Wi-Fi Specs||2x2 Wi-Fi 6: 574 Mbs|
|Mesh Backhaul Band||Dynamic|
|Wired Backhaul Support||Yes|
|Wi-Fi Security||WPA, WPA2, WPA3|
|Mobile App||Google Home|
|Web User Interface||None|
|AP (Bridge) |
(as an individual router only)
|Network Ports||1x Gigabit WAN,|
1x Gigabit LAN
Thread border router
Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE)
(per 24 hours)
|≈ 170 Wh|
(measured at the router unit of a 2-pack mesh)
|Suggest Retail Price||$199.99 (single router)|
The router has comparatively low power consumption, just half or even lower than most other standalone Wi-Fi 6E routers I've tested but a tad higher than the similarly specced TP-Link Deco XE75.
So, as the supposedly latest and, well, "Pro" device, the Nest Wifi Pro's hardware is underwhelming. But it seems to have some unique built-in features to make up for that. Or does it?
Supposedly, per Nest, the new Wifi Pro sports the all-new and interesting Automated Frequency Coordination (AFC) for its 6GHz band.
AFC is slated to debut with Wi-Fi 7, but since it works on the 6GHz band, Wi-Fi 6E devices will likely also benefit when it becomes a reality.
As the name suggests, AFC allows the hardware to check for the existing broadcasters in the airspace and, when applicable, enables it to use higher broadcasting power than set by local regulations -- in the US, that's 30 dBm -- to boost the performance and range of the 6GHz band.
A crude AFC analogy
Automated Frequency Coordination (AFC) is like checking with the local authorities for permission to close off sections of city streets for a drag race block party.
When approved, the usual traffic and parking laws no longer apply to the area, and the organizers can determine how fast traffic can flow, etc.
In my testing, there was no way to know if AFC was in effect since the router has no customization for its Wi-Fi bands -- more below. But it highly likely was not because, well, as far as I know, AFC is not here until at least late 2023, if not longer.
Still, it's somewhat ironic that the Nest mentions AFC in the Wifi Pro since it's a low-power device. Physically small, chances are the router doesn't have any extra power to put into AFC. It barely has enough to take advantage of the default allowed broadcasting power level and doesn't even have a top-tier 6GHz band.
In any case, AFC is an inherent feature of the 6GHz band going forward -- it's still a future matter. And mentioning it today is like saying, "my future flying car can fly," which is the case of all flying cars, to prove that your current non-flying vehicle is special. It's marketing nonsense if you catch my drift.
By the time you can take advantage of AFC, chances are you'd want some Wi-Fi 7 hardware anyway.
Speaking of marketing nonsense, in 2015, Google introduced the OnHub, the original device that later morphed into the Google Wifi. Showing it off for the first time, an executive from the company told me that the device was so cool and smart you could wave your hand on its top to steer the Wi-Fi signals. I'm still haunted by that experience today.
Home automation support
As a result, if you use supported IoTs, you can manage them within the Google Home app, which you'd need for the Nest Wi-Fi Pro's setup and ongoing management.
The support for these low-power wireless standards saves users from getting a separate hub for them -- it's about convenience. It's worth noting that non-Wi-Fi IoT devices are much better for the performance and reliability of your Wi-Fi network. I detailed that in this post about Airtime Fairness.
Since the Google Home app is the encompassing control center that also manages the Nest Wifi Pro, the mesh router's support for the new IoT wireless standards will be transparent.
Specifically, from the user's perspective, they'd use the same app, and the new IoT devices are automatically detected. They will not notice or have to do any extras to get things done or even realize the role of the Nest Wifi Pro in the process. And that's a good thing.
But it does come with a cost.
The bloated, slow, and all-around annoying Home app
Using a single app for all smart home devices is a double-edged sword.
On the one hand, you can manage everything in one place. On the other, you can't control anything at an in-depth level. And finding what you need among a large group of devices can be a task.
In the beginning, there was a Google Wifi app specifically for Google's networking products which worked well -- similar to the case of other app-operated mesh routers, such as Amazon's eero, or TP-Link's Deco. In mid-2021, Google, for some near-sighted reason, removed that app and put its Wi-Fi devices under the same Google Home roof. Things have gone downhill since.
Initially, I was hoping that the Google Home app would get a much-needed overhaul with the Nest Wifi Pro. Well, it didn't.
The app has gotten highly bloated with too many settings and gimmicks. Yet, finding a particular customization option for a specific device is a pain.
Specifically, the Nest Wi-Fi Pro shares the same "Settings" section as all other devices the app manages. So, for example, if you want to change the Wi-Fi name, you have to look through the list of all other standard settings -- of other devices -- to find the "Nest Wifi" section before you can dig in and manage the router.
But then, if you want to change how the router notifies you, you have to go out to the "Settings" area again, look for the "Notifications" section, and then again, look for the "Wifi notifications" part.
The whole thing is time-consuming and annoying in an unnecessary way. It would be much more intuitive if users could jump to "Wi-Fi notifications" from within the "Nest Wifi" section.
The combination of too many options and settings, the arbitrary grouping of functions, and the slow app performance translate into a constrictive, frustrating, or overall terrible experience.
I used a Pixel 7 Pro, Google's latest smartphone, for the testing, and the Google Home app often took a few seconds to launch and then a second or two to move from one section to another.
In all, the Google Home app seems to be more of some software engineers' desire to show off their programming antics than a well-thought-out, user-friendly app.
But if you only care about getting the Google Nest Wifi Pro up and running, the app can still be easy enough, as long as you're patient or know what to expect.
Google Nest Wifi Pro: Detail photos
Google Nest Wifi Pro: An easy yet frustrating experience (for advanced users)
As mentioned above, the Google Home app is the only way to manage any Google Wifi device. And it makes things easy or frustrating depending on who you ask.
Let's start with the setup process.
Simple setup process
Setting up the Nest WiFi Pro is straightforward though a bit of patience would help -- as mentioned, the Home app can sometimes be slow. Here's the gist:
- Plug the Nest Wifi Pro into the power and wait for a minute or so.
- Run your Google Home app, and log in with a Google account. Create a "home" -- an encompassing label for a group of smart devices you use supposedly at a single address -- if it's your first time.
- Now under Home settings, choose to Add device. The app will look for available devices and find your Nest Wifi Pro if it's nearby.
- The rest is self-explanatory. The app will work you through a few steps, including scanning the QR code on Nest Wifi Pro's underside to add it to the "home", creating a Wi-Fi network, etc.
For those getting a 2- or 3-pack, I noted that the included hardware units were not pre-synced. You'll have to repeat step #3 above for each unit, and the system will build a mesh accordingly. That requires more time than other canned mesh systems with pre-synced hardware, but not a huge deal.
Zero Wi-Fi customization, no 6GHz for clients by default
Like previous Google Wi-Fi routers, the Nest Wifi Pro has no local web user interface. Consequently, there's not much you can do regarding Wi-Fi customization.
There's no way to separate each band with a different SSID or turn a band on or off, and there's no channel or channel width selection. The router will dictate what band is available to which clients, and it didn't do an excellent band-steering job, in my experience.
Indeed, this single-SSID-for-all approach proved to be highly frustrating. Among other things, I couldn't make a client connect to a particular band for the testing, nor could I manage any of the Wi-Fi bands. And the way the Nest Wifi Pro handled its Wi-Fi bands proved pretty unusual.
However, non-Google hardware generally allows users some control, such as turning a band's radio on or off, enabling the use of a particular band at a given time.
First, the router has its Wi-Fi Protected Access 3 disabled by default, with no suggestion to turn it on via the app's interface. Since the 6GHz band requires WPA3, the Nest Wifi Pro works as a Wi-Fi 6 -- not Wi-Fi 6E -- router if you set it up the way the Home app guides you and move on.
But even when I had gone out of my way to make sure the 6GHz band was in effect, most annoyingly and quite strange, my Wi-Fi 6E and Wi-Fi 6 clients often connected to Nest Wifi Pro -- working as a single router or a 2-pack mesh -- via the dated Wi-Fi 4 standard or the 2.4GHz band, as shown in the screenshots.
I could hardly ever connect a client to the 6GHz band. And I had many different Wi-Fi 6E clients, including Google's latest Pixel 7 Pro and a few Pixel 6 units.
Since the only way to find out to which band a client connects is via its Wi-Fi property page, there's generally no clear sign that the Nest Wifi Pro has a 6GHz band from the user's point of view. You can't know for sure you'll get a 6GHz connection at any given time.
On top of that, my test clients often appeared to switch bands on their own without me doing anything in particular. The whole thing was super unpredictable.
Things will hopefully improve via firmware updates. But for now, it's madness how the Nest Wifi Pro works. The hardware seems to be a lie at worst and poorly thought-out at best.
Limited network settings, no AP mode as a mesh system, incompatible with previous Google Wifi hardware
And the Nest Wifi Pro has little in the network settings department. You have IP reservation and port forwarding, and that's about it.
Like previous generations, as a single router, the Nest Wifi Pro has access point (AP) mode -- Google calls it "bridge mode" -- but when you use two or more units in a mesh system, this option is no longer. It's the only mesh I know that can't work as such in the AP mode.
Another thing to remember is that if you want to build a mesh with a Nest Wifi Pro router, the only way is to get multiple units -- up to 5 per Google. You can not use previous hardware (the original Google Wifi, OnHub, or Nest Wifi) with it -- not even with wired backhauling. It seems the new hardware is so Pro that it only goes solo!
Other than that, the router has a few simple features, including QoS (a.ka. Prefered Activities,) Parental Controls (a.k.a Family Wi-Fi), and a Guest network. None was particularly amazing in my experience, and all required something else to work -- more below.
All things considered, the Nest Wifi Pro feels more like a gadget, a toy, than an actual networking device, and the owner has little control over how it functions.
And that brings us to privacy risks.
High privacy risks
A router is a gateway to the Internet. Specifically, everything that goes between your local network (your home) and the Internet (the outside world) goes through the router.
Consequently, having to log into a Google account, you'll surrender your local network's activities to Nest (and, therefore, Google.) And that's a huge privacy risk.
The Google Home app allows you to initially not opt for sharing data with Google at a certain level. However, it constantly nags you to reverse that.
For example, to use any of the "features" mentioned above -- Family Wi-Fi, Guest networking, etc. -- you must enable Net Wifi cloud services where information about your network (and devices) are collected and stored at the vendor's server. It's above me why the Guest networking feature would require the vendor's involvement to work!
By now, if you're thinking, "Big deal! We've already given Google access to our personal information via the Chrome web browser, Android phones, and other Google-connected devices and services!" you're correct! And that's a sad truth.
But privacy is a matter of degree, and the Nest Wifi Pro (as well as previous versions) will bring the data collection to an up close and personal level -- the complete level.
That's because, again, everything in your local network and your Internet traffic go through the router, regardless of device or app. So if you use an Apple device or non-Google browsers (Firefox, Safari, Edge, etc.), for example, they are susceptible, too.
The data collection is technically possible -- whoever controls your router can see and even control anything that passes through it. How much information Nest collects from its users and what it does with it is anyone's guess.
To put it in a sentence, getting into the Google Nest Wifi ecosystem means trading functionality and control for potential ease of use and inherent privacy risks.
Some might call it a fair trade. For others, ignorance is bliss.
Google Nest Wifi Pro: Reliable coverage but unimpressive and super-fluctuating performance
For over a week, I tested the Google Nest Wifi Pro as a single router and a 2-pack mesh system and found its performance frustrating.
Generally, I tested all broadcasters' Wi-Fi bands separately using different channels. That proved impossible with this router since there's no way to customize its Wi-Fi bands.
I couldn't ensure the Wi-Fi 6E test client connected to the 6GHz, not the 5GHz, or even not using Wi-Fi 4, as mentioned above.
Since a Wi-Fi 6 or 6E client would switch bands at any given time, it was hard for me to perform a test that required a certain amount of time to finish using a particular band. Ultimately, I assumed that 5GHz or 6Ghz was used based on the final test throughput rates.
On the satellite unit, the 6GHz band might have been working solely for the backhaul and, therefore, wasn't available to clients -- like the case of the TP-Link Deco XE75. There's no way to know which band works as the backhaul, nor is there any user-accessible backhaul management in the Nest Wifi Pro. However, you can use wired backhauling by simply connecting the hardware units using network cables.
It's worth noting that the numbers on the charts, which are on par with similarly-specced hardware, were the best-case scenario.
There was always a line of sight between hardware units during my testing, and I only reported the best test results. In Nest's case, I picked instances where the clients didn't connect using Wi-Fi 4 -- which produced slow, often sub-100Mbps, data rates -- or the 2.4GHz band.
In my real-world anecdotal testing, where I placed the satellite unit farther from the router or behind a wall, the entire system's performance was significantly reduced.
Most of the time, I found clients connected to the 2.4GHz band or using the old Wi-Fi 4 standard. And, I generally got around 300Mbps out of my 10Gbps Fiber-optic broadband when having excellent Wi-Fi signals, and often significantly lower than that. (The Internet's speed was already throttled to 1Gbps by the Nest Wifi Pro's Gigabit WAN port.)
Something interesting to keep in mind: I happened to have a set of the original Google Wifi, and it delivered better and more consistent real-world speeds than the Nest Wifi Pro via a similar hardware placement.
So the speeds were not this mesh system's strong suit. But it did pass our 3-day stress test with no disconnection.
In terms of coverage, the Nest Wifi was similar to other lower-end hardware I've tried, like the Deco X60 or ZenWifi XD6. Generally, you can expect a single unit to cover 1500 ft2 (139m2), give or take, and your mileage will vary.
Disclosure: Due to privacy concerns, I tested the Nest Wifi Pro as a separate network from the one I use personally. That said, my experience with it was not as "real-world," and its stress test was not as taxing as the case of others.
Google Nest Wifi Pro's Rating
Simple to set up and use for mobile users; built-in support for home automation
Reliable Wi-Fi coverage; wired backhauling support
Compact, cute design; competitively priced; low power consumption
Zero customization, limited network settings, slow Wi-Fi speeds, no 6GHz network by default
Bloated, slow, and unintuitive Home app; huge privacy risks; no web user interface
Minimum ports; no Dual-WAN, Link Aggregation, Multi-Gig, or AP mode (as a mesh system)
Late to the Wi-Fi 6E game, the new Google Nest Wifi Pro has nothing to add and leaves much to be desired. The "Pro" notion is laughable, if not ludicrous.
The hardware will likely get better with firmware updates, but still, I'd call the Nest Wifi Pro a testament that Google has no genuine interest in home networking. The company has created a bare-minium Wi-Fi broadcaster focusing mainly on collecting user data.
If you have a modest sub-Gigabit broadband connection(*), want an easy-to-use, reliable Wi-Fi solution, and don't mind the privacy risks, the new Nest Wifi Pro can make a good purchase.
(*) Up to 500Mbps if you use a single router or 300Mbps if you use a wireless mesh. Expect the general speeds to be half of that around the house.
And that's a big if, even when factoring in the aesthetic appeal of the hardware's shiny skin and smooth curves. Ultimately, it's your call.
Personally, I'd never use it for myself. There are many better and more satisfying options, and the Nest Wifi Pro's limited Wi-Fi customization and idiotic Home app alone are already a deal breaker.