Google's latest mesh router, the Nest Wifi Pro ($199.99), is a Wi-Fi 6E router that uses the relatively uncrowded 6GHz radio band and offers support for emerging wireless technologies including the smart home device standards Thread and Matter. Like earlier Nest routers, it's tastefully designed and easy to install, though we were disappointed to find the 6GHz radio band does not have its own SSID. The router posted respectable scores in our performance testing, but you'll get faster throughput, multi-gig networking, and direct access to the 6GHz band SSID with our Editors' Choice pick among Wi-Fi 6E mesh routers, the Eero Pro 6E.
Design and Features
For our review, Google sent a single Nest Wifi Pro router, which provides up to 2,200 square feet of coverage. For larger homes, you can buy a two-pack ($299.99) or three-pack ($399.99), covering 4,400 or 6,600 square feet, respectively. Each router measures 5.1 by 4.6 by 3.3 inches (HWD) and is designed to be placed out in the open on a table or bookshelf, instead of hidden away in a corner, or on the floor. Color choices include Snow (white), Linen (off-white), Lemongrass (yellow), and Fog (light green).
You Can Trust Our Reviews
Since 1982, PCMag has tested and rated thousands of products to help you make better buying decisions.Read our editorial mission & see how we test.
You won't find any buttons on the router, though a small LED indicator on the front flashes white during startup, blue during setup, and yellow when the internet connection is lost. (It's solid white when fully connected.) Around back are two 1Gbps Ethernet ports, one used for WAN connectivity; the second can be used as a LAN port or for wired backhaul between nodes. Unlike the Eero Pro 6E, the Nest Wifi Pro does not have any multi-gig networking ports. Nor does the Google router have any USB ports for sharing storage devices, though to be fair, low-profile mesh systems rarely offer USB connectivity.
As a Wi-Fi 6E mesh router, the Nest Wifi Pro can transmit on the 6GHz radio band as well as the 2.4GHz and 5GHz radio bands. It supports Orthogonal Frequency-Division Multiple Access (OFDMA) data transmissions, WPA3 encryption, MU-MIMO simultaneous data streaming, direct-to-client signal beamforming, and 160MHz channel transmissions. It also features built-in support for Thread, an emerging protocol for connecting IoT devices such as smart thermostats and lights, and Matter, a connectivity standard designed to provide compatibility between smart home devices regardless of brand.
TP-Link Archer AXE75
Read Our TP-Link Archer AXE75 Review
Reyee RG-E5 Wi-Fi 6 Router
Read Our Reyee RG-E5 Wi-Fi 6 Router Review
TP-Link Archer AX10 (AX1500) Wi-Fi 6 Router
Read Our TP-Link Archer AX10 (AX1500) Wi-Fi 6 Router Review
TP-Link Archer AX11000 Next-Gen Tri-Band Gaming Router
Read Our TP-Link Archer AX11000 Next-Gen Tri-Band Gaming Router Review
Asus ROG Rapture GT-AX6000
Read Our Asus ROG Rapture GT-AX6000 Review
Asus ROG Rapture GT-AX11000 Pro
Read Our Asus ROG Rapture GT-AX11000 Pro Review
Wyze Wi-Fi 6E Mesh Router Pro
Read Our Wyze Wi-Fi 6E Mesh Router Pro Review
Asus ZenWiFi ET8
Read Our Asus ZenWiFi ET8 Review
Gryphon AX Mesh System (2-Pack)
Read Our Gryphon AX Mesh System (2-Pack) Review
Netgear Nighthawk Tri-Band Wi-Fi 6E Router (RAXE500)
Read Our Netgear Nighthawk Tri-Band Wi-Fi 6E Router (RAXE500) Review
The router is powered by a dual-core ARM processor with 1GB of RAM and 4GB of flash memory. It's an AX5400 device that can hit maximum speeds of 600Mbps on the 2.4GHz band and 2,400Mbps on the 5GHz or 6GHz band. Although it supports 6GHz radio transmissions, as mentioned earlier, there's no dedicated SSID for connecting devices directly to the 6GHz band. Band selection is handled automatically using band-steering technology.
Controlled using the Google Home app, the router appears in a panel under whichever room you assigned it to during setup. When you tap the panel, a pop-up screen tells you the Nest Wifi Pro's status (online and connected, or offline and disconnected), but it doesn't tell you if any clients are connected. A Run Speed Test button near the bottom of the screen lets you measure internet upload and download speeds, while a gear icon at upper right takes you to a Device Settings screen.
Settings are limited. A Preferred Activities tab lets you optimize the router for video calling and gaming, but it lacks options for assigning bandwidth priority to specific clients or applications. Wi-Fi settings are limited to enabling WPA3 encryption and 160MHz channel transmissions. You do get some parental controls, dubbed Family Wi-Fi, that let you apply Restricted Access rules to groups of devices using Google's SafeSearch filtering technology to automatically block access to websites containing adult content. However, you don't get the age-based parental control filters and anti-malware software tools that you get with the TP-Link Deco XE75 Pro mesh system.
Other settings enable you to create a guest network, toggle privacy settings, and configure notifications that tell you when a new device has joined the network or Wi-Fi connectivity is lost. Advanced settings let you enable UPnP and IPv6, configure DNS settings, choose a WAN connection (DHCP, Static, PPOE), change LAN settings (IP address or subnet mask), and manage port forwarding rules.
Testing the Google Nest Wifi Pro: On-Par Performance
Installing the Nest Wifi Pro couldn't be simpler. If you don't have the Google Home app, you'll have to install it and create an account. I started by plugging in the router and tapped "Set up Nest Wifi router" on the Home screen.
After a few seconds, the router was recognized. I then tapped Next and used my phone's camera to scan the QR code on the bottom of the device, and clicked Yes when asked to join the network; the router was immediately connected. I created a Wi-Fi network name and password, gave the router a location in my Home, and waited a few seconds for the network to be created. The router took a few minutes to restart, and the installation was complete.
Since you can't disable band steering, our throughput performance test results relied on the router's ability to select the optimal band and do not include separate 2.4GHz, 5GHz, and 6GHz scores. I was able to verify that my test device, a Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra, was connected to the 6GHz band during my tests, in which the Nest Wifi Pro turned in very respectable results.
In our close-proximity test (conducted within five feet of the router), I clocked the Google router at 909Mbps. That edged the Motorola Q14 and TP-Link XE75 Pro (900Mbps each), but trailed the Asus ZenWiFi ET8 (918Mbps) and the Eero Pro 6E (922Mbps). In the 30-foot test, the Nest Wifi Pro matched the Motorola's throughput of 372Mbps, unnoticeably faster than the TP-Link and Asus (371Mbps each). The Eero Pro 6E led the pack with 375Mbps.
We measure signal strength using an Ekahau Sidekick Wi-Fi diagnostic device and the Ekahau Survey mobile app to generate a heat map that shows a router's signal strength throughout our test home. (Disclosure: Ekahau is owned by PCMag's parent company, Ziff Davis.) The circle on the map represents the location of the router and the colors represent signal strength—dark green for the strongest signal, yellow for a weaker one, and gray for no measurable reception. These tests reflect a combined signal with the router selecting the appropriate band as I moved throughout the house.
As shown on the map above, the Nest Wifi Pro provided a strong signal to the central area of the house, but was weaker in the rooms farthest from the router and in the garage. In fairness, we usually review mesh systems with two or three nodes, so it's safe to say that a secondary node here would deliver a much stronger signal to the yellow areas.
Verdict: Simple 6E
If you're looking to upgrade your home network and want a mesh system that supports the latest smart home technologies, the Google Nest Wifi Pro is a solid choice. It's a tri-band Wi-Fi 6E router, which means it can take advantage of the fast and uncrowded 6GHz radio band, and it supports emerging wireless tech like Matter and Thread.
Though the Nest is a strong performer, the Eero Pro 6E keeps our Editors' Choice award thanks to its slightly faster performance, multi-gig connectivity, and the option to connect directly to the 6GHz SSID.
Google Nest Wifi Pro
See It$174.95 at Amazon
Wi-Fi 6E support
Easy to install
Built-in parental controls
Thread and Matter support
Lacks anti-malware software
No USB or multi-gig LAN ports
No separate 6GHz SSID
The Bottom Line
Google's Nest Wifi Pro is a good-looking Wi-Fi 6E mesh router that's simple to set up and use, but its features and settings are limited.
Like What You're Reading?
Sign up for Lab Report to get the latest reviews and top product advice delivered right to your inbox.
Thanks for signing up!
Your subscription has been confirmed. Keep an eye on your inbox!
Sign up for other newsletters