Google has a new device pending approval with the FCC, and all signs point to it being an updated Nest Wifi router that will not only address the notable lack of WiFi 6 on its latest model, but also make a leap forward to WiFi. 6E.
In FCC documents made available yesterday, Google asked the FCC to keep its schedules and operational details confidential, including an “internal proprietary antenna solution consisting of 6 antennas.” As indicated by android police, the filings also show support for Wi-Fi 6E’s 6 GHz frequencies. There are also the standard 2.4 and 5 GHz bands, Bluetooth Low-Energy, and the 2.4 GHz frequencies that standard Thread relies on for smart home connections.
The model number, A4R-G6ZUC, is similar to other Nest products, and 9to5Google says it’s confirmed it’s the number for the next Nest Wifi router.
In late 2019, when Google skipped Wi-Fi 6 for Nest Wifi, citing (questionable) cost considerations, we noted that a Wi-Fi 6 router wouldn’t do much for a home primarily populated with Wi-Fi 5 and 4 (ie, 802.11ac and 802.11n) devices. And yet, if Nest’s router and points had used Wi-Fi 6, their ability to use this newly freed up spectrum space to talk to newer devices — and especially to move traffic backhaul from node to node — would have benefited homes. full of noisy appliances or devices that compete with neighbours’ equipment.
It’s the same story with Wi-Fi 6E. There’s a small list of devices currently using the relatively recent Wi-Fi 6E: the Pixel 6 and 6a, Samsung’s Galaxy S21 Ultra, some brand new laptops (not including the latest MacBook Air), and any PC you upgrade yourself with a 6E card. . Wi-Fi 6E also allows devices to use the wider 80 and 160 MHz channels, opening up capacity and reducing interference.
It’s worth noting that this FCC filing is for a Nest Wifi only router. It is unclear whether Google will offer Wifi Nest hubs with built-in speakers, as with previous Nests. Another notable improvement that Google could plug into new Nest hubs is Ethernet ports, something painfully lacking on the current generation.
In our benchmark review of Nest Wifi, we were impressed with Nest’s coverage of a 3,500-square-foot home with a difficult layout, but we found plenty of room for improvement. Considering the other options available for the same price, it seemed like an option best suited for those already raving about Google Assistant speakers.
By the time Nest Wifi arrives (probably at a Google hardware event in October), there will likely be some strong Wi-Fi 6E mesh competition. We will then see if the product has the same value proposition.