Google Nest Wifi review: Simple fix for speedy internet

Google Nest Wifi not only blankets your home with full-strength Wi-Fi, but these devices double up as Google Home smart speakers too

What We Love

  • Expertly Extends Your Wi-Fi
  • Google Assistant In Every Room
  • Schedule Broadband Breaks
  • Temporary Guest Networks
  • Prioritise Select Devices
  • Download And Speed Test Data

What We Don’t

  • Buying Multiple Nodes Can Be Pricey
  • No Ethernet Ports On Extenders 

Google Nest Wifi

Google Nest Wifi is a complete mesh Wi-Fi kit that expertly extends your wireless internet into every corner of your home, lets you prioritise bandwidth to select devices or activities (like video calls or gaming) and blocks adult sites for younger users. It also doubles-up as a speaker with chatty AI helper Google Assistant under the bonnet 

Google’s clever Nest Wifi kit solves two problems – it blankets every corner of your home with speedy wireless internet and brings its chatty AI helper, Google Assistant, to almost every room. Unlike the first-generation mesh Wi-Fi system from Google, each node included with Nest Wifi doubles up as a Google Nest smart speaker.

That means you’ll be able to use the wake phrase “OK, Google” to summon the eager AI to play your favourite songs, stream live radio stations, listen to audiobooks and podcasts, plan-out directions, add items to your calendar, set timers and reminders, start voice calls to friends and family, and answer any general knowledge question that pops into your head.

If you haven’t already got Google Nest or Amazon Echo smart speakers dotted around your home, this is a very welcome bonus of picking the Nest Wifi system over rivals like Amazon’s Eero 6 and Eero Pro 6E.

Let’s be honest, the addition of Google Assistant is just a nice bonus. The primary reason for buying Nest Wifi is to boost your Wi-Fi signal throughout your home. So, does it work?

Absolutely. If you’re struggling to stream Netflix from the upstairs bedroom, or getting stuttering connectivity on your FaceTime calls as you move between rooms, Google Nest Wifi should iron-out all of those issues within minutes of finishing the idiot-proof set-up process.

Everything is managed from the Google Home app on iPhone, Android, iPad, or Chromebooks. With just a few taps, you can pause the internet on select devices – like a younger family members’ Xbox Series X after bedtime, for example – create temporary Wi-Fi networks with their own distinct name and password so neighbours and guests don’t have permanent access to your broadband, block adult content, and prioritise bandwidth for video calls or Netflix binges above everything else on your network.

If you’re paying for decent fibre broadband speeds, but struggle to get strong Wi-Fi signal as you move around your house, Google Nest Wifi is a brilliant solution. Anyone thinking of installing smart lightbulbs, video doorbells, internet-connected thermostats, security cameras, smart speakers, or any other smart home gadgetry …but are worried about how your Wi-Fi will hold up under the strain, Google Nest Wifi should be your first purchase before upgrading anything else.

Unlike mesh systems from BT broadband or Virgin Media, you’ll be able to continue using Google Nest Wifi even as you switch to the best broadband deal at the end of your contract. You won’t even need to reconnect all of your devices to the new network, since everything is managed from the Google Nest kit, not the router from your internet supplier.

Google Nest Wifi

Google Nest Wifi is a complete mesh Wi-Fi kit that expertly extends your wireless internet into every corner of your home, lets you prioritise bandwidth to select devices or activities (like video calls or gaming) and blocks adult sites for younger users. It also doubles-up as a speaker with chatty AI helper Google Assistant under the bonnet 


  • How does Google Nest Wifi work?
  • Google Assistant support
  • Google Home app
  • Final Verdict
  • Google Nest Wifi review

    Given that Google’s entire business takes place online, you’d think the Californian company would be best placed to ensure you get rock-solid Wi-Fi in every room of your house.

    And that assumption would be correct.

    Unfortunately, what the search giant knows about online connectivity, it lacks in coherent branding.

    Yes, Google Nest Wifi is actually the successor to the Google Wifi system announced back in October 2016. Google has decided to rename its mesh network system under the Google Nest banner, which is supposed to unify all of the firm’s smart home hardware efforts (something that has been a long time coming, given that the Mountain View-based company first bought Nest for $3.2billion back in January 2014). For our money, we preferred the simplicity of the Google Wifi name, but it’s a small nitpick.

    We’ve paired a three-node Google Nest Wifi kit with your BT broadband connection to test this mesh Wi-Fi system – the overall speed, whether it could extend our internet into every room, and whether it could withstand the strain of working from home, online multiplayer games, and streaming Ultra HD boxsets and movies on Sky Glass and Sky Stream boxes.

    Our in-depth review has everything you need to know.

    How does Google Nest Wifi work?

    In the majority of circumstances, Google Nest Wifi won’t replace the router that you’ve been sent from your broadband provider (BT, Sky, TalkTalk, Plusnet, etc) but will need to be plugged into it via ethernet. For best results, you’ll want to disable the Wi-Fi from the free router sent from your broadband supplier, but connecting the Google Nest Wifi directly into the fibre cable that snakes into your home from the street outside won’t work.

    If you live in a small home – like a bungalow or a flat – a single Nest Wifi hub wired into your router might be enough. Google says that a single Nest Wifi node can cover 120m2 with strong Wi-Fi. If you live in an older building with thicker, brick partitioning walls then wireless signals will be stopped in their tracks much sooner than newer builds with stud walls.

    The advantage of a mesh Wi-Fi system is that you can steadily add additional nodes to strengthen or extend your Wi-Fi signal. You can add all of these Google Nest Wifi nodes during the initial setup, or slowly build out your mesh system over time.

    With Google Nest Wifi nodes scattered around your home, you should enjoy strong wireless signal everywhere. As you meander from room to room, Google will quietly move your devices to the nearest node with the strongest signal. This all happens in the background, so you won’t ever need to worry about diving into the Wi-Fi settings menu on your device.

    As a result, corners of your home that previously couldn’t get a whisper of Wi-Fi will become thriving hotspots for bandwidth-intensive tasks, like FaceTime video calls, online gaming, streaming Ultra HD boxsets from Netflix, backing up photos to the cloud, and much more.

    Unlike Amazon’s rival Eero mesh system, where all the nodes are interchangeable, Google’s Nest Wifi has a main hub and a series of marshmallow-like extenders that double-up as smart speakers, complete with hands-free access to the chatty Google Assistant to set timers, listen to the radio, control your smart boiler, order takeaway… all the usual Alexa-style tricks.

    Corners of your home that previously couldn’t get a whisper of Wi-Fi will become thriving hotspots for FaceTime calls 

    Not only does this save you buying any Google Nest Mini speakers for some rooms in your house, but it also means you’re more inclined to place the nodes out in the open (and not squirrelled away behind a bookcase) which will help boost your Wi-Fi. Unfortunately, this new Google Assistant-centric redesign comes at the expense of the ethernet ports, so if you’re planning to wire-in hard drives, consoles, and more, in each room – you’d be better off with the Eero.

    If you’ve already got a first-generation Google Wifi system (which did have ethernet ports on all of the extenders) and have moved into a new property, buying a few extra Google Nest Wifi nodes could be a perfect way to further boost your home broadband, while also adding some Google Assistant to new rooms. But if you’re looking to use ethernet to connect-up some of your gadgets to the internet, you might want to give the new Google Nest Wifi system a swerve in favour of its predecessor.

    The abundance of gigabit-capable ethernet ports on each extender is something we praised in our Amazon Eero Pro 6E review.

    But it’s not just the new marshmallow-like design, Google Assistant support, and an excised ethernet port that’s new with the Google Nest Wifi. The US internet company has also made some improvements beneath the bonnet compared to last iteration, the newly christened Google Nest Wifi promises 25 percent better coverage and twice the speed of the first-generation mesh system.

    According to Google, homes up to 3,800 square-feet and 200 connected devices should be fine with the three-pack, which is what we’ve been testing. Of course, if you’re renting a small studio flat but still want the clever features that Google enables with its Wi-Fi system, you might get along perfectly fine with a single hub plugged into your router. Likewise, if you’ve got more room – or more than 200 connected devices blinking away in your home – you’re welcome to keep adding extra nodes as and when you need them.

    Of course, with any of these products, there are some privacy concerns.

    Doesn’t Google know enough about our online habits?

    Google already knows enough about us all, does it really need to handle all of our home internet traffic as well?

    While there are a flurry of settings during the set-up process designed to stop Google from siphoning off all interesting tidbits from your web browsing history, it’s unclear exactly how much the company will be able to learn from handling everything that takes place on your Wi-Fi. Of course, those who are really concerned should check out the best VPN services, which encrypt all of your web traffic to prevent third-parties from keeping tabs on you.

    It’s important to remember that if you use Google Chrome (as the vast majority of people do) or start your browsing with a Google search (like literally all of us do) then the US company won’t actually be learning anything new about you when you fit out your home with a few Google Nest Wifi nodes.

    The only difference will be that you will be able to get rock-solid Wi-Fi anywhere in the house.

    Since Google Nest Wifi nodes double up as Google Nest smart speakers, you will be bringing quite a few far-field microphone arrays into your home. If that’s something you don’t feel comfortable with, some of the alternative mesh Wi-Fi systems from Amazon, like the Eero 6, might be worth a look.

    Google Assistant support

    As we mentioned, one of the biggest changes this time around is the addition of the Google Assistant to the Wi-Fi extenders that you place around your home to boost your broadband signal to every room. The speaker inside the node is comparable to the Google Nest Mini, so don’t expect to be able to DJ your next housewarming with the extenders… but it’s perfectly fine to listen to the radio, or quietly play a Spotify playlist in the background.

    If you’ve got a few connected home gadgets – Wi-Fi enabled lightbulbs, Sonos speakers, security cameras – it’s incredibly handy to have the talkative AI assistant on-hand to turn things off, dim lights, and more. Of course, the Wi-Fi extenders can handle all the same questions and queries you’d ask the Google Assistant in your phone, too.

    So enquiries about your calendar appointments, general knowledge questions, updates on the latest headlines and weather, as well as ordering taxis, takeaways, and queuing-up the next episode of your new favourite box set on any Chromecast with Google TV dongles plugged into your TV all work.

    You’ll also be able to use Google Assistant to beam voice messages to other Assistant-powered devices in your home, including Google Nest Wifi nodes – so you can summon the kids to dinner, or ask whether a loved one wants a tea or coffee in the next round without shouting up the stairs. Unlike other Google-branded connected speakers, you’ll also be able to ask your Nest Wi-Fi extenders to run a quick speed test, pause your home broadband – for a single device, or group of devices. That could be handy if you’re a parent looking to cut-off children post-watershed remotely.

    Google Home app

    Connecting a web of wireless network extenders that blanket your home in Wi-Fi might sound complicated, but Google makes the whole thing incredibly easy.

    Setting up an entirely new Wi-Fi network, passwords, and a host of extenders that sit in different rooms around the house is handled by the Google Home app, which is available on iOS and Android.

    Unfortunately, there’s not a web app version yet, so you won’t be able to check remotely from a computer.

    If you’re not familiar with the Google Home app, it’s absolutely brilliant and miles better than Apple’s Home app and Amazon Alexa app. Everything is grouped by room, so you can see any smart lightbulbs, doorbells, vacuum cleaners, or speakers in each part of the house – and interact with them from the same panel.

    Tapping the Wi-Fi button at the top of the app lets you check your latest download and upload speeds, as well as a list of all devices currently connected to your wireless network. This lets you pause the internet on a single device, or prioritise the connection on one gadget above all the others. The latter is a lifesaver if you’re trying to stream a nail-biting thriller on the downstairs TV, while the children are sapping away all your precious bandwidth watching inane YouTube clips.

    You can also create a separate Guest Network with a different password when people visit, or if a neighbour needs to temporarily use your Wi-Fi while their broadband is broken. It’s a handy feature – and a cinch to set up within the app.

    Adding additional Google Nest Wifi points is a painless process, with the Google Home app only needing a quick scan of the QR code printed on the bottom of the device to sort all the complicated stuff in the background.

    As you connect devices around your home to the network, these will appear in the Google Home app too. This lets you track the amount of data being downloaded by each – handy if you’re not paying for an unlimited broadband package and need to keep an eye on your usage.

    All of these metrics can be viewed live, or checked after the fact over the last seven days, or month.

    Google has a dedicated Google Wifi app that offers a few advanced features that you won’t find in Google Home. These will be added over time, which should simplify things further as you won’t need to jump between apps for certain tasks – like renaming a new device that’s just joined your network, for example. For the time being, that’s the only knock on an otherwise incredibly straightforward experience, despite the complexity of some of the things you’re asking your router to do.

    Final Verdict

    Struggling to connect to Wi-Fi in certain parts of your home? Want tighter controls over the amount of time that children can spend connected to the internet? Need a Google Assistant smart speaker to control smart home gadgets in more rooms?

    Google Nest Wifi can solve all of these issues. The clever mesh Wi-Fi kit seamlessly extends your Wi-Fi signal throughout the house, so you’ll be able to answer video calls from any room without missing every other word and stream music in the garden without resorting to 4G.

    This comprehensive Wi-Fi system is also a great way to keep your broadband provider honest, as the Google Home app performs daily speed checks so you can make sure you’re always getting the internet speeds you’re paying for – even when you’re not home.

    Spending money on a mesh Wi-Fi kit to supercharge your wireless connection isn’t the most exciting way to spend some of your salary 

    Of course, many of the features available with Google Nest Wifi – like the ability to create a second, temporary Wi-Fi network with its own password for guests or neighbours in need – are likely already possible with your current kit. However, the process is unlikely to be anywhere near as simple as the two taps it takes within the Google Home app. L

    ikewise, for pausing internet connections for specific devices or groups of gadgets owned by the same person, like a child who has been grounded.

    Spending money on a mesh Wi-Fi kit to supercharge your wireless connection might not be the most exciting way to spend your monthly salary …but if you’re looking to install smart lightbulbs, a video doorbell, Wi-Fi enabled thermostat, Sonos speakers, or other any smart home kit around the home, but are worried about how your unreliable Wi-Fi will hold-up with the strain (and distances covered), Google Nest Wifi should be your first purchase before upgrading anything else.

    Google Nest Wifi

    Google Nest Wifi is a complete mesh Wi-Fi kit that expertly extends your wireless internet into every corner of your home, lets you prioritise bandwidth to select devices or activities (like video calls or gaming) and blocks adult sites for younger users. It also doubles-up as a speaker with chatty AI helper Google Assistant under the bonnet 


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