Hi, based on webchat support and this info page, it looks like when you use a second nest wifi router as a point, it doesn't take advantage of the better hardware. It drops down to a measly 1200Mbps. Is this correct? That's such a shame if it does as the biggest down side of the nest wifi ecosystem is how ridiculously slow the wifi is, it's still living in the last decade where AC2200 routers came out. The current generation are up to AC6000 now, everyone else on wifi 5 is at AC3000 or so.
It's annoying because chromecast desktop mirroring at 1080p lags with a slow router less than AC2200, the wifi points being capped at AC1200 really bottleneck the system. There is another forum post that asks this specific question but as discussed, the official google support & chat support both contradict the answer provided by the "Platinum Product Expert". It would be good to get a proper Google rep or someone who has tested this to answer before I buy into the Google wifi sytem even more or if I should abandon it all together to get the Netgear Orbi Wifi 6 with AC6000 speeds.
I don't see anything on the linked page that indicates using two Nest WiFi Routers (one as the primary and another as a secondary/point) will be limited to AC1200 operation for the mesh interconnect (note: AC1200 allows 866Mbps over 5GHz – in theory; 2 streams with a maximum speed of 433Mbps each). That link should be able to use all 4 streams allowed by both AC2200 radios (which allows for 1733Mbps over 5GHz – again, in theory).
However, since most clients don't support 4 streams, and assuming they are connecting to these access points at 5GHz, they will be limited to lower speeds (fewer streams). If a WiFi client only supports two streams (which is pretty common – many only support a single stream, though!), it will be limited to the slower speed even when talking to a 4-stream capable access point like a Nest WiFi Router.
This is important, since there's only one 5GHz radio in the access points, so if you have, for example, a 2-stream client talking to a 4-stream secondary point that then needs to carry that traffic back to the 4-stream primary, that traffic will be going over the channel twice, once using only 2 streams, and then one more time using 4 streams. Things get even more complex when trying to do something like screen mirroring, since you would then have two different clients, with potentially different capabilities. If those two clients are on different access points, your traffic is going over the channel three times, at three different speeds.
I haven't even delved into the issues around speed negotiation: even if you have 4 streams going, if the two access points aren't in the same room (and why would they be?), they aren't going to be able to maintain 433Mbps per stream (more likely it would be 50% of that – less if they are further apart and/or have more obstructions). WiFi has significant overhead compared to something like Ethernet, too, so effective throughput may be closer to 75% of the negotiated speed.
If you have a link to a forum post that has contradictory information, can you leave a link here? It may be possible to clarify or correct it.
Hi, thanks for all your useful information, I would have expected that too. However, based on the google support link it seems otherwise. Their page doesn't specify exactly 1200Mbps, I'm just guessing, however it does state that it won't be able to take advantage of the higher speeds. This was also confirmed in a google chat I had.
Quoted text below:
With this option, you'll add your Nest Wifi router as an add-on point to extend the coverage of your existing Google Wifi network. This option doesn't take advantage of the improved range and speed of the Nest Wifi router, but it allows you to keep your current Wi-Fi network settings and custom schedules.
Ok, so what that text refers to is that if you make the Nest WiFi Router a primary (option 1), any clients that can support more than two streams will be able to take advantage of that when connected directly to the Nest WiFi Router primary. But, if you keep a Google WiFi unit as the primary, then primary-connected clients will be limited to two streams (even if they support more), and a secondary Nest WiFi Router will be limited to two streams when talking to the Google WiFi primary, even when it's carrying traffic from >2 stream clients (but it will at least be able to talk to those clients using >2 streams, which does reduce the load on the shared 5GHz channel). So, I do agree with the advice to go with option 1 if possible, but the difference will only be significant for primary-connected clients that also support >2 streams.