With many households now having many, many, devices needing Wifi, mesh routers are starting to become the norm. A single Wifi router can get overloaded and become slow from having too many devices connected to it. Google was one of the first to introduce a consumer usable Google Wifi mesh router system back in 2016. Three years later, Google released their 2nd Generation mesh router system and named it Nest Wifi as part of the rebranding of their various product lines.
Based on the branding of these two systems, Nest Wifi and Google Wifi, most people would think they are competing products. However, that’s actually not the case. As mentioned earlier, the Nest Wifi system is the 2nd generation of the Google Wifi system. Despite this, most stores today still sell both systems, adding to the confusion to the consumers.
Both Nest Wifi and Google Wifi use the 802.11ac standard for Wifi connectivity. Just based on that, you would think they are equal when it comes to bandwidth speeds. But, there are sub-ratings for these standards that most people don’t know about with the top end supporting more than double the speed of the lower end AC standard speeds.
For example, here are the numbers:
- AC1200: Maximum wireless combined theoretical bandwidth speed is 1200Mbps
- AC1750: Maximum wireless combined theoretical bandwidth speed is 1750Mbps
- AC1900: Maximum wireless combined theoretical bandwidth speed is 1900Mbps
- AC2200: Maximum wireless combined theoretical bandwidth speed is 2200Mbps
- AC3000: Maximum wireless combined theoretical bandwidth speed is 3000Mbps
The 1st generation Google Wifi system consists of only points and is rated at AC1200, the slowest of the AC standards.
The 2nd generation Nest Wifi router is rated at AC2200 and AC1200 for the points. So, there is a slight improvement with the 2nd generation Nest Wifi system.
The 1st generation Google Wifi points can cover up to 1500 sq ft.
The 2nd generation Nest Wifi router can cover up to 2200 sq ft while the points cover up to 16 sq ft.
Again, the 2nd generation is marginally better than the first, otherwise why even bother coming out with a 2nd generation product. Another thing I want to point out here is that even though the specs state that the Nest Wifi router can cover up to 2200 sq ft, if you have plenty of devices in your house, especially some heavy users such as Wifi security cameras, your Wifi signal strength and speeds degrade very rapidly as I had talked about in my other article on Why You Need a Mesh WiFi Router System.
So, even if you have a 2000 sq ft but you have a lot of Wifi devices, I suggest getting at least a 2 unit system, a Nest Wifi router plus one point. It’s best to spread out the connectivity to multiple units. My last house was just around 2250 sq ft and I had a 4 unit system, the Nest Wifi router plus 3 points. It was a 4 unit package sold by Costco. It might have been overkill, but I definitely had no issues with Wifi like I did with my previous Netgear router.
Smart speakers were all the rage a few years ago for these companies to showcase their products. But, that has pretty much died down as most people have now noticed how useful, or actually not useful they really are. However, with that being said, this is the biggest difference between the Google Wifi system and the Nest Wifi system.
The Google Wifi is strictly a mesh Wifi system. The Nest Wifi system incorporates smart speakers into the point units, but only the points. The Nest Wifi router does not double as a smart speaker. At first, I did not understand why until I remembered that many people hide their modems and routers for a cleaner room view.
I know there are some of you who prefer not to have a smart speaker system for privacy reasons and I completely understand. The smart speaker points do have a physical button that you can switch off the smart speaker functionality and just use as a Wifi point. But then again, why do that and spend all that money on something you won’t use. So, with all that being said, the 1st generation Google Wifi is a perfectly good mesh Wifi router system to replace your single device Wifi router. As for me, I went with the 2nd generation Nest Wifi. But it’s all up to you.