Nest Wi-Fi announced at Made by Google 2019 today

Google debuted their Nest Wi-Fi—replacement for the original Google Wi-Fi—today at Made by Google 2019. Details given were sparse, but the device appears to effectively be the original Google Wi-Fi 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 Wi-Fi front, but the addition of Google Assistant and a smart speaker in both the Nest Wi-Fi Router and Nest-Wi-Fi Point (satellite nodes) means fewer devices necessary for those who want to audibly command Wi-Fi setups, eg “Hey Google, pause the Wi-Fi.” Frustrated parents can also give commands like “Hey Google, pause the Wi-Fi for $childname” without impacting the rest of the network.

Google says that a two piece Nest Wi-Fi 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 15%, whether they hit 3,800 square feet or not. Original Google Wi-Fi 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 some to test.

Google says that Nest Wi-Fi is backward compatible with first-generation Google Wi-Fi devices, so the two can be mix-and-matched on the same local network.

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