Google’s October 6th event is fast approaching and a lot of hardware is leaking ahead. We already know the Pixel 7, the Pixel Watch and the new low-end Chromecast – now how about “Nest Wifi Pro”?
Immediately following its appearance at the FCC last month, Google’s next Wi-Fi router surfaced in a retail listing by B&H Photo over the weekend. The entry was removed, but 9to5Google, who discovered the entry, has a backup. Right in the B&H title it says “Wi-Fi 6E” support, which is the big upgrade in this “Pro” model and should result in a more robust connection. 6E moves Wi-Fi to the 6GHz band (alongside the existing 2.4GHz and 5GHz bands), which will greatly expand the capacity of the shared airwaves that all Wi-Fi must use. If you live in a crowded area like an apartment building, your Wi-Fi performance can be severely reduced if your neighbors use full spectrum. The inclusion of this new 6GHz spectrum means more room for everyone.
Apparently, the inclusion of the latest Wi-Fi standard will come with a price increase for the new device. B&H lists a price of $199 for a single unit, while the current Nest Wifi is $169 for a “router” unit. A two-pack of Wifi Pros costs $299 (the non-Pro two-pack costs $269), while a three-pack costs $399 (vs. $349 for a non-Pro pack). The “Pro” branding and higher price make it sound like the existing Nest Wifi, which only supports the aging 802.11ac protocol (aka Wi-Fi 5), will still be for sale.
Nest Wifi’s current two- and three-packs include a “router” as the first unit and “point” units as the second and third devices, but this difference isn’t mentioned in the Pro’s B&H listing. For the current Nest Wifi, the “router” is the main unit with two Ethernet sockets and better antennas, while the “point” units are just Wi-Fi extenders with no Ethernet ports. The main criticism of this package is that the two “point” units in a three-pack cannot do a wired backhaul since they don’t have Ethernet ports. An Ethernet port on each device would help the new model live up to the Pro name.
Also not mentioned in the list is the Google Assistant. In the current Nest Wifi, the “Point” units also include a Google Assistant speaker and microphone, giving you access to the Google ecosystem with a combo device. It sounds like the Pro models will only be network devices.