I have to admit that, pre-pandemic, I never thought much about my internet. When I moved into my apartment, my strategy was to pick the cheapest of the providers servicing my neighborhood and get set up as quickly as humanly possible. Aside from the occasional slow Instagram load or buffering Netflix moment, it did what it needed to do.
Nearly two years and one stay-at-home order later, the internet became a bigger source of fixation. As many of us who are now working from home for the first time have likely experienced, I found I sometimes had poor or inconsistent connection on video calls, and the signal felt unpredictable in the space I’d designated as an office—not great for peace of mind and definitely not ideal for any WFH setup. When the opportunity arose to try Google’s Nest WiFi system, my first reaction was “What’s that?” and, once I figured it out, “Sure!”
The root of the problem
In many apartments, there isn’t a ton of flexibility on where your connection enters your home. My modem had to be installed on the back of the apartment in my bedroom, which was not ideal for many reasons: One, routers and modems don’t particularly fit my aesthetic, to say the least; two, it’s the room in my home where I use the internet the least; and three, it’s the farthest away from my makeshift office, which is where I use the internet the most. While there are definitely hacks to help you troubleshoot a slow connection, a poorly placed router that has to remain connected to a modem is not easily remedied.
What does mesh Wi-Fi do?
The way the patient people at Google described it to me, a mesh system essentially takes the internet that comes into your home via your modem and uses the router and “points” situated throughout the home to evenly blanket your space in coverage. You can order the Nest router on its own ($169), or as a pack with one or two points (starting at $269). Because my apartment is long and bracket-shaped, I got the router and one point.
Setting it up
Do you know what your router does? Can you tell it apart from your modem? If you answered yes to either of these questions, then you’re already way more advanced at the workings of the internet than I was when my Nest WiFi arrived. Despite my lack of knowledge, I have to say that the setup was actually pretty painless. The Google Home app walks you through the entire process, and even though I hit an embarrassing snag or two along the way related to the above router versus modem questions, I was able to use the app to resolve the issues easily.
I set up the router in my bedroom and crossed my fingers that it would be able to communicate with the point I’d placed in my office, which is located on the opposite end of the apartment, through walls and my kitchen. Lucky for me, it worked with minimal frustration. I sit here today in my office on this uncomfortable little chair, writing this review on my brand new Wi-Fi network.
A few disclaimers here: I don’t have anyone else sharing my network, as I live alone and there isn’t much competition in my house for service. My internet usage is pretty standard: streaming, video calls, image sharing. I also live in a 700-square-foot apartment, versus a large suburban home, so take the highlights of my experience with a grain of bandwidth-light and space-constrained salt.
That said, not only do I have better connection in my office now, I’m even able to access the network on my front stoop, which is several flights down and really convenient if I want to FaceTime a friend from outside or download a podcast on the go.
Other highlights include that Google Nest WiFi is cute. What can I say? I write about decor for a living. The router looks like it could be a friend of WALL-E and has pleasant, rounded edges with a matte finish. The points come in white, blush, or light blue. Essentially, it doesn’t look anything like the routers you’re likely used to seeing. This is a plus, since hiding your old-school router in a bookshelf, like myself, is one surefire way to impede your signal.
Nest also has a lot of features that I haven’t opted in to trying. Notably, the points are smart speakers, there are settings for parental controls, and you can create a guest network for visitors. I did connect my Spotify account to the point so I could play music while I work, which is a nice touch. And, while I wasn’t wild about having to install a new app for my home—I’m unsurprisingly analog when it comes to the smart home trend—I found I actually enjoy being able to check in and test the speed in different rooms.
Overall, my experience with Google Nest WiFi was positive. It’s reasonably priced–options from Eero and Nokia retail around $299, though cheaper offerings do exist–easy to use, and infinitely nicer to look at than standard-issue routers.
Source: Architectural Digest - Florida Real Estate Photography Blog - DeVore Design offers real estate photography, aerial photography and real estate videos from in Daytona Beach, Orlando, Lakeland and Tampa. We encourage you to share our content!