Evidence uncovered by our team suggests Google may be preparing another product in its line of Nest Wifi mesh networking devices. But what would Google need to deliver in a new version of its home networking solution?
New Google/Nest Wifi
Historically, networking hardware has been owned by Google — which includes older devices like that now retired OnHub series and newer ones like Google Wifi and Nest Wifi – almost always has a codename related to the wind. For example, the Nest Wifi router and point are codenamed Mistral and Vento, respectively.
Our APK Insight team has discovered work on a Google device codenamed “Sirocco”. Like “Mistral” before it, a “sirocco” is a type of Mediterranean wind, and a particularly hot and dusty one, blowing in from the Sahara.
While unlikely to tell us anything useful about the device itself, the windy codename does strong indicates a new product in the Nest Wifi family that is in the works. Also, by comparing different pieces of code, we find that Sirocco is treated very similarly to Google’s other recent WiFi devices.
So what would this “Sirocco” device hold for the Nest Wifi range? At the moment we can only speculate.
What does Nest Wifi need most?
The last flagship launch of Google’s networking hardware was the Nest Wifi system in 2019, which offered an upgraded base router combined with mesh points that doubled as Google Assistant smart speakers. The company followed suit the next year a reissue by Google Wifi from 2016, which offers a mesh connection at a lower price and with some minor hardware changes from the original system.
Three years since the launch of Nest Wifi, we’re right on schedule for a new flagship mesh networking product. Technology has steadily improved over the past few years, and there’s ample opportunity for the next Nest Wifi to be better than the last.
The only thing missing the most from the 2019 Nest Wifi is support for Wi-Fi 6, which is to some extent understandable given that the standard wasn’t officially finalized until late 2020. However, 2019 devices shipped with Wi-Fi 6 support, most notably the iPhone 11 series. Google only adopted Wi-Fi 6 into its own Pixel phones with the release of the Pixel 6 and Pixel 6 Pro.
The biggest improvement of Wi-Fi 6 is the ability to efficiently service more devices in an area, which has become crucial as our smart homes continue to expand. When every lightbulb in your home could potentially be a connected device, Wi-Fi 6 is fast becoming a necessity.
After launch, Wi-Fi 6 expanded to offer one additional range of wireless connectivity, an upgrade dubbed “Wi-Fi 6E.” Overall, the newly added 6GHz band used by Wi-Fi 6E minimizes signal interference between your devices (and those of your neighbors).
Honestly, at this point, Wi-Fi 6 is an absolute minimum expectation of any modern router, especially one in the same price range as Google Wifi and Nest Wifi. Wi-Fi 6E would be an excellent way to future-proof the next Nest Wifi, but it’s far from guaranteed to be included.
More Google Assistant features
What sets the Nest Wifi system apart from other mesh networking options is that the Dots had a built-in Google Assistant speaker. In addition, Google also managed to fit the dots well into the home, transforming a boring, often hidden, single-purpose device into a well-placed, versatile member of the home decor.
The built-in speaker complements the Google Assistant’s ability to manage your network via voice commands, allowing you to turn your guest network on and off, for example. For the next generation of Nest Wifi, it would be great if the Google Assistant continued to take center stage, whether that be through smarter controls or more dual-use assistant/wi-fi devices.
One of the main downsides to Google’s Nest Wifi hardware today is the lack of ports. Both the original Google Wifi and Nest Wifi routers each only have two Ethernet ports – one for connecting to your modem and the other for hardwiring a device to your network. Meanwhile, the speaker-equipped Nest Wifi points don’t have an Ethernet port at all.
While the overall goal of a mesh network is to improve the Wi-Fi signal throughout your home, some devices just work better when using an Ethernet connection. For example, smart TVs often have weak WiFi antennas but offer a built-in Ethernet port. In these cases, a Google Wifi acting as a mesh extender could be placed nearby to provide a stronger connection. It would be nice if the next generation of Nest Wifi offered at least one more Ethernet port on every device.
What else would you wish for from Google in this possible next-gen Nest Wifi? Let us know in the comments.
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