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Nest Arrives Today Replacing Wi-Fi. Several Questions.

jborchel
Community Member

I've had the Google Wi-Fi for about three years and it has been great. I read about the speed upgrade of the new Nest Wi-Fi and decided to give it a go. I have two installation questions:

1. My Wi-Fi is three nodes. Should I disconnect all of them and start totally new with the Nest? 

2. If I keep one of the older, slower Wi-Fi's in the mesh will it slow down the two new, faster nodes?

2 Recommended AnswerS

MichaelP
Diamond Product Expert
Diamond Product Expert

Hello @jborchel 

1. You'll want to disconnect your old system and set up the new Nest WiFi Router as a new primary. Note that you can set it up with the same network name and shared password as the old system, and your existing devices should reconnect without having to reconfigure them.

2. Once the new system is up and running, you can factory reset each of the old units using the button press method (https://support.google.com/wifi/answer/6246619?hl=en ) and then add one or more of them to your new network as mesh points. Wether you actually need that or not is a more complex question to answer.

So, let's talk a bit more about WiFi performance, and what might make the new Nest WiFi system perform better under some conditions (or about the same under other conditions). The speed a WiFi device and an access point can talk to each other is influenced by a number of factors, including how close they are to each other, presence of objects or walls in between them (and especially what those walls are made of). However, all else being equal, the biggest question is how many parallel streams they can support. The old Google WiFi units can support two simultaneous streams for either transmit or receive. This is what is meant by the "2x2" in an AC1200 2x2 WiFi implementation. You may have some devices that have 1x1 or 3x3 (or even the odd 1x2 on occasion). A 1x1 device talking to a 2x2 device will only be able to use 1 stream, while a 3x3 device talking to a 2x2 device will only be able to use 2 streams. 

So, you're upgrading to a Nest WiFi system, which includes a Nest WiFi Router unit that can support AC2200 4x4 – 4 streams. If you connect a 1x1 device, it will still be limited to 1 stream, while a 2x2 device will be limited to 2 streams. However, a 3x3 device (like a nice laptop) will be able to use all three of its streams now. Just keep in mind, most WiFi devices typically support 2 streams or less – especially small devices like cell phones or streaming sticks. Long story short, you may see better performance for a few of your WiFi devices, but you may not see much change for many of them. The Nest WiFi Router will be able to pick a better subset of the 4 streams it supports when talking to a 2-stream device, but that will only show a minor improvement.

Next, we need to talk about the Nest WiFi Point units. They are AC1200 2x2, just like all of the Google WiFi units. So, when they are carrying traffic for a local client, they can only talk to that client using 2 streams, and they can only talk to the Nest WiFi Router using 2 streams (and there's only one 5GHz channel, so all of that traffic will be going over that channel twice). Mesh systems like Google WiFi and Nest WiFi are great for improving the reliable coverage area, but they may not always improve peak performance at all locations compared to having fewer mesh points.

All of this is to help understand why you may not want to redeploy all of your existing Google WiFi units as mesh secondaries in the new system. The best advice is to make sure the primary (the Nest WiFi Router) is as close to the center of your home as possible, with mesh secondaries (Nest WiFi Point units or redeployed Google WiFi units) one or two rooms away from there – close enough that they can get a strong 5GHz connection to the Nest WiFi Router, but can then provide coverage to more distant 2.4GHz and 5GHz clients.

I hope this helps!

View Recommended Answer in original post

MichaelP
Diamond Product Expert
Diamond Product Expert

I don't want you to have unrealistic expectations of how much improvement an AC2200 4x4 system can actually deliver compared to an AC1200 2x2 system. If your computers are wired up via Ethernet through the primary Google WiFi units LAN port, they won't see any performance difference when plugged into a Nest WiFi Router's LAN port. But, if they're on WiFi and they have a WiFi adapter that supports more than two streams, they may see a bit higher throughput.

View Recommended Answer in original post

12 REPLIES 12

MichaelP
Diamond Product Expert
Diamond Product Expert

Hello @jborchel 

1. You'll want to disconnect your old system and set up the new Nest WiFi Router as a new primary. Note that you can set it up with the same network name and shared password as the old system, and your existing devices should reconnect without having to reconfigure them.

2. Once the new system is up and running, you can factory reset each of the old units using the button press method (https://support.google.com/wifi/answer/6246619?hl=en ) and then add one or more of them to your new network as mesh points. Wether you actually need that or not is a more complex question to answer.

So, let's talk a bit more about WiFi performance, and what might make the new Nest WiFi system perform better under some conditions (or about the same under other conditions). The speed a WiFi device and an access point can talk to each other is influenced by a number of factors, including how close they are to each other, presence of objects or walls in between them (and especially what those walls are made of). However, all else being equal, the biggest question is how many parallel streams they can support. The old Google WiFi units can support two simultaneous streams for either transmit or receive. This is what is meant by the "2x2" in an AC1200 2x2 WiFi implementation. You may have some devices that have 1x1 or 3x3 (or even the odd 1x2 on occasion). A 1x1 device talking to a 2x2 device will only be able to use 1 stream, while a 3x3 device talking to a 2x2 device will only be able to use 2 streams. 

So, you're upgrading to a Nest WiFi system, which includes a Nest WiFi Router unit that can support AC2200 4x4 – 4 streams. If you connect a 1x1 device, it will still be limited to 1 stream, while a 2x2 device will be limited to 2 streams. However, a 3x3 device (like a nice laptop) will be able to use all three of its streams now. Just keep in mind, most WiFi devices typically support 2 streams or less – especially small devices like cell phones or streaming sticks. Long story short, you may see better performance for a few of your WiFi devices, but you may not see much change for many of them. The Nest WiFi Router will be able to pick a better subset of the 4 streams it supports when talking to a 2-stream device, but that will only show a minor improvement.

Next, we need to talk about the Nest WiFi Point units. They are AC1200 2x2, just like all of the Google WiFi units. So, when they are carrying traffic for a local client, they can only talk to that client using 2 streams, and they can only talk to the Nest WiFi Router using 2 streams (and there's only one 5GHz channel, so all of that traffic will be going over that channel twice). Mesh systems like Google WiFi and Nest WiFi are great for improving the reliable coverage area, but they may not always improve peak performance at all locations compared to having fewer mesh points.

All of this is to help understand why you may not want to redeploy all of your existing Google WiFi units as mesh secondaries in the new system. The best advice is to make sure the primary (the Nest WiFi Router) is as close to the center of your home as possible, with mesh secondaries (Nest WiFi Point units or redeployed Google WiFi units) one or two rooms away from there – close enough that they can get a strong 5GHz connection to the Nest WiFi Router, but can then provide coverage to more distant 2.4GHz and 5GHz clients.

I hope this helps!

jborchel
Community Member

Thanks for the very informative answer. My only reason to increase the speed is to improve the response time of my wireless Chromebook or iPad. I have a number streamers like Roku, Shield TV, and Fire stick but their performance is fine and probably, although I don't know, don't impact my response time for the laptop/iPad. Rarely is there more than one streamer on-line at once. 

My home is only 1750 SQ ft so I could probably get by with just the router. The Wave wide band modem, at around 90MPS Max, is on the edge of the house but I have hardwired Cat 5 to the center where I could relocate the router and always have the 4 channels to all devices.  

Before I ask one more question do you think I will see better response time for my computer's with the Nest router?

MichaelP
Diamond Product Expert
Diamond Product Expert

I don't want you to have unrealistic expectations of how much improvement an AC2200 4x4 system can actually deliver compared to an AC1200 2x2 system. If your computers are wired up via Ethernet through the primary Google WiFi units LAN port, they won't see any performance difference when plugged into a Nest WiFi Router's LAN port. But, if they're on WiFi and they have a WiFi adapter that supports more than two streams, they may see a bit higher throughput.

jborchel
Community Member

I guess I'll find out today as I start my install shortly. I'm going with two routers, one connected to the modem via Cat 5 and the other located next to my Ooma VOIP as I need a Cat 5 between the router and the Ooma. 

Someplace in the Q & A's on Amazon someone made a comment about how to set up the wiring from the modem to a Cat 5 GB switch and the main router. It seems to can go:

1. Modem to main router to switch or

2. Modem to switch to main router

I think he said going to the router first slowed down the Cat 5 speed by as much as half. Are you familiar with this issue and do you have an opinion?

 

MichaelP
Diamond Product Expert
Diamond Product Expert

Option 2 is not going to be ideal. The primary Google/Nest WiFi unit is a router and a firewall that creates a new "inner" network. If your "modem" is a combination modem + router + firewall, then it is also creating a new network. But, that would be separate from the one created by Google/Nest WiFi in some important ways. Typically, you'd want to have your Google/Nest WiFi primary be the only thing connected directly to your modem (and ideally it would have its router+firewall features disabled, leaving it in "bridge" mode), with an inexpensive (unmanaged) Ethernet switch connected to the LAN port on your primary Google/Nest WiFi unit. That way, anything connected to that switch will be part of the same "inner" network that the WiFi devices are part of so they can all find and talk to each other). I don't know what the Amazon poster was on about. Option 1 should be good performance as well as work properly. Good luck with your setup – take it one step at a time and test in between each step.

jborchel
Community Member

Thanks for the advice. It's going to be a fun Sunday as one of the reason I bought the new Nest is to use it as a voice controller of my entertainment center located next to the Nest. I've tried that before with a small Home(Right name?) unit but could not get it to work. I'm hoping Google's help line will rescue me. They were great in the past when I had trouble with my Wi-Fi mesh.

jborchel
Community Member

I now have everything hooked up, although not without two hours on the phone with Google. In the end it required creating a new network name. I disconnected all the old Wi-Fi picks and now have two Nest Wi-Fi's. The laptop response time is much improved so maybe I'm able to take advantage of the 4 channel capability.

One interesting problem. Before I started the conversion I was able to Cat 5 my PC directly into the modem and it worked well. Speed test is showing me identical speeds for wired and Wi-Fi. However, after getting Nest Wi-Fi working I decided to hook up the wired by running a Cat 5 from the 2nd Port on the Nest host to the PC. It could not find a connection. Why would that be? Is there something in the Nest software I have to do? I'm running my Ooma VOIP off of that 2nd Port connection on my slave Nest in the kitchen and it works fine. Seems strange.

 

MichaelP
Diamond Product Expert
Diamond Product Expert

Hello @jborchel 

You mean you connected the PC to the LAN port on your primary Nest WiFi Router? That should work fine – and is recommended, so the PC is on the same network as everything else. You shouldn't need to change anything on the Nest WiFi settings, but you might need to reboot the PC once to force it to ask for a new IP address assignment. If it was configured with a static IP address, then that will need to be changed to dynamic (or a new static address with a reservation).

jborchel
Community Member

Thanks. I'll try that.

GarrettDS
Community Specialist
Community Specialist

Hey there, 

Just wanted to jump in here to check to see if we still needed help here. Shoutout and huge thank you to MichaelP for the help here.  Please let us know if you have any other questions or concerns as I will be locking this in 24 hours. 

 

Have a great day. 

Garrett DS

jborchel
Community Member

Glad you reminded me. Everything is working great. At first the Cat5 connection out of the prime router didn't seem to be working but that is ok now. MichaelP was great and his knowledge really helped.

frances
Community Specialist
Community Specialist

Hi All,


First, thank you MichaelP for helping answer this question. We all appreciate your help!

 

Hello jborchel, thanks for your update. I am glad to hear that your issue has been resolved! I will now go ahead and lock this thread. As always, if you have any new questions or concerns, feel free to make a new post. Have a nice day.