This article was written in collaboration with MyRepublic. All views expressed in this article are the independent opinion of DollarsAndSense.sg
One of the marvels of the modern world is how humanity has the communications technology to send data signals across hundreds and thousands of kilometres to control satellites, make ‘live’ transmissions of breaking news and sports events in high-resolution across continents, and even provide internet connections to airplanes flying 35,000 feet in the air.
And yet, isn’t it ironic that at home, many people still face the agony of intermittent Wifi connections and frustratingly slow speeds, despite paying upwards of $50 a month for broadband connections? At times, we may even disconnect, knowingly or unknowingly, from our home’s Wifi and use our phone’s mobile data to send out messages reliably.
The truth is, Wifi has its limitations. We also are limited by the layout of our home, and where we can realistically (and willingly) place our router.
We also don’t always have a professional network engineer who can come to our home to identify the optimal placement of our routers, and identify dead spots or to advise on the installation of additional networking equipment to solve our Wifi issues.
Admittedly, these are first world problems. But Wifi mesh networks like Google Nest Wifi promises to solve this problem for us – without it being exorbitantly expensive, nor requiring technical expertise, or be troublesome at all.
What Is Google Nest Wifi?
Google Nest is the unified brand name for all Google smart home products, which includes smart thermostats, lightbulbs, security cameras, door locks, and speakers.
Google Nest Wifi is the latest product in the line of Nest connectivity devices that delivers enhanced Wifi coverage for your home with minimal set up and maintenance. But this barely scratches the surface of what Google Nest Wifi can do for you.
We’ll now take an in-depth look at 4 aspects of Google Nest Wifi to better understand how it works and assess whether it is worth the asking price, and whether it deserves a place in your home.
#1 An Easy-To-Use Wifi Mesh Network
Every Google Nest Wifi system is centered around a Google Nest Wifi router, and optional Google Nest Wifi points, which are additional nodes that boost and relay Wifi signals. Together, these devices form a Wifi mesh network, which automatically gives your devices the strongest possible Wifi connection.
Behind the scenes, the devices in the Wifi mesh network coordinate to intelligently choose which signal frequency to use for optimal performance and hand off connections between Wifi devices seamlessly as you move from room-to-room for the best connection.
Wifi mesh networks are not new, but they were not without their issues, many of which Google Mesh Wifi seeks to solve.
Firstly, with their protruding antennas and black lumps of plastic, traditional routers have looks that even geeks would want to hide in a closet or chuck in a corner. Unfortunately, putting your router or Wifi point in a cupboard or in the corner of your home would not be great for your Wifi connection.
Google Nest Wifi’s modern, minimalist and low-profile industrial design is much more inconspicuous and will probably be at home among other devices in the living room and bedrooms.
Secondly, mesh networks have traditionally been difficult to set up, even for those who have some knowledge about computer networking. To get a mesh network up and running previously, you had to worry about configuring mesh backhauls, choosing optimal Wifi channels, and then worrying about installing regular security patches and firmware updates.
Google Nest Wifi makes setting up a high-performance Wifi mesh system a breeze – even for non-technical users. You just need to plug in the Google Nest Wifi router, and use the Google Home app to begin setting up your home network. You pick the access point name and password you want, and you’re all set.
If you want to install additional Google Nest Wifi points, which are nodes that work with the router to boost Wifi signal range and reliability, you simply plug them in, and add them to your mesh network using the Google Home app. Security and firmware updates are also handled automatically, so you are always assured of the latest features and safety for your home network.
As a bonus feature, the new Google Nest Wifi is backward-compatible with older Google Wifi networking devices, so you can add them to your network and use them alongside their newer Google Nest cousins.
#2 A Powerful Network Administrator At Your Fingertips
As the administrator of your very own home network, there are actually lots of cool and useful features that are possible, but were hidden behind complicated (and easy-to-mess-up network settings) and software interfaces.
Google Nest Wifi and the Google Home app puts all this power and convenience in an easy to use app interface in your hands.
You can easily set up a guest Wifi network to allow visitors to surf the web at your home, but not connect to your home network and access devices they don’t need to, such as your private network drive or home printer. In fact, Google Home can even generate a QR code – which you can print and display somewhere in your home or flash on your mobile phone to your guests – that your guests can scan to be connected. No more remembering and entering yet another password.
With the app interface, you’re able to see which devices are connected to your network (and kick out suspicious devices) and monitor the speeds each device is getting. This means that you’re always in control of who’s using up your precious bandwidth, and can easily prioritise traffic for machines that need it, such as when you’re making a video call, doing multiplayer gaming, or uploading important large files.
Parents will be glad to know that you can set restrictions on your kids’ devices, whether that’s blocking certain websites or to “pause” Wifi connections during times when your kids ought to be studying or sleeping.
#3 A Google-Powered Smart Assistant
Arguably, many of the above mentioned Google Nest Wifi’s features are also present in higher-end Wifi mesh systems currently available on the market. A welcome side-effect of Google Nest Wifi being part of the Google Nest family is that all Google Nest Wifi points comes with Google Assistant built-in.
Google Assistant is a voice-operated smart assistant that utilises the power of the Google cloud and the Google Nest eco-system to help you accomplish tasks faster and smarter.
Here is a (non-exhaustive) list of things that Google Assistant can help you with via Google Nest Wifi:
– Find your phone by getting Google Assistant to call or send notifications to your Android or iOS smartphone.
– Set timers and alarms which is useful when you’re cooking, doing exercises or if you need to leave home by a certain time.
– Add or read out items on your Reminders list which you can access later on your smartphone as well.
– Turn on or off and control compatible Google Nest devices, such as lights, thermostats, or music speakers.
– Read out the latest information on the weather, traffic, news headlines, stock prices, sports scores, and more.
– Perform math calculations, look up dictionary definitions or translate foreign phrases.
– Play YouTube, Netflix and other content on your smart TV or Chromecast-connected TV.
For more information on what Google Assistant can do, you can simply ask your Google Assistant device “What can you do?” or check out the official Google Assistant page.
For those who are concerned at having an internet-connected device with a microphone in your home, there is a physical switch that disconnects the microphones as well.
#4 An Internet-Enabled Smart Speaker
A good place to put a Wifi device (an unblocked, central location) is also an equally good spot for a home speaker. Google is surely aware of this, since they put a speaker with respectable sound quality into every Google Nest point.
This means that you can use Google Assistant to get it to play music on one (or multiple) Google Nest Wifi devices, or use them to stream audio from your smartphone from apps like Spotify or Google Play.
How Much Is Google Nest Wifi?
The retail price for a Google Nest Wifi router is $229, while a Google Nest Wifi point retails at $199. This price makes it competitive with other high-end Wifi mesh network systems, but the addition of Google Assistant, the speakers, and Google’s trademark ease-of-use makes it a very attractive proposition.
After all, if you’re paying upwards of $50 every month for your home broadband subscription for your entire family, paying a little more for a Wifi mesh system so that you can unlock the speed potential of your broadband plan and enjoy the stability you deserve might be worth it.
Getting The Google Nest Wifi Router And point (For Free!)
With the belief that every home deserves a faster and smarter home network, MyRepublic is offering all subscribers to their 1Gbps Fibre Broadband 24-month plan a free Google Nest Wifi router (worth $229) and Google Nest Wifi point (worth $199). The plan costs $56.99 a month and also comes with a free home phone line with unlimited local calls.
New subscribers also enjoy a free Termination Point installation (worth up to $160.50), while recontracting MyRepublic subscribers can enjoy the same promotion plus one free month of broadband subscription. Terms & conditions apply.
Existing subscribers who want to buy a Google Nest Wifi router and Google Nest Wifi point can do so at a discounted price of $199 and $169, respectively through MyRepublic’s MyAccount dashboard. You can find out more about MyRepublic’s 1Gbps Fibre Broadband with Google Nest Wifi promotion at their website today.