Simple to install and use, high-performance, Google’s first mesh Wi-Fi router caused a sensation. Since then the standard has evolved, but not him. Fortunately, the Mountain View giant would be preparing a major update, to Wi-Fi 6, or better, 6E.
It would be time. In 2016, Google Wi-Fi was among the first to land on the market of mesh Wi-Fi routers, which promise, thanks to several modules, to cover all or part of your home with a single high-performance wireless network and easy to use. Since then, Google has fallen behind. Its Nest Wi-Fi, in 2020, marked time on the competition, adding only a speaker connected to the aging technical base of its elder. The Mountain View giant was content with Wi-Fi 5, while Wi-Fi 6 was already extending its dominance.
A new up-to-date router. What taste of the day?
According to a source from 9to5Google, Google is about to offer a real update to its mesh router. First news, Google could choose to put a little color in its devices, far from the very discreet white of its origins. Then, each module would sport the same design – which may imply that the satellite will not carry a connected speaker. Finally, last important point, this router would be especially compatible with the Wi-Fi 6 standard, at a minimum. Wi-Fi 6E, the latest evolution of the wireless communications standard, could even be part of it.
Knowing that most designers of wireless network chips, such as Qualcomm or Mediatek, are working hard to offer modules compatible with Wi-Fi 7 (802.11be) from the end of the year, see switching Google to Wi-Fi 6E seems like a minimum.
The interest of Wi-Fi 6E, the leap forward of Wi-Fi 6
For the record, Wi-Fi 6E is essentially an evolution of Wi-Fi 6, from which it is distinguished by the arrival of a new and third frequency band. Historically, Wi-Fi has relied on two bands.
First of all, 2.4 GHz, which provides good range but relatively low speeds, while being very sensitive to disturbances from other network applications that coexist on these frequencies.
Then, the 5 GHz, whose range is lower, and which compensates for this relative weakness with better speeds and stronger resistance to interference.
Wi-Fi 6E adds a frequency range of approximately 500 MHz (in France) in the 6 GHz frequency band. A relatively virgin territory for general public use and which therefore promises efficient consecutive channels (and larger: 160 MHz, against 80 previously) for even higher speeds.
By adapting only Wi-Fi 6 for its new Nest Wi-Fi, Google would however ensure a real leap forward in network performance, both in terms of coverage and speeds offered. Where Wi-Fi 5 (802.11ac) caps out at 3.5 Gbit/s of aggregate speeds, Wi-Fi 6 can offer up to 9.6 Gbit/s in the most common high-end configurations.
The problem is that we don’t change network devices every four mornings. So offering the latest standard would ensure durability to the product and therefore to your investment if you choose it.
Only problem, for the moment, the Wi-Fi 6E routers are still very expensive, but Google has hitherto targeted a rather affordable price for its wireless network offers.
A question to be decided
Finally, there is a last question, Google routers, if Wi-Fi 6 is selected, will they be tri-band? The question is important, especially in the context of mesh routers. Because, the third frequency band, even when it is only a division of the 5 GHz band, can be used to establish a dedicated connection between the different routers. This leaves all the rest of the bandwidth available to client devices, PCs, smartphones, consoles and tablets, which connect to it.
This third band takes on its full meaning when you multiply the connections within the home, which is one of the goals of Wi-Fi 6, and when you add other satellites to the main router in order to extend the coverage of the mesh network. Until now, Google and Nest Wi-Fi have always been dual-band only. Probably for cost reasons.
The new Nest Wi-Fi should obviously be sold in several packs: with one, two, or three routers. No indication of its tariff positioning has been communicated for the moment. These new routers could be announced at the Pixel 7 launch event next fall.