We haven’t seen a new Google Nest Wifi product since 2019, but rumor has it that Google is about to release a substantial update to its range of mesh routers – and this time the latest Wi-Fi 6 speeds and technologies are going to be supported.
This is according to an anonymous source speaking to 9to5Google (opens in new tab), which can generally be reliant on for accurate information. It also looks like the smart home networking kit Google offers will be streamlined to some extent.
A jump from Wi-Fi 5 (supported by current lineup) to Wi-Fi 6 should see potential speed increases of up to 9.6Gbps from 3.5Gbps, assuming other connected devices support Wi-Fi 6. However, the source was unable to confirm whether the latest Wi-Fi 6E standard would be adopted by the hardware.
Google WiFi vs Nest WiFi
Right now in the US you can buy both a Nest Wifi package and a Google Wifi package, a pretty confusing state of affairs. The latest devices don’t support Google Assistant, but they do have Ethernet ports on board and they’re all identical: they can all act as internet-connected routers and as satellite nodes expanding the mesh network.
In the current Nest Wifi series, there are routers and satellite nodes as distinct options. That should change with this update, so the Nest Wifi series will become more like the Google WiFi series (which was last updated in 2020).
For now, we don’t have a specific release date for upcoming Nest Wifi products, although we didn’t think it would be too far off. They will likely come in a variety of colors, the report suggests, although it’s still unclear whether or not Google Assistant will be on board again.
Analysis: update delayed
The original Google Wifi mesh system was introduced in 2016 and was quite advanced for the time. The idea of having multiple devices spread around the house to maximize Wi-Fi coverage everywhere was still quite new.
Since then, with the introduction of the more user-friendly looking Nest devices, Google has really been outclassed by the competition. A mesh networking system like the Amazon Eero 6 already has Wi-Fi 6 built in, for example, and is as simple and straightforward to operate as the products Google offers.
On the higher end, companies like Netgear and Linksys are releasing premium networking gear that can cover large areas with super-fast Wi-Fi. A device like the Netgear Orbi WiFi 6 costs substantially more than the Google Nest Wifi, but at the same time it also offers a significantly better level of performance and features.
This is the kind of competition Google faces, and an upgrade to its mesh networking hardware is long overdue. The introduction of Wi-Fi 6 will be a good start for the new models, but as always the price will be crucial.