We haven’t seen a new Google Nest Wifi product since 2019, but rumor has it that Google is about to make a substantial upgrade 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 unknown source talking to 9to5Google (opens in new tab), which can usually be relied upon for accurate information. It also seems that the smart home networking kit provided by Google is being simplified somewhat.
A jump from Wi-Fi 5 (supported by the current line-up) to Wi-Fi 6 should see a potential speed increase from 3.5 Gbps to 9.6 Gbps, assuming other connected devices are Wi-Fi 6 compatible. However, the source was unable to confirm whether the latest Wi-Fi 6E standard will be adopted by the hardware.
Google Wifi vs Nest Wifi
Right now in the US you can pick up both the Nest Wifi pack and the Google Wifi pack, which is a rather confusing situation. The latter devices don’t offer Google Assistant support, but have Ethernet ports on board, and are all the same: they can all act as Internet-connected routers and as satellite nodes that span the mesh network.
The current Nest Wifi series has routers and satellite nodes as separate options. That’s set to change with this update, so the Nest Wifi series will be similar to the Google WiFi series (last refreshed in 2020).
At the moment we don’t have a specific launch date for the next Nest Wifi products, though we wouldn’t have thought they would be far away. Reports suggest that they are likely to come in multiple colors, though it is not yet clear whether Google Assistant will be on board again.
Analysis: An upgrade overdue
The original Google Wifi mesh networking system was introduced all the way back in 2016 and was pretty advanced for its time. The idea of having multiple devices spread around the house to maximize Wi-Fi coverage everywhere was still fairly new.
Since then, through the introduction of the friendlier-looking Nest devices, Google has truly surpassed the competition. For example, mesh networking systems like the Amazon Eero 6 already have Wi-Fi 6 built-in, and it’s just as simple and straightforward to operate as the products available on Google’s offer.
At the high end, companies including Netgear and Linksys are rolling out premium networking gear that can cover vast areas with superfast Wi-Fi. Devices like the Netgear Orbi WiFi 6 cost a lot more than the Google Nest Wifi, but at the same time offer a better level of performance and features.
It’s the kind of competition Google is up against, and an update to its mesh networking hardware is now long overdue. The introduction of Wi-Fi 6 will be a good start for the new models, but as always pricing is going to be important.